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back to article Circling the RIM: BB10 becomes chamber of horrors for BlackBerry

Friday's writedown of almost $1bn of inventory confirms the launch of BlackBerry 10 mobile OS as one of the most catastrophic of modern times. Nobody, it seems, wants BB10 in 2013. BlackBerry has vastly over-estimated the demand for its shiny, modern new platform and announced a retreat from the consumer market. Gone are 4,500 …

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Headmaster

Campaign for real English words...

Prosumers? Phondleslabs?

Are things getting so bad that they have to make up stupid buzzwords now to try and shift them or to excuse how awfully they are doing? Or is it some kind of scoring system - crap products attracting them like flies?

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Coat

Re: Campaign for real English words...

This is El Reg after all, not the Financial Times ( although they probably have their fair share of buzzwords too).

The pigistes here are highly skilled agents in buzzword bingo, hell, when the left their marketing department caves to become world renowned El Reg hacks they also dragged along the buzzword pasttime.

Personally I am not a great "buzzword bingo" player but I must admit in having a little penchant for the rather clever titles and headlines that appear from time to time.

This article for example "Circling the RIM". I wondered if it not really a El Reg hack spoonerism for "Rimming the circle"..

Ole El Reg.... ------->>>> The icon represents a toreador...........think outside of the box

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Re: Campaign for real English words...

What are you dribbling on about?

Can anyone translate this garbage?

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JDX
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Re: Campaign for real English words...

I'm sorry but in a complaint about new words being devised, you use 'buzzword' without irony?

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Re: Campaign for real English words...

Prosumer for a high valued user who demands highest performance but is paying for the device themselves rather than having it supplied to them seems a perfectly valid, precise and useful term.

If you want to criticize misused words - "Professional" is from to profess or swear to become part of a guild - not something that even the most hardened of developers do. Consumer is from to consume, to eat up or to destroy - which is perhaps more accurate.

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Mushroom

Re: Campaign for real English words...

>Can anyone translate this garbage?

He is just angry that there was no mention of RIM jobs. What with 4000 people out of work and all, some may take on a similar job title of a very different meaning.

Somehow this one seemed (in)appropriate >>

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Coat

Re: The icon represents a toreador.

Always thought that icon was someone giving an impromptu prostate exam to the invisible man dressed in a hospital gown.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Campaign for real English words...

A Prosumer is simply a very very rare version of a consumer.

This is why the brains trust that is BlackBerry Mkt have decided its their next big opportunity.....

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Really sad..

BB10 looked really nice. It was always in the back of my mind that I'd probably hop over to BB10 when I finally gave up on webOS.

It seems, if you want to know what technology is going to die, ask me what my preference is (I'm still using a Pre 3 as my only phone, and have an AmigaOne XE-G4 that I still use occasionally :)

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Re: Really sad..

I can honestly say as a Z10 user (Free on a £24 per month contract thank you) BB10 IS nice. I would honestly say if you are going to leave your WebOS phone go for it. I mean there are apps still available on BlackBery App World and there's nothing really you can't find on there.

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Re: Really sad..

To be honets, I'm kind of tired of backing the dead horse. As much as it pains me (I never liked Android at all), I'm probably going to join the Android crowd. Its a lot better than it used to be, and maybe when I finally can't hold on to webOS any more, maybe it'll actually be nice to use :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really sad..

I'm certainly sad to see Blackberry go; two years ago I really couldn't have imagined dropping them, primarily for the email but mainly for the hard keyboard on which I can bang out a pretty reasonable 35 wpm - I'm lucky to get half that on a virtual KB.

But with the app store, it became pretty obvious the game was up, in much the same way it panned out for the string of Palms and Handsprings I swore by in the decade before Blackberry. Even 4-5 years ago pretty much any major mobile application would be made available for the BB, often before or better specced than for Apple or Android (my last Google maps for the BB still pisses on the version for the iphone), and when the majors started dropping it, many of the minor - often the most useful - apps development suffered too; low user-base, underpowered hardware (my last personal BB Torch 9800 was underpowered pretty much from the moment I got it), outdated OS. With the release dates pushed back and back last year and the other OS app stores offering whole classes of stuff the Blackberry didn't, the game was well and truly up.

I was given a work Z10 early this year; nice enough phone and most of the core OS design and functionality was indeed excellent, but too many of the ways of doing things hadn't really moved on enough from the past, particularly anything to do with touchscreen, and most of the legacy applications looked really, really threadbare both on such a large screen and in functionality. With the BIS email thoroughly denuded there didn't seem a lot of point hanging around, so I bought an iphone, which has flaws galore that are not entirely balanced by its virtues - some of the "mistakes" are simply backwards in mobile terms - but it does at least feel better than 'last gasp'.

