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Does RIM's "Huge Loss" Signal Wider Handset Market Deterioration?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the blood-in-the-water dept.

Handhelds 278

zacharye writes "RIM was expected to deliver a nightmarish, -30% year-on-year revenue decline into the May quarter — the company issued its latest profit warning just four weeks ago. Yet it ended up missing the lowered consensus estimate by 10%, generating just $2.8 billion in sales. The reasons for RIM's decline are well-known and will be rehashed again over the next 24 hours. But the size of the F1Q13 sales miss raises another question: apart from Apple and Samsung, is the handset industry drifting into serious trouble?"

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278 comments

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who cares? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40490177)

bring back the days of phone and text.

Re:who cares? (-1, Offtopic)

Wandering Voice (2267950) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490253)

In addition, the mobile phone networks and their cell towers need to be sabotaged. As long as they are used against us and we lack the means of having full access to these devices.

No (5, Insightful)

ghn (2469034) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490185)

Look at apple's profits.

And please stop the sensationalist question mark titles.

Re:No (2, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490257)

The handset industry is facing the same problem as the PC industry did during the 80's and we will end up with 2 or 3 large players.

Re:No (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40490413)

We only have a handful of large players in the handset industry right now.

If it's like the PC industry, we'll get exactly what we want for dirt cheap from any one of a 1,000 different manufacturers operating on razor-thin margins.

That'd be nice, and I'd like to see Google take their Motorola Mobility purchase and kick off that trend right now.

Re:No (1, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490471)

Only with the added burden of no software flexibility and way more DRM + lock down.

Can I build my own handset? (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490999)

We only have a handful of large players in the handset industry right now.

If it's like the PC industry, we'll get exactly what we want for dirt cheap from any one of a 1,000 different manufacturers operating on razor-thin margins.

If it's like the PC industry, we geeks who build our own rig want to build our own handsets

When can we do that?
 

Re:Can I build my own handset? (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491509)

Ever heard of GNU Radio? Get cracking.

Re:Can I build my own handset? (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491705)

The GNUphone! [newstechnica.com]

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40491533)

If you don't really care about touch screens it is like that already. My tastes run to indestructible "candy bar" dumb phones that give me over a weeks worth of battery life. Even buying new I have dozens of cheap options that fit the bill, and the second hand market is made of them.

Re:No (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40490655)

There's a pubic hair on my keyboard. What the fuck?? I "mow the lawn" so it's not mine. Gross.

So... (5, Informative)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490783)

HP/Compaq, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, Dell, Samsung, Sony, Fujitsu... who among these would you call small players? A small player in my mind is a store chain that sells rebranded or white label computers, not an asian mega giant.

Just because YOU don't shop around, doesn't mean nobody else does.

Re:So... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40491257)

And guess what? Most of those computers are all built by a few companies. Often they're made in the same factory.

Re:No (5, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491083)

The handset industry is facing the same problem as the PC industry did during the 80's and we will end up with 2 or 3 large players.

oh you mean just like happened to handset industry in 1996? and again in 2000? and again in 2004? and 2008?

hint: handset industry is in perpetual trouble, always been, always will. the bigger players manage with their momentum over the bad times, like motorola & samsung have done(even moto ended up getting chopped up, since last time they had a hit was with the original razrs) and how nokia is doing now after almost a decade of good times. it remains to be seen if blackberry is too big to fail or not in this regard.

the difference to pc industry is obvious though, you can't as easily just buy the parts and throw them together - another difference is IP rights, which basically bar any new entrees to the market(only small niche players are tolerated without getting sued by the big 5) even though anyone can buy the devices from the subcontracting factories.

and rims huge loss just signals rims situation - they hit their market peak. their actual problem was that they were never a global player and another problem is that they kept just hiring more and more people during their good times - that's another thing these companies do, they hoard engineers on the good times even if they don't have anything worhwhile for them to do - so expenses balloon when their profits balloon and then if they have a period of not having a hit phone in the stores it's doomsday instantly.

also - bb only ever had a lead in very few countries. they were never a truly global contender - however they did have growth until now.

Re:No (4, Insightful)

wisty (1335733) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491135)

Also, RIM's loss was mostly from writing down old stock. It's a paper loss, making up for paper profits which never really happened.

Their position isn't good, but it's not as horrible as the half billion loss indicates.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40491749)

Also, RIM's loss was mostly from writing down old stock. It's a paper loss, making up for paper profits which never really happened.

What sort of insane accounting practices could they have been following to include profits in stock? Stock should be valued at the lower of cost and net realisable value i.e. it should never be more than the cost of making it, though it can be less. Profits are recognised when you sell things, not when you make them. If you're right that they included unrealised profits in their stock then someone should be facing jail time over this (I have to wonder whether you just made it up though...)

