back to article RIM: We can't flog phones, would you like our nuke plant OS instead?

Troubled phone biz Research in Motion wants to license its new BlackBerry 10 operating system to anyone who can afford it in the hope of climbing out of its rut. RIM has coyly rebuffed rumours of companies wanting to use its mobile OS, and has tried to focus on its own phone handset launches with the new software. But now chief …

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Anonymous Coward

They would do well to look at how Apple climbed out of their hole in the 1990s. They too had the idea of letting people use their software and make their own hardware, it nearly killed them completely. Offering out your software doesn't work if people don't want it!

What did they do to get out of the mess? better hardware and design, build a decent brand and have good usable products. These are all things BlackBerry don't do that well, well except for the core hardware which is pretty solid (but then so was Nokia's).

People where I work have been given Blackberry phones and they've had all sorts of problems, there's just a huge amount of apathy and resentment towards them and what they stand for. Always contactable is just never going to sit well with people who keep work and life separated.

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Anonymous Coward

Apple also brought back a CEO with a clear vision and great determination to make it succeed. OK, perhaps too much determination (at the cost of burning out and alienating staff). Companies need a vision - what does Blackberry stand for ? It used to be a strict focus on secure, reliable, email and messaging. Now, people want more from their phones, but for a long time the iPhone could not offer these and RIM could have capitalised by innovating - offering apps / functions by enhancing the O/S, revising the hardware properly.

Is it all too little too late ? I hope not, Canadians are a nice bunch and it'd be a shame for RIM to go the way of Nortel - it's all down to leadership and the twin CEO model just didn't work.

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Anonymous Coward

"People where I work have been given Blackberry phones and they've had all sorts of problems, there's just a huge amount of apathy and resentment towards them and what they stand for. Always contactable is just never going to sit well with people who keep work and life separated."

Actually, if properly set up BES works pretty well. People are resentful (is that even a word) because in most people's eyes a 'company-provided smartphone for e-mail' == an iPhone. The simple fact is that the BB just isn't as 'cool' as an iPhone and people resent that.

And the 'always contactable' thing is nothing to do with the device / manufacturer, that's down to your company's policies regarding smartphone allocation / use. There is a off button on the phone - it's just that for whatever reason (insert your own from: paranoia, self-importance, delusional belief that if they can't answer an e-mail at 3am the company will fall apart or fire them), people don't switch them off.

I agree that it's about work/life balance but as a BB user for many years, I have no problem with switching it off in the evening, at the weekend or when I'm on holiday.

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Bronze badge
Mushroom

MACOS9

/me runs screaming from the building

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FAIL

Sadly it's nonsense

"Actually, if properly set up BES works pretty well."

Actually if properly set up only email works pretty well and that's 2002 or 2006, not 2012, sorry.

Multiple calendars, browser, syncing accounts etc are all horrible on Blackberry, a total joke compared to Android's simplicity.

" People are resentful (is that even a word) because in most people's eyes a 'company-provided smartphone for e-mail' == an iPhone. The simple fact is that the BB just isn't as 'cool' as an iPhone and people resent that."

No offense but this is as clueless as someone can get about phones :)

FYI donning an iPhone nowadays is as cool as riding a bicycle in the Summer (=utterly common)... it might be 'cool' among fifty-something bankers or 12-y old schoolgirls but nowhere between.

Empirical but still true: almost all iPhone users around me converted to Android in the past year or so and we are talking about tech people, developers, digital artists, the prime target of Apple - the only iPhone owners now are business people around 50... :P

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Go

Re: Sadly it's nonsense

PS: that being said I *hope* RIM can turn around - there's a lot of potential in QNX and its new BB OS, it's just they had two horribly clueless old farts pissing away their critical transition period & money instead of quickly narrowing down on the new OS and issues and beating the development process into shape 2-3 years ago...

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Meh

How times change

If, back in 2002, you told someone that Nokia and Blackberry would be dying (and dying hard) within 10 years, and that Apple and Google would be driving the phone market, you'd have been laughed out of the pub.

Fickle, this IT malarky.

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Re: How times change

"If, back in 2002, you told someone that Nokia and Blackberry would be dying..."

Which is why Warren Buffet won't invest in any of this stuff.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fickle? No.

Bad management has the same results in any industry

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Bronze badge

How hard can it be for BB to get a good smartphone out there?

The Torch was a painful effort, whereas the Playbook is actually quite good.