The Apple app store may well be knee deep in utter shite, but the proportion of worthwhile applications is probably higher than BB ever managed, and the very best of them are genuinely outstanding. The best of the public transport apps in particular are sufficiently rich and quick to pass well onto the "useful" side of the border with "frivolous"; the time the Blackberry equivalents took to fire up and do their thing made them often more effort than they were worth. The one thing I really do miss from the Torch (aside from push email) though is the ability to reflow text when enlarging a web page - I haven't found this in any of the browsers on the iphone.

I'd love to see Blackberry make a comeback at some point when it has its house in order, but I'd imagine the future is likely to be business only for a long time to come.

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Re: Really sad..

>if you want to know what technology is going to die, ask me what my preference is

Well for app development, webOS was the first one I looked into, then Blackberry, and Apple as the third choice with Android as a maybe in the future. Thankfully I never bothered as I was only looking for a very simple task that even the then simple browsers could handle, but damned if you pick betamax because it looks better on paper.

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The launch price of the Z10 was nuts, £45 a month was the average it seemed when I looked into getting one. Even now EE are still trying to sell them at £36 a month but Phones 4 U have totally given up on them. I'm waiting for the fire sale to pick one up cheap on PAYG to compliment the PlayBook I bought for £75.

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I see Playbooks are still being flogged by Amazon at an increasingly cheap price, months after being killed off. Soon you will be able to buy a black bin bag for £10 and fill it up with Blackberry products and accessories.

It's actually quite sad.

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Get them for £150 on Ebay.

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The Playbook is actually a rather nice tablet. The problem was not the hardware, or the OS per se, but the vicious circle of lack of consumer interest = lack of developer interest = lack of quality apps = lack of consumer interest.

I just wish that now the Playbook is effectively dead that RIM / BB would do the decent thing and let people root them.

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FAIL

That's what killed Blackberry. They got greedy and released BB10 devices at a premium price, as if the world had only been buying fruitytoys and robophones while waiting for BB10 to save them. So the Z10 here in the Colonies is priced in the iPhone range and the Q10 is costlier. Sure, it's typically only $100/200 with the standard 2-year contract, but that's iPhone or Sammy G4 territory.

There is considerable margin in their hardware. Had they priced it lower, it might have attracted new users. Those who have bought the phones seem to really like them. Instead, they died from their own hubris.

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Blackberry should have released BB10 before the Playbook

I'm convinced that was what killed them. All new OSs take time to become great, and they released the niche variant first.

If they'd released BB10 phones in early 2012, they'd have had that extra year to iterate before the Galaxy S III became a huge hit.

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Unfortunately by the time they got to the dock, their competitors had sailed over the horizon and already come back with all the gold.

BB's madness was then trying to sail off looking for the remaining scraps.

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Ouch!

The brutal truth, well done Mr Orlowski. However, I still think that the crazy baboon in charge of MS will buy up BB with the temptation of a cheap and easy entry into the corporate market and integration with Office et al. This will be the baboons parting "gift" for the poor sod who has to take over after he departs.

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Too late

It's just agreed to a buy-out by a Canadian investment firm for ~$5bn.

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Re: Too late

Well, yes, they have announced it, but the key thing is that Fairfax haven't done due diligence *or* actually raised the cash to buy Blackberry. So it might just collapse before it happens.

There is $2.6bn in cash in the bank though...

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Holmes

Patents, dear boy

Who's going to buy BB then... MS, Google, or Apple?

At least with the last two the OS will be put to some good use improving Android or iOS. MS will just set fire to it then bury it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Who's going to buy BB then...

Yahoo perhaps? Wow, now there's an idea to put a chill of fear into the hearts of grown men. But they do seem to have an appetite for wrecking established things these days, and a growing taste for patent trolling.

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Happy

Have a BB for work

Hate it with a passion. Cannot understand why people use these things at all

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Re: Have a BB for work

To be fair to BB, BB10 is (imho) a LOT nicer than the traditional BlackBerry OS!

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Re: Have a BB for work

I have to agree I really like BB10.

Like most devices you will have your personal preferences (I.e for Satnag my choice is Garmin where as others will be TomTom or other Satnag device makers). Its a shame that companies can be built up so fast as when they fall they fall hard.