Re:No (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491771)

Actually the reason RIM is gonna end up toast is the same reason we have seen tons of other companies go from being the big cheese to just another small fry, hell its the same reason we are seeing MSFT throw the Hail Mary of the century with Win 8 in Oct, and that is they didn't see the disruptive shift in the market coming and instead of innovating they sat on their laurels.

There is no reason that Blackberry couldn't have branched out, they could have had sleek elite lines like Apple and entry lines like Android, but like many corps they got fat and sat on their asses and the world passed them by. Seriously how many times have we seen this play out? RIM, Palm, the above mentioned MSFT, Nokia, these corps become the king of their respective hills and instead of staying hungry and growing they plop down and just count the money...right up to the point the Mac truck that is the changing tech scene runs their asses smooth over.

if you want to sit on your ass? tech is NOT the market you want to be in. just look at how much things have changed in the last decade, the end of the MHZ wars and the rise of multicores in the PC market, the death of the dumbphone for smartphones, netbooks and tablets appearing out of thin air, if you try to set on your ass in the tech world somebody will come along and kick you right in the ass, simple as that. RIM had a sweet thing going with business users but instead of doing the smart thing which would have been branching out into new markets, developing new exciting designs, and trying to stay ahead of the curve, they basically pulled a Palm and just rehashed what they had. Bad move RIM and now it looks like you're toast.

Re:No (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40490303)

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge%27s_Law_of_Headlines and you will understand the reason for the question mark.

Re:No (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491767)

Look at apple's profits.

The question asked was: "Apart from Apple and Samsung, is the handset market in trouble?" It seems that Apple makes huge profits, Samsung makes good profits, and the rest doesn't. If you say that total handset profit = profits of handset makers making profits, minus losses of handset makers making losses, then Apple and Samsung make over 100% of the total profit.

Now Samsung doesn't do anything that others couldn't do, so this seems to be just a matter of better execution and marketing.

Obvious? (5, Interesting)

SultanCemil (722533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490197)

I'll venture a guess that in 10 years, RIM's fall from grace will probably be a great case study in business schools around the world.

How a successful company managed, through horrible fore-sight, atrocious product management and lousy business management, to squander an insurmountable lead in the enterprise market is amazing.

On to the story at hand: there is no doubt that the wider handset market is in all kinds of trouble. Apple clearly makes most of the profit, and Samsung picks off what is left. What does this leave the other players? Nothing. Clearly there is no competition in the iOS market, and Samsung has a huge lead (and massive fab capabilities). Unless one of the other players steps up and makes a handset that, you know, you'd actually want, then they're dead.

End of story - this isn't that complex. Make a product people want. The competition has showed you the way....

Re:Obvious? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40490227)

it's more simple. new technology. vhs didn't last...rim is vhs

Re:Obvious? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40490235)

You don't disrupt a market by being a follower. Being a follower is always a volume business, you are just there to run a numbers game.

In apple's case they re-wrote the rulebook and turned the first question abotu every product into "But is it better than apple's offering". Once a single player is in that position t becomes very hard to unseat them by simply copying. You need to change the rules again to win that game.

Microsoft Deserve credit too (5, Insightful)

Freaky Spook (811861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490479)

In apple's case they re-wrote the rulebook and turned the first question abotu every product into "But is it better than apple's offering"

Microsoft expanding their ActiveSync license program as well I would contribute to helping the iPhone succeed. Suddenly you didn't need to invest in expensive BES licensing costs, windows licensing and hardware costs just to connect a phone to a mailbox. When that happened I wondered just exactly how Blackberry would react to the market, and well they didn't.

Re:Microsoft Deserve credit too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40491711)

Microsoft expanding their ActiveSync license program as well I would contribute to helping the iPhone succeed. Suddenly you didn't need to invest in expensive BES licensing costs, windows licensing and hardware costs just to connect a phone to a mailbox.

I think you meant Exchange ActiveSync and not ActiveSync which was dropped in Windows Vista and replaced with something else.

Google has licensed Exchange ActiveSync from Microsoft.

BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 and later for the PlayBook tablet have support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync.

BlackBerry 10 OS will support Exchange ActiveSync.

Re:Obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40491027)

You don't disrupt a market by being a follower.

Sometimes running a numbers game is the disruption. Dell managed to disrupt the PC market by being a follower, but streamlined the build-to-order direct sales PC business so that it basically took out many of the computer retailers that relied on distributors...

The apple "device" is not too hard to copy (witness the injunction that Apple had on Samsung's tablet). On the other hand, it's hard to copy the apple's vertically integrated "product" (which includes iTunes and the app store)...

Re:Obvious? (5, Insightful)

Dynamoo (527749) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491387)

RIM must be smarting because it *was* a market disrupter.. it's just that the market continued to evolve. Their problem now is.. how to disrupt the market again? I honestly don't think they can do it without radical and painful surgery to their business model.

