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back to article RIM should focus on BBM, find a human CEO

RIM ended last week in more self-inflicted disarray. It announced a huge write-down of unsold fondleslabs, a sizeable operating loss, waved goodbye to its co-founder and its CTO, and then had to spend the next two days clarifying that it wasn’t deserting its most loyal users. All in all, that’s quite a bad run. And everybody …

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next bad thing

Seems NXP is suing RIM for infringement of 6 patents relating to integrated circuitry and communicationtechnology:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/news/telecom/NXP-sues-BlackBerry-maker-RIM/articleshow/12528939.cms

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FAIL

Sort yourselves out

Blackberries are still very good in today's market, at what I consider core features in a (smart)phone - phone, email and mp3 player.

I still wonder if dumping my BB and going for an Android Samsung SG2 was such a great idea. It took me months to find an audio player that was any good (Neutron - great sound, crap interface), and I still haven't found a keyboard/input method that doesn't make writing more than one sentence incredibly frustrating (when I delete a word, that means I didn't want it, don't auto-correct to the same thing again when I retype FFS).

Blackberries are incredibly good at doing a few core things, whereas the general iPhone/Android market does lots of things, generally satisfactorily, apart from selling add-on (cr)app(s).

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Re: Sort yourselves out

Those functions are considered "feature phone" functions these days, maybe that's the BB problem: They think they're in the smartphone segment when they're actually in the featurephone segment. In fact, that might have been Nokia's problem too.

(Not that it helps much when the smartphone segment is the one with the huge projected growth figures.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sort yourselves out

I agree. I now have an iPhone but my BB Torch beats it in a few areas. In particular, I preferred the BB email even though I wasn't on a corporate system, and BBM beats iMessage. For starters it gives you Read status, not just delivery, and doesn't switch to text message seemingly randomly.

I don't know how RIM can survive, but I wouldn't be surprised if Apple or Google are eyeing up its tasty patent portfolio.

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Re: Sort yourselves out

Yeah, and that goes back to where RIM actually has both an opportunity and a risk.

They can just about create a category between feature phones and smartphones, sucking some of the smartphones growth market with themselves as the only mature player. They've missed the boat for full smartphones but if they can provide 75% of the functionality plus their own advantages it would be interesting to see how big a dent they could make.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sort yourselves out - iMessage

"For starters it gives you Read status, not just delivery"

iMessage provides Read status - the message goes from Delivered to Read. For some reason, it only retains the status on screen for the last message (perhaps to retain space).

It does, however, send texts when there appears to be no good reason. Perhaps it's over cautious.

Comparison here:

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19512_7-20120646-233/blackberry-messenger-vs-apples-imessage/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sort yourselves out

@skipper

That's because all those stupid onscreen keyboards lack one ESSENTIAL thing. Cursor control.

Essential for when you put your blobby paws on the screen three rows up and 2 words besides the word/letter you wanted to press. Windows Mobile keyboards had it, Nokia screen keyboards have it, but all those glorified MP3-players don't. How's that for progress?

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Thumb Up

Good article

I'm having to face up to replacing my beloved Nokia N900, and a decent keyboard is one of the critical aspects - and I'd much rather not buy into the Gooplex any more than I do already. I would go for a BB such as you describe without hesitation, esp when the new OS comes out.

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Re: Good article

@ Mike Taylor: A BB is nothing like your N900. In fact there's nothing that can replace an N900 as that's more of a handheld computer than a communications device. I think an N950 is the closest thing, but regrettably Nokia decided in their Elopsian wisdom NOT to release that phone to the generic public.

We're doomed. Because the companies whom have the products that we want, hold them in ransom to favour some delusional cause with another company. Ridiculous!

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Re: Good article

Yeah, i know they're not the same, I have a work BB too. If I really, really can't have (as you say) a hand-held computer, then something I can type fast on will have to do. But I am gutted, my poor phone shot out of my pocket, across three lanes, banged into a gutter - still working, but the screen has finally got seriously scratched and occasionally odd things happen :-(

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Childcatcher

Quick poll of this demographic

Non Representative Sample of four teenagers addicted to BBM.

Me: "If you had a job and money for a contract phone, which phone would you get"

NRS: "iPhone"

Me: "iPhone? Not a better Blackberry? Not Android?

NRS: "nope"

Me: "Do you think your friends feel the same?"

NRS: "yeah"

The problem here is that while they're reliant on someone else picking up the tab they'd like the best Blackberry they can get, because the BBM service trumps everything else on the PAYG market, but they're very aware of the phones shortcomings, especially with regard to apps "I can't get anything on this, a bold would be better" etc.

I mentioned that RIM has new phones scheduled for November based on a modern OS, then explained what an OS is and that RIM have picked a good one, which was met with normal teenage indifference.

If RIM is going to keep these kids they had better have something pretty compelling in the pipeline

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Quick poll of this demographic

Curious - my non representative sample of teenage girls indicates they can't move off BBM because, well, everyone else is on BBM ! Teenage boys are keen on apps and seem happy with iMessage.

What is required is a BBM gateway, however, the vendors have no interest in it as they want total dominance.

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Chavtastic

Well I have friends in the 17 to 25 segment that definately prefer black berry's to any other phone. with the reasons along these lines...

Cheap, a tenner topup gets you credit and "unlimited" internet with some providers over which facebook and BBM works just fine.

