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The (Big) Problem With RIM

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the rim-can't-get-an-edge dept.

Blackberry 341

An anonymous reader writes "Research in Motion, by all accounts, had a terrible week. But things might get even worse. The Canadian technology company posted dismal quarterly earnings numbers, missing revenue and sales targets, while margins continued to shrink. Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis conceded the PlayBook had been thwarted by a lack of apps and content, not necessarily by a weak platform. Like Apple with its iOS, and Microsoft with Windows, creating a successful platform will be dependent on the eco-system it supports, but RIM hasn't shown ability to foster that." Speculation has begun as to whether or not RIM will wind up having a PlayBook firesale in the same vein as the TouchPad.

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341 comments

Market fragmentation (3, Interesting)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433166)

RIM's problem is basically same as Nokia's was - their platforms eco-system is practically dead. You cannot find any of the apps or games you want on them. I don't use my phone (old Windows Mobile 6.2) much so I haven't needed that many apps on it, but on those few times that I have had a need for something, it really sucks when the apps are only available for the big three - iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7. This is true for even such known programs as Skype (I actually did find some old WM6.2 Skype version, but the voice quality sucks with that version).

Where RIM is failing here again is just trying to get their own system out. There's just too many platforms. Hell, even on PC's most companies only make their products available for Windows and maybe OS X. They cannot compete with iOS at this point, and while a little bit better, Android has the same kind of fragmentation problems (though to a lesser degree). In my opinion RIM should go with Windows Phone 7. As RIM is mostly used by business people, they would even get Office and Exchange directly to it. Perfect for businesses.

Re:Market fragmentation (5, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433182)

If anything, it's the PC market all over again...

You have Apple, the premium vendor providing a consistent platform...
You have Android like windows, the cheaper option but runs on vastly more hardware and anyone can put it on their hardware...
And then you have RIM and HP who represent the likes of Commodore and Atari, they also provide a consistent platform like Apple, but don't have the mindshare to attract third party developers.

Windows phone 7 would be a very poor choice for RIM at the moment, not only is the current version very much consumer oriented, but they would not really be able to provide much value-add on such a platform... Why buy RIM if you can go to any of the other windows phone 7 vendors? Android might be a better bet for them, as they can customise it heavily and run their own platform on top (or they could offer a pure software stack for use on other vendors phones). They could run their corporate email software in a sandbox isolated from the rest of the phone...

Re:Market fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433246)

The same could be said about nokia

Re:Market fragmentation (2, Interesting)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433474)

The same could be said about nokia

That's 100% true. If we continue the PC market analogy, Windows 7/8 looks exactly like IBM's OS/2 and I don't see how Nokia coming in with new proprietary phones can save Windows any more than IBM's MCA saved OS/2. I'm sure that in 15 years there will be loads of MS fans whining about how much better Windows 8 was than than iOS 5 and Android 4, but it was just discriminated against by Apple / Android / whichever wins in the competitive market. As with Windows Mobile, there will be a bunch of anoraks running around telling us how it's the only system which gives you full flexibility and completely ignoring

Re:Market fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433628)

The same could be said about nokia

That's 100% true. If we continue the PC market analogy, Windows 7/8 looks exactly like IBM's OS/2 and I don't see how Nokia coming in with new proprietary phones can save Windows any more than IBM's MCA saved OS/2. I'm sure that in 15 years there will be loads of MS fans whining about how much better Windows 8 was than than iOS 5 and Android 4, but it was just discriminated against by Apple / Android / whichever wins in the competitive market. As with Windows Mobile, there will be a bunch of anoraks running around telling us how it's the only system which gives you full flexibility and completely ignoring

Ignoring what? Douchebags who can't finish their sentences?

Re:Market fragmentation (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433726)

I really wouldn't write off Windows Phone quite yet. I don't think it's Nokia that's going to save the platform, I think it's their desktop platform that's likely to do so. Spent yesterday playing with Windows 8 (the desktop/tablet) operating system, and... well, if they can fix it so the OS isn't another Vista, then I'm trying to figure out where any rival to Microsoft fits.

Basically, with Windows 8 you'll see touch-based desktops, tablets that aren't toys (ie you'll be able to do real work on them, and even make them your primary machines), and that leaves... well, if your phone OS acts just like your PC OS, but not in a bad way, then why wouldn't you see that as desirable?

I've never wanted an iPad, or even a Honeycomb tablet, but I can see myself wanting a post-W8 tablet - a real computer, running a real operating system, with a touchscreen UI for when I'm on the road, and the ability to hook up to a large screen and keyboard for when I'm not. My problem right now is that the people I want to produce the operating system for that device - Canonical/Google - are going in totally the wrong direction, Google focusing on stripped down mobile operating systems, and Ubuntu still clinging to the mouse like it's going out of style.

The market is different right now to 1992. And it's worth remembering that in 1989, OS/2 was the "future" (even though it wasn't that popular), and Windows was a flop that was being roundly beaten by GEM, as well as a large group of non-PC systems.

Right now the market is completely immature. There's no "serious" (ie non-toy) tablet with a proper touchscreen UI available, for instance. You cannot, seriously, base predictions about who's going to be successful two years from now on market share today. And I'd say that Microsoft has a very, very, very good chance of owning this, unless its rivals get their acts in gear.

Re:Market fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433798)

Ubuntu still clinging to the mouse like it's going out of style.

That expression is used to describe someone giving something away - not clinging to it. Giving away things as if they're going out of fashion, etc.
I agree, Microsoft could end up owning this, but I don't think they have a "very, very, very good" chance of pulling this off. Why would you think MS is almost certain to dominate the tablet market? MS have not exactly shown themselves to be adept in readily sliding in to new markets. They've a chance all right, but no-where near as good as the one you're suggesting.

Re:Market fragmentation (1)

gander666 (723553) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433318)

Sigh, I was a huge Atari fan back in the day. Great systems. I ran a BBS, I have 8" floppy drives (more data) and lots of fun, interesting hardware. I miss those systems.

Good observations though.

Re:Market fragmentation (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433320)

And then you have RIM and HP who represent the likes of Commodore and Atari, they also provide a consistent platform like Apple, but don't have the mindshare to attract third party developers.

I assume you were referring to the 16/32-bit Commodore Amiga and Atari ST, as that would be the most likely in this context.

Actually, those formats were very successful as gamer and hobbyist machines in Europe from the mid-80s until the early 1990s, and were well-supported by games developers (if less so in a business context). A lot of US-centric commentators assume that because they didn't do much over there that the formats were a total flop- not so.

Similarly, I've seen cases with more recent technologies where those that US (and sometimes European) commentators considered to be a flop are actually doing quite well in other parts of the world, in particular Asia. I suspect that this *won't* apply to RIM and HP, but in general it *does* pay to take a worldwide view before dismissing something as a failure.

Re:Market fragmentation (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433416)

Exactly, and RIM are doing quite well in business and at least in some countries, among schoolkids (blackberry messenger is free, sms is not)...
HP are also having a last gasp due to their fire sale prices.