My two cents worth.. RIM should dump plans for BB10. The world doesn't want another mobile OS, regardless of how good it might be from a technical POV. RIM should slot itself in with Android or perhaps Windows, but then differentiate itself with its software and services offerings (e.g. BBM, BES etc). If you offered me a truly enterprise-capable Android phone I would rip it out of your hands! Sure, margins will be thinner and the glory days will be behind them.. but they would probably survive, and that gives them time to look at the next way of disrupting the market.

No competition (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40490309)

Who can make a phone with all the patent traps?

Re:No competition (2)

sg_oneill (159032) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490575)

The people with the patents. The joys of government enforced monopolies.

Re:Obvious? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40490357)

Nokia will be an even greater case study.

Re:Obvious? (4, Insightful)

quadrox (1174915) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491227)

Yeah what really gets me is that they had a headstart with their maemo tablets long before the iphone came out. These were "only" lacking the phone component, but were arguable intended to fill the same "niche" as the iphone, and yet they never really put any effort into making them really good. They could have been where apple is now, but instead we get more Microsoft crap. Way to go Nokia.

Re:Obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40491405)

WP7 is not crap. I would argue that it rivals iOS in quality and that it is significantly better than Android for most people.

Re:Obvious? (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491739)

Funny how the market doesn't agree with you.

In the end sales happen to matter, and WP7 doesn't have them.

Re:Obvious? (2, Interesting)

jrumney (197329) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490469)

On to the story at hand: there is no doubt that the wider handset market is in all kinds of trouble. Apple clearly makes most of the profit, and Samsung picks off what is left. What does this leave the other players? Nothing.

From observing a number of industries over the years, I've come to the conclusion that mature markets seem to gravitate towards 3 major players (usually the third one is far behind the first two, sometimes there is one clear leader and two far behind it), and a bunch of also-rans that mostly churn away from startup to bankrupcy in the race to join the boom market, with a few niche players or well funded branches of bigger companies managing to stay around long term without being particularly successful. Occasionally one of these also-rans will move up the ranks, which signals the death of the third placeholder, and possibly a major shift in that industry with the possiblity of all three top players quickly fading away due to entrenched ideas that prevent them adapting to the shift quickly (eg Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola -> Nokia, Blackberry, Apple -> Apple, Samsung, HTC).

Re:Obvious? (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490595)

They would probably gravitate towards a monopoly if it wasn't for anti-trust laws.

Re:Obvious? (2)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491761)

What are these mature markets with few players? Not the car industry for one, not the cheese industry, not the toilet paper industry, not the whisky industry. I bet I could name more mature industries with many players than you could with industries with few players. This is beyond the phone, computer, OS industries.

Re:Obvious? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40490501)

I'm not sure what can be done about this either. Brand name awareness seems to be the key idea here, rather than quality. HTC managed to produce competitive, if not superior handsets this year in comparison to Samsung, which still cleaned up anyway thanks to its own brand awareness.

Perhaps the best we can hope for is that new cell phones lose their luster as preening status symbols and toys and just become as commoditized as most PCs have become today.

Re:Obvious? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40490711)

Apple clearly makes most of the profit, and Samsung picks off what is left. What does this leave the other players? Nothing. Clearly there is no competition in the iOS market

You clearly have no fucking clue what you're talking about whatsoever.

Re:Obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40490963)

How a successful company managed, through horrible fore-sight, atrocious product management and lousy business management, to squander an insurmountable lead in the enterprise market is amazing.

As is the CEO remuneration. Fail or Win - a CEO has gotta be paid, cos they are special.

Re:Obvious? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491133)

Right now Rim has $10billion USD in assets. $2billion of it is money in the bank. Any company that manages that much profit is in no way a failure. There is nowhere in the rules that says your company has to last forever.

Of course, if they take on huge amounts of debt in a hopeless attempt to 'turn the company around,' then that will count as failure. But up to now they've been a highly successful company.

Re:Obvious? (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491313)

I think RIM's lead worked against them - it made them complacent. By the time they realised they couldn't afford to be complacent, the rest of the world had noticed it some years earlier.

Let's look at a rough timeline:

  - RIM release the first Blackberry along with BES.
  - Microsoft think "What a good idea". They integrate some of the more basic features of BES into Exchange under the name of ActiveSync, and improve it considerably as the years go by. Why does Microsoft do this? Simple, it's a popular feature and they can use it to persuade companies to upgrade their existing Exchange infrastructure rather than buy BES. All they need to do is find some handset vendors to license the client-side to.
  - RIM doubtless looks into this, concludes that ActiveSync is nothing like as sophisticated as BES (it isn't), and that nobody else has released a handset that does a half-decent job of managing email anyway (they haven't).
  - Apple release the iPhone. It's a swishy piece of kit - far prettier than anything RIM have ever produced, and much more pleasant to use - but ultimately not terribly sophisticated. RIM ignore it.
  - Microsoft release Exchange 2007. ActiveSync is greatly improved. RIM ignore it.
  - HTC release the HTC Dream - one of the first Android handsets. Android's prettier than Blackberry, and a sight easier to use. But RIM ignore it.
  - Apple license ActiveSync and include support in an update to the iPhone OS. RIM ignore it.
  - Google license ActiveSync and include support in Android. Phones that support Android 2.0 or later get Exchange support.
  - RIM buy QNX with a view to rewriting their OS. Corporate acquisitions typically involve months of due diligence before they're announced to the public; it's safe to assume that RIM were looking into this some time before Android 2.0 was released.