Plus the phone aren't that expensive to buy and are fairly reliable.

The BBM thing has an element of exclusivity to it, not unlike burberry

For some reason people who hold back phone numbers are happy to increase social circles by posting their PIN and getting adds from strangers. There's even groups on fb for people to post to.

Security since some of the more technically minded have picked up the publicity that blackberry's are tougher/harder to hack (true or not)

Blackberry use over the riots was just because they happened to have blackberrys already. It's not like they bought them in advance and carephone wharehouse had a rush on.

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Djeez what a bunch of morons

1) why does everybody 'target' teenagers? You know, those people without any form of income.

Not to mention that kids change phones like they change underwear. It used to be Nokia's everywhere, yesteryear it was all BBM, this year it's all iPhone and next year it could be Android or Windows Phone or whatever. Who cares. They have no money to spend and rely on their parents

2) BBM used to be a business tool! That's their CORE BUSINESS. What's with these companies ignoring their core businesses. I've asked before and ask it again: Who the f()ck runs these companies?

RIM should just keep afloat. Keep their costs in balance and their low-profits sufficient to counteract the inflation. Improve their core business and regain control of business users (their original target audience). Make the BBM-service more userfriendly and easier to setup/use. Sure, I understand that in 2010 a lot of business-execs bought iPhones (which is ridiculous since iPhone is not business oriented). But eventually they will get fed up with iOS' shortcomings and return to RIM (or anyone else for that matter). Not to mention that (especially in the US) their contract expires in 2012 (so it's no surprise that 2011 was a bad year). Just be there.

As for the kids. At one stage they think iPhone are obsolete (when everyone walks about with on in their hand) and then they massively go to something else (to showcase their 'rebellion', their holly 'individuality') . It happened before and it'll happen again. It's just a matter of being on the right time, with the right product, on the right spot.

Apple got lucky, Samsung got lucky, RIM got lucky (a few years back). Reap it while it lasts as it won't last forever.

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Re: Djeez what a bunch of morons

Q1. Most teenagers have their parents' credit card number memorized.

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Re: Djeez what a bunch of morons

I worked part time the last 2 years of secondary school. About $12,000 banked when I graduated in '91, probably double in today's money, and that despite an obscenely large music collection (on cassette naturally).

Teens that don't have incomes do so by choice because they have another source of cash. Whether the cash comes from work, parents or wherever, what teens don't have is living expenses, all income is disposable.

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jai
Silver badge

hardware social network?

I'm not sure how the idea of a hardware based social network would work?

I use facebook and occasionally twitter because I can get the client apps on my phone. If I change phone, I'll re-install the apps. But I'm not so bothered about being on a social network that I'll go out and buy a piece of hardware specifically. And even more so if that hardware doesn't provide any other functionality.

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Facepalm

Thing is today

Thing is today if an email is THAT important that those extra couple of seconds or indeed 5 minutes polling cycle make that much of a difference then people tend to call you and tell you they have sent you a important email, even if you have a blackberry that will get it instantly by default.

There good tools and i still to this day lament the loss of the jog-wheel that made navigation of emails and menu options and selection soo fast and easily done with one hand. Replaced by some tit that demands you give it foreplay to navigate and select.

Why they let the marketing lot spend alot of money on a glorified get idjiots drunk event is beyond me, extra sales from back of it, nothing measurable. Unless of course the event was to prove you can report a glassing quicker on BBM than you could twitter :\. Social media is fine but you can't beat a good conversation. Alot of people meet up and have nothing to say as they already know more about your day than you care to remember and in business this can be majorly detremental.

Cheap basic old school BB device, doing email, plays mp3 and a jog-wheel, it would sell and the low-end of the market has a opening now nokia going to mess up there last sucessful market.

Also do a BBM/Email application/service you have for Android and iPhones, leverage your options. Probably find will end up selling more phones that way.

But I did say last year they woudl be better of getting rid of there entire marketing department as without them they would get better PR, this still stands :(.

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Keyboards

"This means RIM must innovate around keyboards. I am amazed that RIM has never launched a landscape QWERTY format phone..."

Amen brother. Having just 'upgraded' from a 9700 to a 9790 precisely *because* of the proper keyboard, I've been disappointed with the inclusion of me-too touchscreen technology on a device that really doesn't need it.

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The new TB

When I was a lad, many years ago, TB (Tuberculosis) was a prevalent dangerous disease.

There is a new TB - Talking B****cks which is rapidly spreading and seems incurable.

Thorsten Heins is clearly suffering from the new TB.

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Convergence or Divergence?

Astute article; causes me to pause and attempt to wade through the daily plethora of biased opinion and technical gobbledegook.

Playing to the BlackBerry's strength is a rational strategy. As the market heads toward a super macho showdown between GoogleMan, WindowsMan and an Apple (not forgetting that ChinMan may soon stir), there is unlikely to more than a niche for the "also rans".

Of those "also rans" Research In Motion stands out as having a unique attribute (albeit not for long) and one can envisage survival, however modest, on the back of serving BBM as service to subscribers of the industry giants.

As for Heins onstage performance, he has a hard row to hoe; he was promoted to manage RIM out of a hole. An evangelical saviour he is not. The last of those died recently and it may not be long before Apple need to resurrect him.

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