Re:Market fragmentation (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433632)

I assume you were referring to the 16/32-bit Commodore Amiga and Atari ST, as that would be the most likely in this context.

Actually, those formats were very successful as gamer and hobbyist machines in Europe from the mid-80s until the early 1990s, and were well-supported by games developers (if less so in a business context). A lot of US-centric commentators assume that because they didn't do much over there that the formats were a total flop- not so.

I was an Amigan back in the day, but seriously, where are they now? Yeah, a joke that's been handed off again and again that statistically nobody cares about. But those other guys are still around, still themselves, and mostly still doing what they were doing when C= was trying to compete with them.

Re:Market fragmentation (2)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433184)

Big three? Window Phone 7?

Re:Market fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433208)

No. While that may be one of the factors involved, it certainly isn't the only one. Have you ever used a BlackBerry? I have a Bold 9700 next to me (about a year old) and it is a piece of shit.

The build quality, shit. The OS? Shit. The web browser (and I'm on OS 6)? Extra shit. Lets not forget that this is one of the higher end models too. I pity all the people who have Curves.

The _only_ redeeming quality about the thing is its keyboard. Now, if you don't mind me, I'll carry on programming for my Nokia N950.

Re:Market fragmentation (1)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433594)

Try dropping the Bold sometime. I can understand criticising RIM's software quality or whatever, but one think I wouldn't dare fault them for is the build quality. BlackBerry phones, in my experience, take a lot of punishment before they give out.

I own a Curve, btw. It's solid as a rock.

Re:Market fragmentation (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433648)

Meh, I have had various cellphones over the years and the only one which broke (cracked screen) was a Blackberry.

Re:Market fragmentation (1)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433674)

I had a Motorola Defy (Android thing), which had a Gorilla Glass screen. This was supposed to be waterproof, scratchproof, dustproof and, most importantly, when you drop it on the ground it won't break because the glass is supposedly so tough.

I dropped it on the ground exactly once. The Amazing Won't Ever Smash Gorilla Glass smashed. I've dropped my Curve several times and it's still intact with barely a scratch. My ex's Curve got dunked under water several times also and it lived. I really, genuinely couldn't say anything bad about BB build quality given all that.

Re:Market fragmentation (5, Insightful)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433210)

RIM's real problem - the reason there are no apps for their next-gen platform - is that they still haven't released a proper SDK for it AFAIK. They promised the ability to write native apps, Blackberry apps, and Android apps in such a way that they could be run on the Playbook, and to the best of my knowledge the Blackberry and Android layers still don't work and the Native SDK is still a month away in exactly the same way that fusion is 20 years away.

Unless things have changed very recently, the only way to make a Playbook application is in Adobe AIR which is really helpful if you're trying to port a C library from Android, Java code from Android, or port your old Blackberry application (if you were masochistic enough to write one).

Last I saw, a lot of the forum posts seemed to be along the lines of:
"Where can I get the NDK?"
"It's in private beta, uh, you can't have it."
"Oh. [disappears from the forum]"

Re:Market fragmentation (4, Insightful)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433308)

If I had mod points, you'd get it. Until there was pressure from iOS and Android, both RIM and MS treated their mobile devs like crap. Which I find confusing, 'cos Apple also treats their iOS devs like crap (not much different from the way they treat their users, come to think of it :-)), but it seems that Apple is better at creating Stockholm Syndrome than RIM was.

If you were to group the most successful companies, you'd find that a healthy percentage of those companies rely on Stockholm Syndrome with both their customers and their partners to stay in business.

Re:Market fragmentation (5, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433434)

If I had a mod point, you'd get it for using Stockholm Syndrome in the content of Apple's products.

Re:Market fragmentation (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433766)

There is no Stockholm Syndrome with regard to Apple's products. Nobody is pointing a gun or threating any once live when one does not use Apple's products. If there is even a remote effect of the Stockholm Syndrome present with respect to an IT brand it must be with regard to Microsoft. It has held the whole pc world hostage since the decline of the home computer market. Only now the reign of Microsoft is slowly fading giving us users more of a choice again. Mostly thanks to Google, Mozilla and Apple.

Re:Market fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433822)

context*

Re:Market fragmentation (1)

PhuFighter (1172899) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433332)

Yeah. This whole mindset with RIM is frustrating. I fail to understand why so many things are so secretive. E.g. the builds of their OS - Windows, iOS, etc. have betas available, but RIM keeps on keeping it a secret and having each carrier release it individually. And getting information on how to develop for the system is amazingly difficult. All of their hardware efforts are moot if they don't open up as a company, be able to take some criticism, and work with the development community to help them develop software.

Oh, providing a decent API helps too. Their secrecy has got to stop.

P.S. I don't think going Android is the way to go. If I want Android, I'd get HTC or Samsung. But I have my BB still because of the keyboard and the security still. Of course, I put the SIM card into the 'ol iphone occasionally.

Re:Market fragmentation (2)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433378)

FTFA

For its part, RIM has recognized this , and it has been in the labs cooking up a new software platform dubbed QNX, a central piece of its efforts to restore the company

While their secrecy is killing them, their open-ness regarding future products will not doubt contribute an Osbourne-effect-ish ... uh ... effect to their demise. I've no real love for any of the players in this market (see my posting history).

btw: Note to the mods - it's really funny that I get modded down for a post that criticises iOS, then get modded down for a post that criticises Android, then get modded down for a post that criticises WP7. I expect my posts critical of RIM are going to get the same treatment?

Re:Market fragmentation (1)

guidryp (702488) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433856)

FTFA

  Note to the mods - it's really funny that I get modded down for a post that criticises iOS, then get modded down for a post that criticises Android, then get modded down for a post that criticises WP7.

I am not a mod at the moment and I haven't read all your posts, but I would have modded down your post as well.

Not because you criticized iOS (What criticism?) but because you compared iOS Devs/Users to kidnapping victims.

This is both hyperbolic and insulting to the millions of people who use/develop for iOS (I am neither FWIW), even insulting to actual kidnapping victims.

I understand, that some people don't like some companies, but why do they so often resort to insulting the users?

Mod down, well earned IMO.

Re:Market fragmentation (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433882)

I'd like to know what year it is in RIM's world, such that QNX is a new platform?

Re:Market fragmentation (1)

Matheus (586080) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433650)

Add to that the fact they still seem to think they know better than anyone else, even though they are clearly losing.