So where does this leave RIM? It's Q2 2010, they've obviously decided that long-term, they want a new base for their smartphone OS. At this point they're probably at least three years behind Apple and two years behind Android. Pretty much all they can do is maintain their existing product line while putting together what will be their next major OS upgrade and hope to hell they can keep their heads above water for as long as it takes to get something released. Will they? It's looking doubtful.

Re:Obvious? (1)

zaphod777 (1755922) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491317)

Samsung picks off what is left? They get more credit than that. But anyway the secret to moving a lot of phones is pretty simple I don't know why they don't do this. Unlock the boot loader out the door give us stock Android and if you have to add your special sauce put it as an add-on app / launcher you can install from a special store. Give us good battery, I don't care if the phone is a little thicker but I want a battery that lasts all day. Extra points for solid construction. Also if I can get a 7" tablet for $199 I should be able to get a unsubsidized phone for that much. I know that the radio adds cost but I figure a screen that is 1/4 the size should make up for that.

Re:Obvious? (1, Interesting)

toruonu (1696670) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491839)

Seriously? You'd be satisfied with a phone that lasts a full day? I just recently was in supermarket reading e-mail in the checkout queue and a guy was speaking with the cashier about phones and the cashier asked if he's doing something wrong because he bought a smartphone (looked like a HTC or smth) and it lasts at best a full day even if he just calls. The other guy who seemed to be a phone guy or smth said that's normal and that his lasts approximately a day if all goes well, but if he uses it more he has to plug it in and that's normal. All smartphones do that... I just shook my head and kept reading e-mails on my iPhone 4 that I had taken from the charger the previous morning at 8 AM (it was late afternoon when this happened, so ca 30h later) and it still had 76% of charge left. I use the phone quite substantially, I use it for personal hotspot at times, I play games on it and constantly browse web and facebook. I also use Waze for traffic information and that's the only bigger battery drainer due to constant GPS usage. But the phone easy lasts 2-3 days, sometimes 4 days. And it's running latest iOS 5.1.1 and is almost 2 years old (bought 2010 october).

So one of the things I think is THE main failure of Android is the phones have crappy battery and the OS doesn't seem to be optimized for really running conservatively on the battery. And I haven't tweaked the OS in any way really to sustain the phone longer (about 50% of the time I'm on 3G, not wifi). I've only turned off location services for a few things (including notifications as I don't use location fencing right now), but most notifications and location services are still used and that has only a small impact. I've found some third party apps that if left in the background do consume a lot of battery even though they shouldn't (Facebook, Waze, Viber are extreme drainers if they are in background, not while in foreground). So killing those apps after I've finished using them expanded my battery life by a day and that's an issue with the 3rd party app and possibly somewhat also the OS.

ABSOLUTELY !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40490207)

Yes, in a nutshell !! It also signals the second coming !! It may also signal the end of time as we know it !! Then again, it may just be its time !! God is calling it back home !!

Re:ABSOLUTELY !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40490265)

6 months to december

Just because you build it doesn't mean they'll ... (5, Insightful)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490213)

No, it's not the end of the handset industry, nor are they in trouble. It's an industry that 80+% of the users toss their perfectly good handset every 18-24 months because their contracts generally make it worthwhile to do so. Just try to get a decent contract with a reasonable monthly fee that's lower than getting the same contract with a brand new shiny phone attached. However, just because you make a handset doesn't mean people will buy it, especially if that handset comes at virtually the same price or within easy disposable income range of the top of the line handsets. Why would you buy a Yugo if for $10 more you can own a Lexus?

Re:Just because you build it doesn't mean they'll (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490507)

Why would you buy a Yugo if for $10 more you can own a Lexus?

Because one may no longer drive [ebay.com] a Lexus?
Or, just as a statement, Yugos may become fashionable again? (those bastards with disposable income... one can't predict what they'll have in mind next).

Re:Just because you build it doesn't mean they'll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40490687)

I still don't know how Lexus became popular. Is it just the US that holds that opinion? I'm pretty sure everywhere else they're viewed as somewhat crappy cars.

Re:Just because you build it doesn't mean they'll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40491203)

I still don't know how Lexus became popular. Is it just the US that holds that opinion? I'm pretty sure everywhere else they're viewed as somewhat crappy cars.

I'm pretty sure everywhere else they're viewed as Toyotas.