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Happy

Re: Have a BB for work

satnag! Good one, I haven't heard that before

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Decline

Because everyone wanted an Apple.

Ok and some wanted an Android as well.

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"including a bloated public sector" As opposed to?

Might mean I get a Z30 at a knock down price. If not it will be a Z10. At least they just launched the bridge app for BB10 so that's the last reason to hang onto BB7 when my contract expires is gone.

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Note that even with the new 3.2 version of BB10 Bridge it only does BBM and not email or texts...

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I was very excited about BB10

But the excitement passed when I learned they will not port it to PlayBook - that seemed crazy, since without tablet who will bother coding for phones only?

Also, as much as I like my BB 9900 and was eagerly awaiting BB10 phone, Q10 lost two important hardware bits: trackpad and custom button. And without BIS I think it no longer has push email for consumers, entirely losing the one thing BB was best at.

Hope they can learn from it and improve; the company makes great hardware and it would be a pitty to lose it.

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Re: I was very excited about BB10

Q10 lost one other key feature, the ability to dial from the keys. It only dials telephone calls from the fondlescreen. A forum rumor has it that 10.2 will restore at least speed dialing from the physical keys. Those of us who don't like touch screens would not be happy with a phone that still demands touch-screen use for the simplest functions that real buttons do so easily.

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To be fair, BB10 is nice looking OS. Open, dev friendly, fast, modern etc etc.

The main issue is simply that nobody uses it. People have already jumped on the Android and iOS bandwagons (and the app developers have followed them).

2 Years too late - spot on.

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as someone who has always liked BB

I have to ask...what the heck were they thinking with the BB10 back-end?

The older BES setup was exactly what most businesses needed and gave both mail delivery and full control of handsets in a single package. They also had BIS for 'da yoof' to hook into their hotmail/google mail accounts.

What is the new offering? Well you have one server to control the devices another to share network files etc etc etc but as for delivering the mail??? Oh yes, and no more BIS for 'da yoof'

Just a shame that the new handsets are actually very very nice. Still, I can use on to hook into my mail server and just get the mail that way, I don't need the BB back-end any more and it seems nor does anyone else.

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Unhappy

Re: as someone who has always liked BB

We run BES Express for our small business and I really like it. I have not upgraded to any OS10 handsets because it would entail leaving BES behind, it is just so useful. I don't understand why most small business are not using it, I think if they understood the security and integration of the email and Intranet just for starters use they would snap it up.

I'll get an OS10 device for the kids and have a play but there is no way will I can move the business over to them so I am stuck going up a dead end street and I think that is a great shame.

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Too little, too late

Even when the BB10 shipped it was unfinished and has tons of stuff that make me (Z10 user, 9700 user, 9000 user) wish I'd have stuck to either a Series 7 handset or adapted to something else.

Top on my list is the ability to select and delete large swathes of emails in one go. Can you do this on a Windows phone? Select, tap, tap, drag, tap, tap, drag, tap, tap, drag... ugh. Same on all other touchscreen handsets. With my 9700 I could select the first, select the last (hold shift, drag the touchpad down) and then delete all. Or "Mark all prior as read" or "Delete all prior" - such useful features.

Can't do that on the Z10, sadly. There's plenty that I miss from my Bold 9700 that didn't make the jump across the ravine to the Z10. Such a shame it didn't take off; the world will be worse off in a two-horse race. :(

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Re: Too little, too late

I know what you mean, there are a few cool query-based features missing on fulltouch phones.

But, you can "Mark all prior as read" on the Z10. Just hold on a date divider in your emails, and you get the menu to mark all prior as read.

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Sure BB sat on their hands for far too long but they still have a credible market share. With BB10.2, they also have an ace in the hole in the shape of the Jelly Bean runtime essentially allowing any recent Android app to run. The apps are there to be had...

Coupled with the $4.7bilion buyout I would say there are options open to the market that would not mean MS could circle and devour. That would be the death knell...

I am sick of hearing naysayers write off this company - in work on a daily basis I get "Oh I don't even know if BB will be hear in 12 months time" which is purile and short sighted. They need to stick to the core strength of the business which is the platform - and that seems to be what they are aiming for. At the end of the day, the company is not is financial distress other than it has stopped making money and is eating away at itself (although this can not obviously continue). A bit of swift action from their sugar daddy could cure that, and we might see this fruit turn itself around.

I would take BES10 over Good Tech anyday...

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"A bit of swift action from their sugar daddy could cure that, and we might see this fruit turn itself around"

Dream on! Blackberry are losing customers, losing market share, losing staff, losing money. Do you spot a trend in those?