Prime example: My BB Torch. Honestly, from a hardware standpoint, I love it. It's well built. It gives me the option of the hardware keyboard well concealed and it built like a tank (I've chucked it across a room more than a few times, sometimes just to show my friends how well built it is) BUT when it comes to the OS it's like they completely ignored all of the lessons learned by the likes of iOS and Android. Yes, you've been in the smartphone business longer than anyone BUT you're new to touchscreens and have a lot to learn. The lack of an OS supported swipe lock is the best example and is *still not remedied as of the last update I've done. I've had to resort to an App that only partially integrates with the OS so has constant problems with the transition especially when a call comes in while locked. It's a good thing they have the hard-keyboard because the on-screen one is crap. Plus, the auto-complete/replace features while typing mean you are constantly having to re-type words that you typed correctly and wanted them that way. The word you actually typed isn't even first in the list of options most of the time if you're paying attention...

anyway... I don't really want to rant about all of the specifics. The point is they came out with a new phone to compete with Apple and Google and didn't even bother to do their homework first. I don't have a PlayBook but I'd bet good money they did the same thing there. They need to get humble and quick then let what they do well (corporate integration, great hardware, etc) shine through.

Re:Market fragmentation (1)

ehiris (214677) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433222)

Sounds good if you are ok with a daily reboot.

Re:Market fragmentation (5, Insightful)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433250)

On the face it your idea has merit, but I don't think RIM will do it, more to the point I'm sure they can do it and remain viable. RIM has always been Blackberry. They made their fortune off of being *the* real smartphone vendor that enterprise took seriously. They designed everything from the ground up and built a system that businesses were willing to pay big bucks for. Then the iPhone came out, and they sat there, sure that nothing could challenge their business dominance (who cares about consumer phones anyway?). Then Android came out and they still did nothing. Then iPhone got enterprise integration and they started to look a little worried and came out with a few new phones... Now two thirds of the people in my office (of a major multinational mind) have turned in their company issued Blackberries and use their personal iPhone or Android device.

What can they do by switching to Windows 7? Become another player fighting for the tiny little pieces of the pie? That won't support a company like RIM. This isn't HTC, they aren't used to surviving on razor thin hardware margins. They're used to naming their price and having big businesses beg them to sell more. In the unlikely event that they could even make the switch, it would be a much smaller and less important company on the other end. Until something major changes, their are exactly two winner in cell phones right now. Google and Apple. Google's partners are in a race to the bottom, and Microsoft hasn't had any significant success. At best MS will become a third "winner" with their partners fighting the same losing battle as Google's are fighting now.

Until a serious game changing event rolls along, the only real question in the phone market right now is whether Microsoft can carve out a niche of its own.

Re:Market fragmentation (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433322)

No, RIM's real problem is that their upper management doesn't understand their market. The reason the Playbook failed wasn't the lack of apps, it was because they insisted on tethering it to a Blackberry for basic functions like e-mail to work. They tried for lock-in, and they failed, because the market doesn't want a device that's basically useless unless you have this other device from the same company, so they ended up buying something like an iPad, which costs the same and doesn't have that limitation. The lack of multitasking on an iPad really isn't as much of a limitation as you'd think, and at the end of the day, the fruity product is a better buy than the Playbook.

Similarly, the Blackberry is a great business tool, has tons of control when it's hooked up to an Exchange server, and businesses love it. But RIM makes it insanely difficult for people to develop apps for it (not that it's particularly hard, just that it's a lot of hurdles to jump through in order to develop it and then get it accepted into the app market), which means that the app market is quite limited when compared against something like Android or the iPhone. Yet again, RIM doesn't understand what the market wants, and sets artificial limits and restrictions that end up hurting themselves in the end. They're making a product that you can use for business, and only business, and people end up buying something they can use in their off hours as well... since both iOS and Android support Exchange, there really isn't a case to be made for buying Blackberry over those platforms for business any more.

Finally, their hardware is too expensive for what you're getting. Others have mentioned build quality, and that's part of it... goodness knows my LG Shine Plus (Ally in the US, Aloha in Europe) has survived more falls and abuse than any Blackberry would survive, but it's also that their phones feel cheap, and plasticky. They're supposed to be a high end product for business use, and it feels like you're getting something that was made at a third-rate knockoff factory in China. Why on earth would I spend $600 for a Blackberry when I can get a better Android phone for half that, and pick up a global messaging app from the market? (assuming you don't have global texting on your cell plan already, which I do... let's face it, BBM is really the only avantage BB has over iOS and Android any more, and that's disappearing now that cell carriers are actually offering decent plans)

Re:Market fragmentation (2)

sarhjinian (94086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433512)

If you've used a PlayBook, you'll note that the real problem isnt that you need a BB to do email, its that even if you have a BB phone, the PlayBook (specifically the bridge function to the phone) is slow and glitchy. Its faster to just use the phone because at least then you get autocorrect, the ability view attachments in under half an hour, and decent inteface speed.

The impression i got with the PlayBook is that, unlike apple, where you can tell that Jobs et al take a serious interest in the development of products and do get their hands dirty, I doubt Messrs Laziridis and Balsillie used the device at all.

Re:Market fragmentation (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433398)

it really sucks when the apps are only available for the big three - iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7.

I don't believe that's really the root problem here. That's a problem, but it's not *the* problem.

The *big* problem with RIM is that they stink. The hardware on the phones aren't bad, but almost everything else about them is. The interface-- well, can we just admit that Apple came along and ate everyone else's lunch in the cell phone industry? Can we just start by admitting that? The industry was stagnant and producing awful little phones with awful interfaces, and it's not until Apple showed that they were going to take over that everyone else responded by making better platforms. Android and Windows 7 are a response to Apple disrupting the entire industry, and somehow RIM failed to respond-- probably because they thought they were immune.

But now back to the interface, the blackberry interface is basically lipstick on a pig. On my blackberry, which is less than a year old, it feels like I'm running a 10 year old interface with a new skin. The graphics are smooth and there are kind of some fancy transitions and stuff; I'm not complaining about a lack of eye candy. I'm saying the design of the user interaction is extremely dated and stupid, and that was after they overhauled it.

The behind-the-scenes stuff stinks too. I support a lot of Blackberries, and they're constantly having random stupid problems where someone stops getting their mail or they get duplicates, and that's while using their touted BES stuff. It's junk. It breaks constantly. ActiveSync provides more stable results.

I'm not so sure about your suggestion to use Windows 7. It may be their best choice, but it's not a great choice. RIM is essentially headed down the same road as Palm at this point. They were huge, they sat on their hands and watched the world move on, they're probably going to try to become another hardware vendor with a commodity OS, but that makes them just another one of many hardware vendors with the same OS, and it's not clear they'll compete well. On top of that, it's not entirely clear to me that Windows phone 7 itself is doing very well. Sure, Microsoft will keep making it, but can RIM make money selling it?

The hour is later than you think, and RIM probably doesn't have any winning strategy here. Their best option may be to hope they can sell to someone who wants something about their intellectual property or their supply chain. But who would buy them? HP is out. I doubt Apple cares. I don't think Microsoft would be interested.

Re:Market fragmentation (2)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433516)

Android is a response to Apple, Windows Phone is an attempt to clone the success Apple had in the past.

Re:Market fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433618)

I agree but disagree. RIM STINKS for the average user, but it is somewhat effective and used repeatedly by corporate entities.