No, just the mediocre handset industry. (4, Insightful)

UpnAtom (551727) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490239)

Just bring out a decent product. Nokia's N9 with zero marketing, blocked in all major markets and Nokia's own CEO briefing against it still managed to sell millions of units.

Because it's a superb smartphone with a superb OS.

RIM will bounce back if BB10 is as good as it's supposed to be, on decent hardware, in multiple form-factors.

Re:No, just the mediocre handset industry. (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490515)

BB10 has been delayed again. :( I'm optimistic about the platform, if it ever arrives. Qt, HTML5, Android player, QNX. Woo developers from 4 platforms webos (HTML 5), Symbian & meego (Qt), Android (app player).

The Torch looks quite nice with its slide out keyboard - HP Pre 3 heir?

Nevertheless, their website shows a hardware keyboard in portrait Torch 9810, substituted for a software keyboard in landscape Torch 9800 - the software keyboard doesn't seem sufficiently wider due to the wasted space around the screen.

Know your markets. Provide 3 models with BB10 (plus a classic BB7 for bread and butter customers).

(1) Touch-screen only - Galaxy S3 competitor.
(2) Portrait slider - Pre 3 successor.
(3) Landscape slider - HTC Arrive & Nokia E7/N900 successor (well minus the N900's openness - it is a proprietary OS after all).

Re:No, just the mediocre handset industry. (1)

UpnAtom (551727) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491329)

Exactly. And the tablet with a budget model.

Re:No, just the mediocre handset industry. (2)

Octorian (14086) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490677)

And I wonder what would have happened if Nokia actually stood behind the N9, and didn't declare it dead before putting it on sale?

As it is, while there may be plenty of hobbyists doing N9 development, Nokia's situation makes it nearly impossible for any actual mobile-software business to justify investing so much as a dime in the platform.

Eheh (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490807)

The beauty of MeeGo is that it is Linux, you already got a ton of software, real software not fart apps and they are FREE! Developed by developers who have a heart for their application, not a desire to charge big bucks for inferior software people have gotten for free for decades. Reall, 1,59 for for a video player that doesn't even support basic formats? No thanks.

Re:Eheh (4, Informative)

DerPflanz (525793) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490921)

This is a weird argument. I had a N900, with all the advantages you describe here: Linux, real software, free. However, since I have a Galaxy Nexus with Android, I have the feeling the overall quality of apps is *way* better. And guess what, many of the good ones are free (as in beer) too. When choosing between paying some money for an app that does do what I want, compared to a app 'from a developer with a heart of his app' that looks ugly and stays in beta forever, I'd pay.

Besides, developing for Android is a lot nicer than for the N900. I don't know how far MeeGo/Moblin/Maemo has become in the last year, but I really like Android from both a user's and developer's perspective.

Re:Eheh (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491191)

Different strokes for different folks.

Efforts to hybridize Android and traditional linux include
(a) Ubuntu mobile
(b) Porting wayland to android
(c) hardware virtualization in the Cortex A15

So it has traditionally been the Google way via the 'Play' store, or the GNU way via X11 and a package manager but one day Android apps will run seamlessly alongside desktop apps.

Re:Eheh (1)

Dynamoo (527749) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491349)

Any Android 2.0+ handset has a more polished OS than the N900, but that shouldn't have been a problem if Nokia had pressed on with Maemo development. But they shitcanned the Maemo platform and tried to merge it with Moblin into MeeGo at a critical moment, so they expected follow-on handset never turned up.. Nokia wasted a LOT of time messing around with MeeGo. By the time the N9 came out, it was basically irrelevant.

Even so.. there's a brisk trade in N9s on eBay, and if you really want to see something expensive check out the prices that the N950s are going for..

Re:Eheh (1)

UpnAtom (551727) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491513)

I think a lot of N900 developers would shun Android simply because Qt is much nicer to develop for.

Re:No, just the mediocre handset industry. (1)

UpnAtom (551727) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491507)

I think it obviously would be a contender. If you can get millions of sales whilst trying to kill it, you might get 10 million by actively promoting it. Small numbers compared to A & A but a lot better than going out of business as they are now.

The N9 seems to have sold through its visual appeal. If lack of apps ever became an issue, Nokia could have bunged either ACL or Alien Dalvik on it (charged existing users). The N950 would have been released simultaneously filling a massive gap left by Blackberry all this time.
This year would have seen a refresh of hardware, notably faster processors, maybe an 8" slate to compete with tablets.

The N900 has a lot of apps. Not everything, but a lot. Development has slowed down a ton though someone just ported Homeworld. ;)

N9 development seems to be mostly porting from N900. It seems that Harmattan is going to be finished (a 4th service pack).

I read a theory from an 'insider' that Elop was brought in by a few big stockholders to wind down the company while they got out...

Re:No, just the mediocre handset industry. (1)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491335)

If it becomes available in time. I own a bold, a 9900. Released in August, it took 3 additional months before AT&T (in my experience, a frequented-by-business carrier) had it. It doesn't sound like much, but there was pretty much no reason for it to be delayed. Free money left on the table; we had at least 3 people migrate to iPhones in that time.