Just do a proper grown-up smartphone already! (ie drop the keyboard)

All this chat about BES and BBM etc is pointless IMO, the form factor is what's been killing BB for the last few years.

Seems they've tried everything bar releasing a proper smartphone for chrissakes !?!

Seriously, what the fuck?

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Anonymous Coward

"the Playbook is actually quite good."

Wait, what?

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Re: "the Playbook is actually quite good."

The Playbook is mostly excellent hardware (aside from the dumbpositioning of some ports) and the OS is good too. The main failing is that RIM royally screwed up version 1 of the OS and by the time version 2 appeared people had already stopped caring.

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Happy

Re: "the Playbook is actually quite good."

Yes it is! For the price you can't beat it.

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Just do a proper grown-up smartphone already! (ie drop the keyboard)

I don't count it as a poper grown up smart phone unless it has a keyboard.

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Re: "the Playbook is actually quite good."

A surprise I know given that the rest of what he said was drivel, this is actually right.

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Boffin

Please send a copy of your Nuclear Plant OS to...

Dr Twisted Brain

The Secret Underground Lair

Beneath the Volcano

Arctic Ocean

Thank you.

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£10? Sounds steep.

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It's BB OS X!

Seriously, if they put a BB OS at the console of every corporate fleet car with voice controls, a system to read out emails while you drive and a decent satnav they could be on to a massive, massive winner.

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Good stuff

I've been a QNX user and developer for 30 years - I have serial number 0008. In my opinion it is probably the most innovative, and reliable, hard real-time system suitable for embedded systems made. At FASTech Integration in Massachusetts we used it to write the control system software for the US Navy's RAMP project, cell control software that still is used to run major manufacturing plants world-wide, and it has only gotten better over the years. The current iteration, Neutrino, is the foundation for for the BB10 OS as well Cisco's mission-critical IOS router operating system. What does that mean? Basically, most of the networks in the Internet world are run with QNX.

What do I do currently? I am a senior developer and performance engineer for Nokia... :-)

And by the way, QNX is definitely used in the critical real-time control systems for a number of nuclear power plants, none of which have melted down to my knowledge... ;-)

As for what "hard real-time" means is that you can utilize RMA (Rate Monotonic Analysis) to profile the system to be mathematically certain that no critical deadline will be missed. Kind of important in things like nuclear plants and fighter avionics I think. RT Linux cannot do this. Windows cannot do this. WindRiver VRTX can maybe do it (I haven't tried, though NASA and the JPL use it in the Mars Rovers, so it probably can). In any case, there are only a few (2 or 3) hard real-time microprocessor operating systems available, and QNX is right up at the top of that heap.

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wim

Re: Good stuff

I don't know anything about QNX but I wonder if most of the people care.

We (the IT industry) have grown a generation of "switch it off and on again if it stops working".

Even my ubunty install sometimes freezes. To convince people to buy your phone you have to have or a much easier to use OS or something "cool". Don't know how QNX fits in there.

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Pint

Re: Good stuff

Tell your boss to call BB now.

Then you might still have a company to work for in a couple of years....

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Re: Good stuff

The thing is that the requirements for a mobile phone OS are different than the requirements for a nuke plant OS.

For mobiles, if it isn't shipping, it doesn't matter. This market is closing up. Droids and iPhones are getting entrenched.

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Bronze badge

Rock solid OS v "Battery Pull"

So QNX is a huge departure from the current BB OS - if they'd made that jump a decade ago, it would have been a surefire winner. The trouble is, it's a long way down the line: the target market already owns rival smartphones, the developers they need are all busy developing for iOS and Android - and now they're burning cash as their market share swirls round the drain.

Professionally: if I wanted to develop a new mobile app, I'd hit Android and iOS. Then maybe give Windows a shot. BB? Doubt it, we'd get a better return improving the product on more popular platforms instead.

Personally: I've supported users with BlackBerries in the past. Horrible, horrible pointy little buttons that hurt my fingers in trivial use (WTF are you supposed to do, jab them with a stylus?!), clunky menu system freshly dragged from the carcass of the MS DOS Shell, weird bugs (mail disappearing because the clock was wrong!) - painful to use, painful to support, so we started switching users to iPhones which work at least as well without needing to babysit a BES as well.

It would be nice if RIM can bring something totally different to market before they run out of cash, then somehow get apps running on it too (Android compatibility layer?) - but it seems unlikely right now.

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