Re:Market fragmentation (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433636)

The interface-- well, can we just admit that Apple came along and ate everyone else's lunch in the cell phone industry?

- they have a somewhat interesting interface, but I am not going to say that their interface is what I want.

I use Nokia 6303c [samsungnokia.com] - that's all I want in a phone and I took the camera out as well and disabled all feature that are not the phone itself.

You give me a phone that has no numeric pad, and you'll see how quickly it ends up in the closest river.

Re:Market fragmentation (2)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433878)

I'm not saying it's the interface that you want, but rather that the iPhone, along with it's interface and it's UI design, destroyed the phone industry as existed before. Apple was so wildly successful that they forced the rest of the industry to reinvent itself. Can we admit to that?

Re:Market fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433542)

either that or the fact that the phone and the platform are shit, not forgetting that the entire blackberry experience is on par with pushing a pencil into your ear.

QNX phone (1)

Jack Malmostoso (899729) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433174)

I have always been a Nokia person, and after the announcement of WP7 I was looking at RIM to get out a phone with QNX soon enough.
Alas, no sign of such thing, so I guess I'll bite the bullet and get an N9, and keep it as long as possible.

predicted this a few years ago (4, Interesting)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433190)

I had a curve 8330 and predicted this years ago.
They had a funny policy of only releasing security fixes for their OS, meanwhile leaving out features that should have been in it from the beginning.
Simple things like being able to autosplit text messages, it couldn't do, simply capped you at 160 characters.
Or even being able to adjust the vibrate functionality on a text message notification to buzz once for half a second, had to buy an app for that. Shortest vibrate was 2x 1 second vibrations. Very annoying. Oh, and it couldn't vibrate and ring at the same time for a call. It would start the ringtone and in 5 seconds start the vibrate and kill the ringtone, then just continue vibrating for the duration of the call. Had to buy an app to fix that too.

I don't recall the rest of what they left out. I remember there were at least like 4 things that the OS desperately needed but that they wouldn't put in.

I believe their reasoning was "that way they'll buy the next phone hoping it's better with its newer OS", forgetting the part where if your current customer is annoyed with you, the last thing they're going to do is go buy something else from you. So then I got an android...

News at 11? (5, Insightful)

Concern (819622) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433198)

Like Palm, these people squandered a multi-year lead. They had a lock on a wonderful customer base and supplied the dominant smartphone-precursor device to the world, and failed to follow up on through an inability to execute. What happened to the original scrappy, farsighted RIM, that created the Blackberry platform to begin with? Gone - eaten up in the ugly process of becoming a large incumbent business. Now they live on inertia, and their management can't execute their way out of a paper bag. An old story, and a common one.

It has been obvious for many months that RIM was a dead letter - not just behind in the race but lapped many times by multiple competitors. I mean, the Playbook? Really? If you weren't short RIM, sue your broker.

Re:News at 11? (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433228)

Yep, they watched as Google went from 0% market share to number one.

Re:News at 11? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433428)

Google's phone failed. They may develop Android, but they sell no Android devices. Google's market share is zero. Android is No. 1... and even THAT claim is suspect... its like saying Microsoft has the most computer market share because Windows is the most popular OS, but, you see, Microsoft doesn't sell computers, and in the same regard, neither does Google sell phones.

Re:News at 11? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433470)

they watched as Google went from 0% market share to number one.

And soon they'll begin their journey back down to 0%, as they realize that even they can't afford to dump another $20 billion into propping up Android while getting a pittance in return. As all the other Android device makers scramble to fork their own version or find some other OS, Google will be wondering WTF happened. Then when Motorola folds it's game over, and Google staggers in a daze off to the sunset.

Off course this post will quickly be modded down, but bookmark its URL and revisit it in a few years. It'll be spot on.

Re:News at 11? (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433424)

Only months?

I would say it was obvious from the moment Exchange 2003 SP2 (which introduced Exchange ActiveSync 2.5) was released that Microsoft were serious in driving out BES. Once companies started to license Exchange ActiveSync, it was only ever going to be a matter of time before the need to go out and buy a separate system to manage smartphones was eliminated.

The thing is, Exchange 2k3 SP2 was released in 2005. ISTR that few people really took alternative smartphones seriously until the iPhone; a few people bought Windows Mobile devices but by and large these were a fairly dismal failure. The iPhone wasn't released until the middle of 2007, didn't gain ActiveSync support until iOS 2.0 in 2008 and didn't really take off until the 3G model was released, also in 2008.

Which means that RIM had three whole years to come up with some other idea. They didn't.

Firesale for the best? (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433220)

I think a firesale of the playbook would be the best option. Sell it at a loss, think of it as an investment.

If enough people have enough of them in hand, the app ecosystem starts moving forward. Also relax the 'RIM is for serious people' attitude of the app ecosystem - if I want to upload a "fart app" let me. More apps means more interest.

Re:Firesale for the best? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433244)

Bring it on. I'm looking for a reasonable tablet for mounting on the wall of my house to control my home automation system.

RIM's problem is they're 3rd place with no new ideas and they're inferior to the competition. They're like Nintendo before the Wii, but Nintendo has some clever people working for it. RIM doesn't seem to have any creative types as they're too focussed on security and business.

Re:Firesale for the best? (1)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433492)

Bring it on. I'm looking for a reasonable tablet for mounting on the wall of my house to control my home automation system.

A 7" Android 2.2 tablet can be had here in SA for R1000 (+-$135). At that price you've got your home automation controller, or your automobile heads up display controller, or your media-viewer controller, or your medical system controller, or your industrial system controller.

In fact, as the prices will only go down (not up), using a tablet as a controller to any other system (even a desktop) makes sense

Re:Firesale for the best? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433616)

A 7" Android 2.2 tablet can be had here in SA for R1000 (+-$135)

If you can get them for -$135, I'll take ten thousand of them please.

Re:Firesale for the best? (1)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433646)

Here you go - Knock yourself out :-) [tabletworld.co.za]

Yeah, I know you were aiming for funny mods, but I was hoping that most people would parse "+-" as "approximately" :-)

Re:Firesale for the best? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433850)

Nobody would read it like that, though, because "+-" already has a clearly-defined meaning. You were looking for "~" to mean approximately.

Re:Firesale for the best? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433828)

What's with the Canadian dollar comparison? (4, Informative)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433224)

From the "Firesale" article: "Keep in mind that these prices are in Canadian dollars" - check the exchange rate, 1USD buys you about 98 cents Canadian. The US dollar is now less valuable than the Canadian dollar. I got the impression the author is still assuming the opposite is true.

Re:What's with the Canadian dollar comparison? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433330)

Shut up.

Re:What's with the Canadian dollar comparison? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433358)

You tell people that so they know you're talking about a different currency. You wouldn't talk about a product, tell everyone it's price, and then not tell them what currency that price is in. I got the impression you wanted to point out the USD being 2 cents behind the CD, even though the current exchange rate (from closing on 9-16-11) is 1.00000 US Dollar = 0.97838 Canadian Dollar

Re:What's with the Canadian dollar comparison? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433460)

1.00000 US Dollar = 0.97838 Canadian Dollar

So the USD is 2.2 cents behind the CD?