Re:No, just the mediocre handset industry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40491377)

Really? I'd argue that WebOS was a pretty great OS, and well received by reviewers, and yet it ended up becoming a flop.

Laid off R&D, spent all $ on management pay. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40490251)

Plus, they parterned with Microsoft.

They are not the first to fail this way.

No, just RIM (3, Insightful)

slazzy (864185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490263)

Sad to see a great Canadian tech company fail, but they just didn't keep up with changing market demands. Everyone now wants the latest games and movie s on their smartphones. It's not all about text and email anymore.

Re:No, just RIM (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490379)

Yup. I looked at a Blackberry years ago and thought that it is old fashioned and why would anyone want it? Finally government users and stock brokers clued in and switched to something better.

Re:No, just RIM (1, Funny)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490585)

That's why I dumped my N900 for an iPhone.

Re:No, just RIM (1)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491563)

Games maybe but movies on a phone, seriously?
Youtube clips are one thing but why would any one want to spend 90 minutes+ watching a movie on a tiny screen with a race between the film completing and the battery dying?

I guess you might use a phone as a replacement for the kids in car dvd player but you are seriously risking vomiting in the back seats. I loved to read as a kid but focusing on a paperback while travelling would make me queasy.

Games are a different matter as they fill "waiting time".

One thing which would be an improvement on current phones would be an e-ink or similar screen on phones as a secondary screen. Because none of the current screens are much good outside in sunlight. Maybe its time for the flip screen style phone to make a come back.

Re:No, just RIM (1)

Xiaran (836924) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491733)

Lots of people commute on trains. Here in the UK I know people that spend 4 hours a day at least on a train. They watch movies and TV shows quite often.

RIM not industry (4, Interesting)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490269)

This is a RIM problem, not an industry problem. RIM's sales are way down because their technology is outdated and they can't get their shit together. If it were an industry problem we'd be seeing reduced volumes and purchase prices across the board. By that measure Huawei's success is a more accurate harbinger of what's to come.

Can't help but think that RIM's current situation is a lot like what Apple faced with Copland back in the mid-90s. After several years of trying to build their own next-gen system they gave up and purchased NeXT, which we now know as OS X. After numerous OS delays and corporate near-death experiences they finally launched OS X Public Beta in 2000. Given that 90% of current Mac users never touched Classic, there is little shared memory for the bloated, buggy mess that was Mac OS 6-9.

RIM was in the same place two years ago, with a nasty software stack and no ecosystem. They responded by buying QNX. Even with the latest delays they are still going to from purchase to market faster than Apple did with OS X. Same fundamental problem, same solution, dramatically different outcomes.

Re:RIM not industry (5, Interesting)

erice (13380) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490361)

RIM was in the same place two years ago, with a nasty software stack and no ecosystem. They responded by buying QNX. Even with the latest delays they are still going to from purchase to market faster than Apple did with OS X. Same fundamental problem, same solution, dramatically different outcomes.

OSX might have saved Apple from extinction, but it wasn't enough to make them thrive. The Ipod did that.

Qnx might save some residue of RIM but if they want to thrive again, they will need a fresh beachhead in a new market.

Re:RIM not industry (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490621)

What the heck do you think iOS uses as a base? Ever noticed you program iOS apps in Objective-C?

Re:RIM not industry (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491039)

You seem to be making the common mistake of conflating "kernel" and "operating system" (as people often do with Linux).

While there is talk of efforts within Apple to homogenize the platforms eventually, the full stack of libraries and features is significantly different between OSX and iOS despite each having a kernel based on the same ancestry.

Re:RIM not industry (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491619)

You seem to be making the common mistake of conflating an operating system and a distribution (as people general do, not only with linux).

From a CS point of view, the operating system is the program, which manages all ressources of a computer, including CPU, memory and I/O-devices and distributes the resources to the applications. That means that the Operating System is the kernel, the init process and the device drivers -- and nothing else. GUI is an appliction, command line interface is an application, services or server processes are applications. Everything you use to interact with the computer is an application. And an operating system together with a collection of applications is a distribution.

Re:RIM not industry (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491797)

Fairy enough.

I'm happy to be told that I'm technically incorrect on this, but I've always considered the base libraries and other ubiquitous parts of the software stack (those parts that are assumed to be present in some version from a clean install, which for iOS includes GUI libraries but for Linux distributions does not) to be part of what sits under the umbrella of "OS".

Perhaps platform is the term I should be using.

Re:RIM not industry (4, Interesting)

am 2k (217885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491185)

The original iPod didn't run iOS, they licensed a third party OS and added their own UI on top of it.

