I have been holding off on this post for so long I was not even sure I would ever complete it.. I have been a Blackberry owner in some shape or other since the days when it was basically a pager. I have seen the Big Blues, the Curves, Pearls, Bolds, Suretype and Surepress and no matter what mis-steps Rim saw there market share stayed high and their owner loyalty was without peer. Theses devices took the push email system and added consumer wants like camera’s, media players and other goodies and also introduced customers to BBM which in itself is a addiction.. and for a time it was all good in Waterloo…
But then the Iphone changed everything… where once bb was on par with the windows mobile/ nokia/ palm devices in the market this new contenter pulled the mobile worlds pants down and exposed a lot of shortcomings.
The mobile web went from something that was nice to have and was best viewed in WAP pages to “the real web” due to a little thing called WEBKIT and no one does it better then APPLE and Mobile safari.. What did Blackberry have?? This … interesting take on the web..
Rim’s system of BES and BIS servers is great for push email and BBM but it struggles when dealing with dynamic webpages and the amount of content such as media services that has exploded in recent years..
I am not going to waste anyone’s including myself’s time going over all this as we already know the deal..
The real question is What Did Rim Do In 2010?
Rim has historically never been the cutting edge device but at least they were competitive in the market as far as hardware. They often rested on the Laural’s of their world class hardware keyboards to make up for the mid-level hardware. So when Android exploded on the scene and the Iphone changed their hardware to a work of art what did RIM give their users for their flagship device??
So they attempted to get hip with the time, combine a non-surepress touchscreen (thank god) and their incredible keyboard tech to fight off the oncoming hordes for their market share.. Yea that didn’t really work. The torch by all accounts is underpowered.. under performing and completely lacking, even with a shiny new version of BB OS 6 under its belt.
Soooo what happens now?
Rim has leaked shots of the upcoming device portfolio and to be honest its not that inspiring..
So we have the new “cutting edge” devices from RIM in 2011… lets see what that gets you, Shall we?
1.2ghz single core processors ? By the time some of these devices launch.. Dual core Tegra devices will be the norm.. and as we know from marketing hype.. more cores is more better!
5 mp cams… Ok, if Rim wants to really get back some market share in the consumer space they need to really embrace the media side of the equation.. Even the most hardened CEO business type wants to take HD video and nice pics. I can buy a 5mp sensor for 12.00 and get a hat with it.. can we at least get 8mp? (I know the IPhone is 5 but that camera has more Photon’s! ask Stevie Jobs) and NO front cam?? Yea in 2011 thats going to be a fail..
But hardware isnt all you say… and right you are!! Software matters.. and Rim is rolling with BB OS 6.1 which to be honest should be viewed as a stop gap till they scrap the OS and move the the QNX powered Os thats on the playbook… Dont expect these devices to be able to upgrade to that.. cause it takes at least a dual core chip to run all that pretty unicorn loving screen porn.
So your signing a contact for a device that will be phased out.. (android says: welcome to fragmentation)
so now that we see that this transition year for rim are there anything glimmers of hope for Waterloo’s faithful?
Rim has shown their plans for the tablet market long ago and in that given a glimpse of the future of their phones as well. By all accounts the playbook is the best of both worlds. Modern OS features while still maintaining that amazing Blackberry email system (and the best part is to REALLY use it you need a blackberry) the Os is very WebOs like and that the biggest prop that I can give it because thats an amazing experience.
So now we have an amazing tablet coming this year, and devices to match it coming next… so what now? Anyone that has used a BB knows that the Crack in Crackberry (hi kevin) is the BBM.. its the perfect chat client because its simple, clean powerful and JUST WORKS. Millions of former BB users have searched long and hard for a replacement for the BBM experience and thou there have been contenders NONE will ever take the crown..
Put how do you pry those Iphones and Droids out of users that have been burned by Rim’s lack of innovation before? YOU GIVE THEM A HIT!!
Wait… what ? How can giving competing OS access to your most valuable feature be a good thing?? thats crazy!! Right?
Not so fast..
Lets say you give them the BBM experience they know and love.. almost. The same powerful messaging but lacking the device integration that only comes with a BB device. We are talking deep social features, music sharing /sampling and a host of other “only on BB” features and by putting it out there in some version of all OS’s your user base is massive and having the premium experience becomes a commodity mix that with a powerful modern QNX OS on those new BB devices… what do you get?
You get a very compelling choice for those on expiring contracts next year.. and the perfect setup to reclaim alot of marketshare..
So we shall let Rim go into the Desert.. and how they come back is anyone’s guess. I actually have my money on the Plucky folks from Waterloo to learn from the mistakes of Nokia and Palm .