Re:What's with the Canadian dollar comparison? (1)

PremiumCarrion (861236) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433824)

1.00000 US Dollar = 0.97838 Canadian Dollar

So the USD is 2.2 cents behind the CD?

Well it depends if they're canadian or US cents

Even with a fire-sale (2)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433226)

I probably won't be buying this anyway.

Re:Even with a fire-sale (4, Insightful)

dreamt (14798) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433534)

Right. It made sense to buy the Touchpad at fire-sale prices because it was good hardware, had a good web browser, good email and some decent apps. On the other hand, the Playbook doesn't even have a built-in email application that doesn't require tethering to a Blackberry, meaning its pretty much useless as a couch device, and the apps just plain suck.

Here are the problems with RIM (5, Informative)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433230)

1) Perception: With RIM failing to release a touch screen device at most a few months after the iPhone, they were perceived as a dinosaur in making, especially by the young folks. Google did it with HTC and nobody can say it's been a liability to them.

2) Pride: Whenever one would ask them about the looming competition from iOS & Android, they would quickly dismiss those concerns with statements pointing to their 'solid' financial positions at the time. Little did they acknowledge that it would be a matter of time before iOS and Android started to 'eat their lunch', after-all these platforms were not static when it came to development.

3) Strategic vision, or the lack of it: A competent CEO would have [quietly] used the available Android code at the time to develop a 'mock device' for defensive purposes using internal resources. RIM did not. During times like these, they would simply 'out' a mock Android device and the market would probably play along.

4) Being Canadian: This characteristic is proving to be disadvantageous. The same thing happened to NORTEL, a once successful company in its field. Ever wondered why Canada is the only industrialized company without a car synonymous with it? Heck, even once communist Russia still has Lada.

Re:Here are the problems with RIM (1)

ivoras (455934) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433282)

In short, RIM was a one trick pony and refused to change, just like Nokia. They did it to themselves.

Re:Here are the problems with RIM (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433490)

4) Being Canadian: This characteristic is proving to be disadvantageous. The same thing happened to NORTEL, a once successful company in its field. Ever wondered why Canada is the only industrialized company without a car synonymous with it? Heck, even once communist Russia still has Lada.

I agree with your other points, but I think having a automotive industry associated with a country isn't always a good idea. And it is not true that all industrialized countries have a car associated with them. Australia had Holden, but that got gobbled up by GM.

In Canada's case, there is simply no strategic advantage to having a home-grown car industry. It's right next to the U.S. It doesn't have a large enough domestic market to support a car industry without heavy tariffs on car imports from the U.S. and other market distortions. It doesn't have the economies of scale to compete the U.S. prices. So we've gone with the practical alternative: we make U.S. cars instead. Ontario's auto manufacturing sector is huge. We make many models of GM, Ford, and some Honda and Toyota cars/trucks.

That said, Canada has one of the largest auto parts manufacturer in the world, Magna. Very few people outside the country have even heard of them, but their parts end up in many cars.

Canadian companies often have to pick and choose their battlefields -- they have to be careful to strategically move in areas where a U.S. company can't just wipe them out owing to their size advantage. It's happened so many times in the past.

In RIM's case though, it wasn't a problem with economies of scale. I think RIM really did screw up.

Re:Here are the problems with RIM (1)

dreamt (14798) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433544)

Not only that, but when they released a touchscreen device, it was terrible. I'm a software developer and I couldn't figure out how to use the Storm. I hit a button and a the camera appeared in the middle of the (awful) web browser. It was atrocious. I picked up an iPhone and had everything working in like 5 minutes.

the heavyweights in mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433234)

It's clear Apple and Google are the two heavyweights in mobile operating systems. The market doesn't really have room for a lot of other choices: too much fragmentation leads to not having the apps that consumers want.

In the pre-smartphone pre-tablet days, this wasn't as big a deal. A dumbphone doesn't really depend on that software ecosystem, so there was room for many players. But as the transition to smartphones and tablets accelerates, the pain on companies like RIM and Nokia is cranked up increasingly high. They are unable to compete with the heavyweight American operating system companies, and their former market is shrinking year over year, squeezing them from both directions.

The only viable option for RIM is probably to adopt Android to get the software ecosystem that comes with it, since you can't adopt iOS, it's the only real choice they have.

Nokia adopted WP, but that's a pretty poor choiice and it remains to be seen if they can survive there.

Interesting times

Name (1)

pingbat (1648191) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433248)

Surely the biggest problem is the name! Red Dwarf, corporate brown-nosing etc...

i have to admit (1)

brezel (890656) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433276)

that i never understood their business model in the first place. what does RIM aside from undesirable vendor lock-in provide, that cannot be achieved with normal means such as imaps and smtp with ssl/tls? i (like many other people) have been using encrypted email services for decades.

Re:i have to admit (3, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433528)

I didn't understand this myself for ages, it's only in the last couple of years I've figured it out.

The selling point (not just with RIM but with any smartphone/sync combination) is a lot more than just email. There's a whole lot of little things which on their own sound utterly inconsequential - but in actual fact add up to enough that for many people they represent real value:

1. Push email. I know about the IMAP IDLE command. Few smartphones implements this; those that implement IMAP in any form frequently do such a ham-fisted job of it you wonder why they bother.
2. Calendar sync. What exactly do you carry around with you that can vibrate or make noises on schedule to remind you of an appointment and can keep your appointments in sync with a central server so others looking to schedule meetings can ensure they choose a convenient time? You and I have maybe a couple of meetings a week, usually at fixed times and they're often not terribly consequential. Missing one is fairly unlikely (because they're at fixed times) and usually of little consequence. The sales manager (whose job basically consists of "Go to meeting, talk about our product and try to sell it, lather rinse and repeat up to several times a day every day for months on end") doesn't have that luxury.
3. Contacts sync. You and I lose our contacts list on our phone, it's mildly annoying but we're probably organised enough to remember to sync it with out computer occasionally so we can always reload it. Worst case, we lose a handful of contacts - but we're probably not using the phone enough to care about a handful of ultimately inconsequential numbers. The people who are buying these phones: A. aren't that organised and B. depend so heavily on their contacts list that without it they are in serious trouble. Salesmen are again the most obvious example of this.

Arguments 2 and 3 also go some way to explaining the continued popularity of Outlook/Exchange. You care to explain to the sales director that as his laptop has been stolen, the information about upcoming meetings and his contact list has gone with it? Bearing in mind that as soon as you've left the room, that sales director is going to have a very difficult meeting with his manager. I guarantee you the second thing out of his mouth (straight after "Oh dear, it looks like the meetings at which I was hoping to secure £several million worth of sales are scuppered, because I can only remember details of one or two of them. We're going to look pretty bad when I don't even show up.") will be "This never happened at my last company where we had Exchange. If I lost a phone or laptop there, it would be replaced and the replacement would get all this information."