Re:RIM not industry (4, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490389)

there is little shared memory for the bloated, buggy mess that was Mac OS 6-9.

bloated? Until recently I had a G3 that would boot both. OS9 started in about 10 seconds - OSX took about 2 minutes. OS9 was comfortable inside 16MB. OSX preferred about a quarter gig on that system. Everything about the UI was much faster on OS9.

Rail against its non-modern architecture all you want, but it doesn't make sense to call it 'bloated'.

Re:RIM not industry (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490417)

Can't help but think that RIM's current situation is a lot like what Apple faced with Copland back in the mid-90s. After several years of trying to build their own next-gen system they gave up and purchased NeXT, which we now know as OS X.

Actually, Copeland made it to an alpha release, and it wasn't that bad. Jobs' Reality Distortion Field convinced Apple management that buying NeXT (and bailing Jobs out of a $400 million hole) would produce an OS sooner. In fact, it took years longer than Jobs said it would.

The big problem with Copland was that it wasn't fully backwards compatible with the previous System 7. Historically, Apple hadn't seen that as an issue; when a new OS came out, developers were expected to convert their applications. They'd done that when Apple went from System 6 to System 7. ("Upgrade your application or we'll move it to a folder where no one will ever see it again.") But by the time Copland was coming out, Apple no longer had enough clout to force that. Their biggest application developer was Microsoft, and Microsoft didn't want to convert.

Jobs' biggest contribution in that era was getting Microsoft to keep supporting Office on the Mac. That led to the infamous presentation where Bill Gates appeared on a giant screen above Steve Jobs.

Re:RIM not industry (4, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490695)

Wasn't that bad? From 'kipedia:

New applications, those written with Copland in mind, would be able to directly communicate with the system servers and thereby gain many advantages in terms of performance and scalability. They could also communicate with the kernel to âoespin offâ separate applications or threads, which would run as separate processes in protected memory, as in most modern operating systems. However, these separate applications could not use non-re-entrant calls like QuickDraw, and thus could have no user interface. Apple suggested that larger programs could place their user interface in a normal Macintosh application, which would then start "worker threads" externally.[13]

How is that "not that bad"? Not to mention that devs complained that it crashed constantly, had no symmetric multiprocessing support etc. etc. It MAY have developed into something useful, but Apple was bleeding cash so badly at that point there was no way they could have survived until it did(sort of like RIM). NeXT by comparison was far, FAR more mature and stable. Apple was able to adapt NeXT OS to meet their needs much faster than they ever could have with Copland, and it had a much better architecture to boot. Some people seem to have a reality distortion field about Jobs's reality distortion field.....

Re:RIM not industry (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490709)

It was as buggy as my brain, forgetting to close my i tag and not adding "emphasis mine".

Re:RIM not industry (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40490669)

OS X didn't save Apple.
The iPod and iTunes did.
Nowadays, Apple major revenue source is the iPod successor, the iOS ecosystem.
The major proof of that is that they're trying to make the MacOS look like the iOS as much as possible with each update.

Re:RIM not industry (1)

epine (68316) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490757)

From a different post:

I'll venture a guess that in 10 years, RIM's fall from grace will probably be a great case study in business schools around the world.

With CliffNotes supplied by Isaac Asimov, whose psychometrics first foresaw the distortion in the personal reality field.

RIM was in the same place two years ago, with a nasty software stack and no ecosystem. They responded by buying QNX. Even with the latest delays they are still going to from purchase to market faster than Apple did with OS X. Same fundamental problem, same solution, dramatically different outcomes.

Actually, I think RIM severely underestimated gluttony and narcissism, but your points are largely correct.

Hard to say RIM has been managed any worse than Apple at their worst.

Re:RIM not industry (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491639)

Can't help but think that RIM's current situation is a lot like what Apple faced with Copland back in the mid-90s. After several years of trying to build their own next-gen system they gave up and purchased NeXT, which we now know as OS X. After numerous OS delays and corporate near-death experiences they finally launched OS X Public Beta in 2000.

What saved Apple from bankruptcy was the iMac. It ran classic mac os, and yet made Apple huge amounts of money, which it needed to continue operating long enough to put anything else out there. Copland / NeXT had nothing to do with it (except that the NeXT acquisition also happened to bring in a competent CEO).

Did OS X actually bring-in a lot of new users? Or were they brought-in by the hardware, apps, or advertising, and just happen to use OS X, and would just as easily have used OS9 without complaint? Being an early adopter of a all-new OS is anything but fun.

Handsets, eggs & milk (2)

ElitistWhiner (79961) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490281)

Inelastic demand ...like milk and eggs at your local grocery store...if you're out of handsets your customer goes over to the competition shopping. No handsets, you're out of business. RIMM handset delay puts their customers infront of the competition...if ever they come back to RIM - HELL will freeze over.