Now, what have Pansonic, Nokia, Ericsson, Siemens, NEC have in common? That they couldn't make money from smartphones and one way or another got out of that business, or sold it on. Motorola couldn't make money either, and couldn't even find a buyer until Google stepped in, but whether they are here for the long haul remains to be seen. As Motorola aren't making any Nexus devices, you have to question Google's real commitment.

If this deal goes through, then we have a fading technology firm being bought by a private equity investor. There's plenty to pillage on the balance sheet, and more slashing to be done on the P&L, and residual income to be garnered over the next 18 months of decline. Burying Blackberry like that will be enough to double Fairfax's money. Why would they take a risk trying to invest several billion dollars more in a market where big, clever, well resourced firms like those name above have failed, in a company that has tried a "make or break" strategy that has resulted in a "break" outcome, and when only two handset companies in the world are actually making any worthwhile margins?

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I am not saying that BB will reclimb the handset market - that is not their core strength but the current strategy to pull away from it and focus on their only growth area (i.e. BES 10) is hardly foolhardy. At the end of the day of companies like Mobile Iron and Good can build an industry off the back of BB's inactivity, you would think there is still enough head knowledge in them to re-take that market.

The last thing Prem Watsa is going to do is pick the company apart. There might be some audacious trimming of the fat but the core BB structure will stand - at the end of the day he is a fan of Blackberry - not the average private equity investor.

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Anonymous Coward

@Afflicted.John

I think your optimism may be misplaced. Fan or no fan, BB's new overlords bought it for one reason: to make money from the business. If they find a way to make BB relevant in technology again, lovely, but they'll be just as happy if the future of BB is as a maker of plastic hamster wheels.

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Anonymous Coward

"a bloated public sector"

If every one is complaining of massive cuts to services how can this be?

Seems to me, everyone needs services but no one wants to pay for them, instead handing the money to buy a shiny bit of sh*t in your pocket.

Society as it stands today are shallow and selfish children who need to grow up.

For shame to those responsible for this sham.

Like it or not, yes you are responsible for everyone in the country.

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" "a bloated public sector"

If every one is complaining of massive cuts to services how can this be?"

Because Labour added ~800,000 public sector employees (mostly up North of course) in their last stint of wasting tax payers' money and subsidising freeloaders...Even with drastic cuts, it takes a while to reverse that kind of profligacy...

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"Seems to me, everyone needs services but no one wants to pay for them, instead handing the money to buy a shiny bit of sh*t in your pocket."

Not sure what remote socialist planet you're living on, but we have no f***ing choice but to pay for them. Government spending is about 40% of GDP. Nationally, of every tenner earned by business or employees, four quid is expropriated by government to spend on "services".

From where I sit those services include a completely out of control "benefits" system, which cannot even provide basic management information and which leaves many in need whilst featherbedding more than a few, an education system that overall costs roughly £6k per pupil, but gets barely half of that through to the average classroom, and health service that is a model of random disorder. And whilst out politicians bleat about poverty, they fritter £13bn a year on foreign aid, and foist an energy policy on this country that is rapidly and persistently increasing our bills.

Personally I'd rather keep my money and choose what to spend it on, although I fully recognise that you feel politicians and civil servants can spend your money better than you can.

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in their last stint of wasting tax payers' money

Yeah, what a waste employing loads of people. Much better to give massive wodges of cash to people to run employment schemes that are worse than no schemes, like the MD of A4E and her 6 million quid bonus.

Hey, if we're being moronically simplistic it has to cut both ways....

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Anonymous Coward

@Ledswinger

If the choice is between the government employing people to provide services fairly inefficiently, and the current fad for handing the money to the private sector so a few get wealthy, most join the minimum wage club and the services not provided at all are quietly forgotten on ideological grounds, I'll take the bloat every time along with the reduction in benefits for 'topped up' wages. The private sector have a disgraceful record on public services in more cases than not - if they spent a bit more thought on fulfilling contracts and rather less on gouging and padding, we might get somewhere.

The public services market rhetoric is tired, old, and only differs from the other sort in where the bloat is parked.

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A sad but perhaps deserved end to the company formerly known as Lawsuits in Motion.

One has to wonder how it took them almost 4 years to build something useful from the QNX platform.

I would love to hear the inside story from one or more of their developers. I have a suspicion that there must have been some major management execution failures.

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Oh yes

An insider retrospective would make fascinating reading, I'm sure. I really enjoyed a Nokia one, that I think might even have been here on El Reg.

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