Re:i have to admit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433698)

1. Push email. I know about the IMAP IDLE command. Few smartphones implements this; those that implement IMAP in any form frequently do such a ham-fisted job of it you wonder why they bother.

I have an Android OS phone. The GMail app does this perfectly.

2. Calendar sync. What exactly do you carry around with you that can vibrate or make noises on schedule to remind you of an appointment and can keep your appointments in sync with a central server so others looking to schedule meetings can ensure they choose a convenient time? You and I have maybe a couple of meetings a week, usually at fixed times and they're often not terribly consequential. Missing one is fairly unlikely (because they're at fixed times) and usually of little consequence. The sales manager (whose job basically consists of "Go to meeting, talk about our product and try to sell it, lather rinse and repeat up to several times a day every day for months on end") doesn't have that luxury.

The Android phone does this, as well. If I want to send out a notification, no problem.

3. Contacts sync. You and I lose our contacts list on our phone, it's mildly annoying but we're probably organised enough to remember to sync it with out computer occasionally so we can always reload it. Worst case, we lose a handful of contacts - but we're probably not using the phone enough to care about a handful of ultimately inconsequential numbers. The people who are buying these phones: A. aren't that organised and B. depend so heavily on their contacts list that without it they are in serious trouble. Salesmen are again the most obvious example of this.

<head-on-desk>Again, the Android phone does this. You can even save the contacts to your SIM card and transport THAT between phones for base contact info. Wanna be offline and use your smartphone after discontinuing your service with your provider? Phone still functions but you lack sync. Want to update your sync info every day at any time, there's an app for the 'droid that allows you to do that without any carrier service. Oh, and it doesn't eat up 200+ megs of HD space and have integrated drivers that lock frequently in your machine, either.</head-on-desk>

You should really know what you're talking about before you say it can't do something. If you don't want to buy it and find out if it can for yourself, try Ask Slashdot or some other site to see what other people have figured out or just plain know.

Please.

No apps? RIM's fault. (3, Interesting)

nloop (665733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433278)

For years RIM charged $200 to register as a developer before you could make any apps. Just a few months ago they announced they are "waiving" the fee.

You spent years "waiving" potential developers to other platforms. No one wants to spend $200 on a weekend hobby, and that's what most apps are.

Re:No apps? RIM's fault. (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433298)

For years RIM charged $200 to register as a developer before you could make any apps. Just a few months ago they announced they are "waiving" the fee.

Because at the time, they were the 'only game in town', simple as that.

Re:No apps? RIM's fault. (1)

nloop (665733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433366)

At the time? We're talking through the end of 2010. A little slow to react!

Re:No apps? RIM's fault. (1)

TerminaMorte (729622) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433494)

Because at the time, they were the 'only game in town', simple as that.

And we see how well that has worked out for them.

Companies need to realize that they need the developers and not the other way around. If you treat them like shit, they will jump ship as soon as a competitor comes out (instead of, say, developing for both platforms).

Re:No apps? RIM's fault. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433350)

Was that a one time fee or is it yearly? Early Apple apps devs have paid more then 200 USD since.

Re:No apps? RIM's fault. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433458)

For years RIM charged $200 to register as a developer before you could make any apps. Just a few months ago they announced they are "waiving" the fee.

False. RIM has always made full documentation and SDKs available for free. They even give away software emulators for different blackberry models.

Unlike Apple, RIM never tried to restrict what applications your run on your phone, or how you sell/distribute your application.

Once you write an blackberry application, you can sell it any way you choose.

Now, RIM may have been charging to register & sell apps through blackberry app world, but that is completely different.

Blackberry applications have been around for many years, long before apple. What apple did well was to get your credit card information FIRST, so that it's easy to sell you more applications.

good riddance (0)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433312)

Stop competing for the same market demographics. Do something for niches, people like me, for example, who hate touch screens, who like real, 3D, buttons, who don't want to pay for $30/mon data plans (ok, that's not about manufactures, but I am in a rant mode).

Smartphone is the phone that does not have to go online for every simple thing, that's the opposite of "smart".

Re:good riddance (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433724)

You realise Nokia sells about 300 different models of phone that meet your listed requirements, right? Your complaint is like objecting to a sports care manufacturer, on the grounds that they don't make anything for off-road use.

Encryption Keys Started this (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433328)

When RIM folded and provided keys to governments so the traffic could be monitored, that's when I stopped working on anything related to RIM.

It didn't matter than those governments were unlikely to have a chance to see my data, the fact that RIM management would fold so quickly is the issue.

RIM had the best, secure, platform and still does, but since they give the keys to governments - FORGET IT. Not interested anymore. Secure communications are demanded by my users, not sometimes secure, when conditionA, conditionB, conditionC are met. - ALWAYS.

The other platforms provide that level of security already + lots of apps.

Re:Encryption Keys Started this (1)

sarhjinian (94086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433380)

Just a point: if you use BES, you have the keys, not RIM and not the government. BIS is a crapshoot, but no worse than what many people do with non-BB devices.

But RIM did handle the whole thing terribly.

The real problem with RIM (2)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433334)

Is management. And their inability to adapt to changing markets.

Its often a sign you got too large for your britches and/or became complacent, but either way in the IT market you adapt or die out to make room for someone who does.

Lack of apps? (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433348)

Gee, I wonder if the >$100 "developer license" with its 40-volume EULA and triplicate forms had anything to do with that...

Re:Lack of apps? (1)

X10 (186866) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433420)

and the lack of support one you filled out the forms. Most apis, even the basic ones, are only available to RIM, not to developers. How can they expect people to develop apps for BB if the tools are kept from the developers?

Not a standalone device (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433362)

My understanding is that you have to have both a Playbook AND a Blackberry to use the Playbook online. Forcing people to buy two devices instead of one was a very, very stupid approach.

Re:Not a standalone device (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433390)

My understanding is that you have to have both a Playbook AND a Blackberry to use the Playbook online. Forcing people to buy two devices instead of one was a very, very stupid approach.

False. You don't understand much. Playbook runs on wifi.

IF you have a blackberry, you can pair your blackberry to the playbook with encrypted bluetooth and easily allow your playbook to use your blackberry's data plan.

Unlike Apple which prevents you from sharing your iphone data plan with an ipad. (If you jailbreak your iphone, it is possible to do that, but Apple will probably stop you with the next firmware release)

Re:Not a standalone device (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433484)

WiFi does not cut it. I'm talking about direct access to the Telco wireless, not piggybacking on someone's WiFi station.

Re:Not a standalone device (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433446)

Your understanding is wrong.
Playbook works just fine without a BlackBerry over WiFi. It has access to any web-based email system, just no on-device support for Email/Calendar at this point.
Currently I believe that currently the PlayBook can use the WiFi hotspot features of an Android phone/iPhone for Internet access while you are away from a WiFi network.
During the setup of a playbook, one of the first things you do is set up a WiFi network for it to pull in updates; after that it allows you to set up a bridge to a BlackBerry phone for email/calendar/bbm functionality.