Handset industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40490329)

Handset industry apart from Apple and Samsung? Which handset industry?

free market at work (1)

mbaGeek (1219224) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490451)

nope, nothing to worry about - unless you happen to like/work for/own stock in RIM. this is just the handset market maturing

two examples of market consolidation:
once upon a time there were a lot of car companies in the United States [wikipedia.org]
I'm sure a lot of /.s remember multiple computer manufacturers from the 1990's that aren't around [wikipedia.org]

RIM might be in a death spiral but I wouldn't write them off yet. As far as I can tell they have the "corporate email" market cornered - which is a nice thing to have, but tiny compared to Apple's iPhone dominance.

I'd like an iPhone 4s myself (and when upgrade time rolls around I'll probably get one - but I'll wait for the prices to drop when Apple releases iPhone 5). Unless my employer requires it I'm not going to get anything from RIM ...

competition is usually good for consumers (drives innovation, lowers prices) but that it also means there will be "winning" and "losing" companies in the marketplace

So once again the "/. question in the subject header == False" - Apple and Samsung are simply making superior products and/or out competing RIM (and/or using the patent system better)

Who cares? (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490461)

I'm getting really tired of these lame Slashdot "articles" about some schmoe guessing what industry tends will be and who will own what market share. Who cares? I sincerely doubt that anybody reading Slashdot has any real, vested interest in what any particular electronic gadget industry is going to do.

Re:Who cares? (4, Insightful)

fferreres (525414) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490701)

Given that smartphones are the most widelydeployed and used general purpose computers in hands of individuals, I guess they do care. It's the future of computing.

They were in the market of cheap buffet style email for corp users and managed to get there by being convincing carriers to not price by kb with their platform.

The best chance of survival for them is to buy a T-mobile or Sprint (with the iPhone deal RIM is screwed now) and offer corp. plans for $30 a month, and then building an enterprise app ecosystem around a solid platform as QNX. No sane company will pay $100 per employee/mo if they could pay $30 and have a platform that can run apps just as good as the alternatives.

They though they where a premium brand with a premium product and now even if the products excel, they are irrelevant. If given a choice, most will prefer widely used platforms w/hundreds thousand apps and solid development tools.

Buying a carrier and being the low cost provider for corps is one of the few things that could save them - but may be too late.

Stephen Elop's reaction (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490719)

Stephen Elop decides to kick back, relax - loads up Slashdot for the first time in years and sees...

But the size of the F1Q13 sales miss raises another question: apart from Apple and Samsung, is the handset industry drifting into serious trouble?

"Hey, that was uncalled for!"

Thanks to the software parents dance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40490729)

soon everybody is getting a RIMjob.

what it signals... (4, Insightful)

khipu (2511498) | more than 2 years ago | (#40490737)

is that RIM made lousy management decisions, has a bad product, and is now paying the price for that. That's a good thing.

Re:what it signals... (1)

Quakeulf (2650167) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491809)

It still won't stop managers from never learning from their bad decisions!

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RIM deathwatch? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40490939)

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Not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40491023)

If BB wants to survive, they should dump BB10 and take the Android OS, with an BES e-mail app and intergration to try and reclaim the market. Mabye even rebrand handsets instead of building their own. Although i will say my old BB8530 was a rugged and trusty handset, and traveld many thousands of miles with me, needing only a charge every few days. We'll see how its replacement (an iphone) will do.

Re:Not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40491095)

Adopting Android so they can be another me-too player in a crowded market with a second-rate OS? What a stupid thing to do.

If only RIM had the most advanced mobile OS on the planet with a brilliant UI that puts the competition to shame... Oh, wait, they do!

QNX / BB10 is fucking amazing. No sane person can deny that fact. That's what scares Android and iOS fans so much. BB10 will slaughter the competition.

Re:Not surprising (4, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491775)

BB10 happens to be missing a feature - nobody can buy it. Sadly, "it shipped" is a critical feature. It doesn't matter how amazing it is without that one feature.

Meanwhile, Android is a crowded market that has lots of demand. People actually buy Android phones. This is the same mistake Nokia made: thinking that being the big fish in a swimming pool is better then being a small fish in the ocean.

Fanboys love to insult Android as second rate, but their "amazing" vendors would trade places with Samsung in a heartbeat because they (and Android) happen to do really well on the metric that matters in the business world: people actually buy it.

Re:Not surprising (1)

geoffaus (623283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491295)

lets hope you arent travelling overseas - the blackberry has good data compression - the iphone will cost a lot more in data charges Also if you type lots of emails the bb is so much faster than trying to type on a touch screen

Re:Not surprising (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40491407)

Opera Mini; Swype.

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Phones are becoming boring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40491307)

Maybe the novelty of new phones has worn off, especially now that almost all smart phones look the same. People call and text each other and once in a while they need to pull up an email or look at a map. Everything else is just toys. 5 years ago this was nerdy fun for Joe Consumer, but now he's playing with his tablet and doesn't care so much about his phone.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40491441)

RIMs fall isn't indicative of the rest of the handheld market, it's more a result of the market's success to leave competition behind. It's seductive to take a collapsatarian view of things tho

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