For what it's worth; I do have a Playbook connected to a BlackBerry, and it does continue to work without the phone in range, I just don't have access to my corporate email/calendar/network resources.

Re:Not a standalone device (4, Informative)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433576)

Forcing people to buy two devices instead of one was a very, very stupid approach

Your understanding is wrong. Playbook works just fine without a BlackBerry over WiFi. It has access to any web-based email system, just no on-device support for Email/Calendar at this point. Currently I believe that currently the PlayBook can use the WiFi hotspot features of an Android phone/iPhone for Internet access while you are away from a WiFi network. During the setup of a playbook, one of the first things you do is set up a WiFi network for it to pull in updates; after that it allows you to set up a bridge to a BlackBerry phone for email/calendar/bbm functionality.

For what it's worth; I do have a Playbook connected to a BlackBerry, and it does continue to work without the phone in range, I just don't have access to my corporate email/calendar/network resources.

How exactly is the GP wrong? PB has no way to go online without some other device to piggyback on. You still need to get another device to actually get online!.

Re:Not a standalone device (0)

jjetson (2041488) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433818)

The PlayBook doesn't need another device to get online. It just needs WiFi, you can connect to home WiFi no problem. Now if you're talking about it not having a 3G/4G connection I'd argue that no one really cares and the sales figures of iPad and other tablets 3G/4G versions would back up my argument 100%.

Re:Not a standalone device (2)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433868)

The PlayBook doesn't need another device to get online. It just needs WiFi, you can connect to home WiFi no problem.

Well, that kind of attitude is why RIM is spiralling the drain. It can't use internet unless you already *have* internet? Your home WiFi is useless to a portable computer that would get used on a train, while travelling, or even at the supermarket. Very Smart Indeed.

Now if you're talking about it not having a 3G/4G connection I'd argue that no one really cares and the sales figures of iPad and other tablets 3G/4G versions would back up my argument 100%.

Really? The WiFi-only iPad was available for less than a month before the 3G tablet was released. Have you the sales figures for both versions?

Re:Not a standalone device (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433620)

Untrue. It can use any device which exposes the bluetooth DUN profile to piggy back on its internet connection. Basically this is every phone except the iPhone, but that has wifi hotspot anyway..

I don't understand why people are so willing to pay for an extra data contract and give even more of their money to carriers...

Lack of security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433376)

RIM used to have a secure system, but governments forced them to reveal their data, so now they are just an alsoran with nothing to distinguish them anymore.

Development Environmemt (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433384)

I develop for BB, and it's a bloody nightmare compared to Android and others. Just check out what you have to do to connect with a HttpConnection.. Is it wifi? Apn? BES? BIS? And there is nothing in the framework to abstract such a simple thing away.. And if you read their forums it's full of developers basically giving up or complaining.

Now I know the development environmemt isn't everything, but I think it has a big impact on the crappy app worls for bb.

Re:Development Environmemt (2)

jjetson (2041488) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433838)

I develop for BB and Android as well and I completely disagree. BB is far easier to develop for if you know what you're doing. BB has excellent APIs that you can do almost anything with. Android still lacks basic stuff like Calender integration. While you can still acheive what you want there's nothing to say it will work in future versions of the OS and directly dealing with the databases is ridiculous. I'd have to say that there's as much complaining in Android related development threads as I've seen in BB ones.

There are a lot of issues (3, Interesting)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433426)

I own a PlayBook. The first thing I wanted to do with it was connect to my work computer (Windows) and remote desktop. Well, PB doesn't support PPTP or L2TP/IPSec, so that won't work. Furthermore, it doesn't have a remote desktop app, further making this impossible. I then tried to connect it to a BlackBerry (I don't own one, but a co-workers does), and it failed. The only way to make it work was to re-flash the device with the same ROM (not a new one.. I don't know why). So, then I could read e-mail, right? Yes, but you can't open attachments... wtf?

I think the above is a good summary of the overall impression people get from BlackBerry. Have you ever tried to use their desktop software for syncing music/etc to their phones? It's ridiculously awful. I actually laughed out loud when I saw it, as it took about 5 minutes just to detect the device and communicate with it. It just leaves a really bad taste in the mouth.

Which brings me to my last point, which is the development environment. For PB, it's not existent.. it's command line. Sorry, but that's not acceptable. I mean, sure, when you first release the device, but now there's still nothing? At least make an eclipse plug-in. For BlackBerry.. well, I've made a few apps for 4.6.0 and above, and it was tragic at best. There are many simple things that are just not available (some graphical markup language anyone?) - the fact that I have to write my GUI in code just reeks of outdated. And then something like connecting to the internet requires re-implementation of connection detection every time.. there's nothing built into the framework to just abstract dealing with the connection away.

I've read quite a few BB developer forums, and they are all fairly negative, or very frustrated. How can they expect a great app eco-system, when they obviously have absolutely no care in the world for their developers?

Their real problem? (2)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433440)

The smartphone market was (until Android appeared) one of status - people boasted their BB's 'cos it made them look and feel important. Enter iPhone, which did achieved the same functionality for people, only better. Android entered to clean up the bottom end of the smartphone market (those who want the functionality but can't afford the exclusivity) and even make tiny inroads into the upper end.

There is no space for RIM in this world, unless they focus on taking on *either* iPhone or Android in their respective markets. WP7 hasn't a chance either, but at least they're focused - they're going after the Android space, not the "status and exclusivity" space. RIM doesn't know what to focus on, and they're (unsurprisingly) doing a bad job of going anywhere.

Re:Their real problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433574)

I think you have a full BINGO card there. RIM used to be a status symbol, one that executives troddled around with, and then it trickled down to the people who needed it for technical reasons, to tether them to the office. Then it became the 'must have' for everyone wanting to look important. Apple came along and created a niche for the early adopters and status seekers in the consumer space.
Soon the iPhone became the necessary status symbol for everyone, from the executive space to the consumer space. Those who can't afford, or don't want to be in the Apple camp buy Android. RIM touts their 'security' card, but in reality we all know that there is no inherant security in anything and the biggest flaw in any security model is adding human beings into it. Just as we would all love to buy one appliance that bakes bread, makes toast and coffee, washes the dog and cleans our toothbrushs, all while displaying HDTV, it just doesn't exist so we buy the best appliance we can afford that fits our needs, or we splurge and go for the status symbol.

Since the BB is no longer a status symbol, and NOBODY wants to see your 'new blackberry'(except for someone else who owns a blackberry and is stuck with it due to corporate policy) it is going away in a big hurry. five or ten years ago if someone owned a blackberry for business use they likely wouldn't buy a personal PDA type device, why bother. If they did they'd likely buy themselves a BB because they are used to using it.
Today most people who use a BB for their work lives will go out and buy an iPhone or an Android device for personal use, to get themselves away from the archaic BB product.

There is no attractiveness left in the BB from the USER point of view. The devices are difficult to use because their interfaces are antiquated, screens are small, and the supporting software is garbage. The only attractiveness left is in the back end, and you can't drive acceptance of a platform that doesn't work for the end user.

Problems with RIM and the Playbook from an owner (4, Interesting)

quetwo (1203948) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433452)

I ended up with a Playbook from winning a contest just about a year ago. I was super excited to get one -- all the specs were great and it seemed like a winning device. The conference I was at had only one, and they kept it behiend a glass case. They wouldn't let any of the devs touch it, but they handed out Playbook Emulators (software) that you could build apps against. Over the course of the next 4 months, the API changed soo many times, and the Emulator was so buggy that it was almost pointless to develop against it.

From that point, it was 6 months before I got the real device in the mail.

A lot of promises that made the device a best-seller still haven't materilized.

  - It was said it was going to ship with the ability to run Android and old BBx Apps.
  - It was said that devlopers could develop apps in native QNX. Such an SDK has still not been released, except for a few select partners (I've been a BB developer for YEARS, and thought I could make this list... I guess not).
  - There were BB phones that were supposed to be released immediatly after the Playbook that ran QNX. This would allow devs to target one SDK / App development model for both phones and tablets. We have not seen anything about a new QNX phone yet.
  - It was said that there would be a version that had GSM/CDMA capabilities coming... It's been bumped off their road map. You can either use WiFi, or tether to an existing BB phone.
  - There is no 'smartphone' stuff in there. No Calendar, no Mail, nothing. You can tether to an existing BB phone and emulate some of those things, but if your phone is off, or out of range you loose those apps. Who pays hundreds of dollars and can't check your mail on a device!
  - There has been a real lack of business apps. Still no SSH app, still no RDP app. No email, no word processor, etc. These are the things people will notice when they check out the devices in the store. If the developer eco-system wasn't supporting these types of apps, RIM should have whipped them up to fill in the gaps. They didn't, and they still don't exist.
  - They've scared off most developers because of the way they run their program. You have to register your device with your program and download a developer 'token' that is only good for 30 days. Every 30 days you need to re-register your device to be able to deploy apps to it. Additionally, you have to bake those tokens into your app, which means that your apps can really only be tested for 30 day windows. To get your tokens approved it can take DAYS. Submitting stuff to the App World is a similar process as Apple, except you get more feedback when your apps get rejected.

Now, all that being said, hardware wise I think the device is REAL nice.. One of the best tablet screens I've ever encountered. I love the gestures (the borders of the device are touch sensitive, and most of the gestures you use with the device orgionate from there). The web browser is really solid, and the multi-tasking works very well. Because of the screen, it's one of the few devices I can read a full newspaper on without having a lot of strain on my eyes. The OS is also beautiful too -- and much better laid out than iOS or Android. The battery lasts about 8 hours of continious use, which is great for a device like that.

That being said -- I don't use it every day. I don't even use it every week because the lack of apps to do my work. At this point, it is a glorified web browser and that's about it. Give me the ability to do my day-to-day job (like I can on the iPad or Samsung tab), and it would be the device to carry around. But not until then.

The playbook screeen is appaling (1)

xaccrocheur (470934) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433540)

Wow, this tablet's design suck in a way I would not have though possible. The useless black surrounding space seem bigger than the actual viewing area, what is this ? Joe People wants flush "full screen" screens, and if you have to put the HW *behind* the screen, making the tablet a tad bigger, so be it ! Nobody minds having a thickish tablet, it makes it somehow sturdier (you *will* sit on it at some point) but everybody, when asked "what do you think about this empty area around the screen of your laptop / phone / tablet / TV / GPS / Gizmo" ? reply "it sucks". 100%. E-ve-ry-bo-dy. Well not everybody, 5% actually say "oh I didn't notice, I don't mind" but they are morons who don't know how to spell "ergonomics" and add "bars" to their Internet Explorer 6. Put stickers on windowpanes. Take 2.5 parking spaces. Morons. Apparently some work as HW designers. (oh and that handing the encryption keys to every cop who asks nicely? Way to go RIM, it's not like your loyal customer base actually trusted you with their data confidentiality)

Re:The playbook screeen is appaling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433640)

The bezel is touch sensitive, and used for gestures.

And as has been pointed out many times, they didn't hand over keys. They couldn't. Rumour is they assisted in brokering trade deals with the Canadian Gov't.

A bad quarter (1)

Linegod (9952) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433554)

RIM has a bad quarter, and the glee at which people post its demise is amusing. Look at the actual financials, their assets, and the market share. Adjust for an expanded market and you get less of a 'doom and gloom' picture.

And the Playbook is a fine piece of kit - and will only get better when the NDK is released. Could it have more apps? Yes. Is there anything wrong with the device itself. No.

Re:A bad quarter (2)

DJCouchyCouch (622482) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433738)

When was the last time an abandoned platform suddenly resurged into success through a series of late-arriving updates?

Management (4, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433582)

RIM's major problem is their management. Problems like a lack of apps and whatever other reason you want to put forth all come _after_ RIM's management failed the company. Specifically, their management's lack of vision and ego.

When Apple released the iPhone, the mobile market changed. You may love Apple or you may hate Apple but that doesn't matter - the fact that does matter is that Apple changed everything with the release of the iPhone. Simply look at the vast majority of mobile phones before the iPhone and then look at the vast majority of phones after the iPhone. Everything changed.

Most companies recognized what the iPhone meant to the mobile market and thus they changed. Whether it was to "be more like Apple" or simply because they recognized that Apple was on to something big, the design of phones radically shifted. Specifically, keyboards largely vanished and touch screens were in. Phone makers changed gears.

Except the RIM with the Blackberry.

While everyone else was scrambling to adjust to the new reality in the mobile market, RIM's management steadfastly refused to acknowledge and, more importantly, recognize that things had changed. While even the most casual observer could tell that everything had changed, RIM's management somehow seemed to miss the signs and thus they didn't shift gears. Not until very recently have they begrudgingly released phones that kinda, sorta look and function like a touchscreen phone but, by now, it's too late. Momentum is well and truly swung and, once you get a massive shift in momentum like that, it's virtually impossible to stop it.

RIM's management utterly failed their company. Their inability to adapt to a changing landscape; their inability to recognize that the landscape had changed or their unwillingness to admit that it had; their arrogance in believing that their established client base made them immune to changes in the market all has lead to this point. Their management is ill-equipped to run a mobile device maker because the market demands leadership that can recognize change when it happens and adapt to that change in a timely manner. And, to be clear, when I say "management" I'm largely look right at the very top.

Re:Management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433834)

Exaclty. RIM has corporate market management. They have a problem dealing with the consumer market which is a completely different playing field. The mobile market has moved from a corporate market to a consumner market. There is no longer any room for RIM. It will be extinct within a few years.

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