BlackBerry is out of touch


Okay, be honest: How many of you BlackBerry users have iPhone or Android (or even Palm) envy?

The BlackBerry was oh-so-cool, what? Ten years ago? It made you a lean, mean email machine. That was great when businesses get done via emails. But these days, businesses get done via applications. And the truth is, BlackBerry apps suck.

Not only that, but the BB hardware and design haven’t changed much in ages. Same ol’ keypad, same ol’ screen, same ol’ form factor. Where’s the innovation, RIM?

In a move to reinvent itself, RIM scooped up QNX Software Systems. The plan is to replace the BlackBerry OS with QNX. To generate some excitement and buzz about RIM’s future, the PlayBook tablet was announced and slated to arrive in 2011. My opinion about PlayBook fits Jon Evans’ guest blog on TechCrunch, with this intro:

Oh, Research In Motion. You never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Diehard BlackBerry fans can’t wait for the arrival of PlayBook. Finally, a tablet made by a business-oriented vendor. Who’d want an Apple iPad or Dell Streak (Android)?

All the while the iPad and Android tablets continue to sell like hotcakes. Enough to put a dent in netbook sales figures.

But the PlayBook will have cameras, tethering (only to a BB, silly!), and Flash support! For some reason fans argue the PlayBook’s superiority by touting its Flash capability. Even though this is marketed as a business-oriented machine? How does Flash support help a business user on a tablet device? And limiting tethering to BlackBerry? Makes no sense, except that RIM is too proud to free the PlayBook.

There’s also a video demonstrating the PlayBook’s impressive browser speed against the iPad. Just keep in mind that this video was produced by RIM. Nobody has played with a PlayBook yet.

RIM is marketing the PlayBook as the most powerful tablet device. Unfortunately, when it is sold in 2011 it will have a long way to go to become the most popular tablet device.

(And if the future of RIM is something like this BlackBerry Empathy mockup, somebody please just hand the CEO a non-BlackBerry phone so he can call somebody who cares.)

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4 thoughts on “BlackBerry is out of touch

  1. Hey Eugene –

    You shared an interesting perspective on Blackberry innovation. With the PlayBook, we set out to create a professional-grade tablet, which means being best-in-class in all categories for both consumers and the enterprise space. An example of that is the PlayBook’s superior browsing experience, because of our support for Flash and open web standards like HTML 5, all powered by a dual-core processor. Web fidelity on a tablet is important to both consumers and business people, as it allows them to take their desktop web experience (whether it’s Facebook or an intranet SAP site) with them wherever they go without a loss in quality or functionality. We’ve also seen lots about apps in the RIM developer community, so the PlayBook won’t be short on them. Plus, we’re giving away free PlayBooks to developers who’s apps are accepted into App World, and they’ve already busy at work (http://devblog.blackberry.com/2010/10/blackberry-playbook-apps/). Stick around to learn more about the PlayBook.

    Alex from RIM

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  2. Alex,

    First, thanks for stopping by. It’s good to know RIM has people like you tuned into the blogosphere.

    However, from your comments I already see some troubles lurking… the use of phrases like “professional-grade” and “best-in-class” to describe a product that hasn’t reached the users. Touting Flash support (is that why a dual-core CPU is needed?) and “no loss in quality or functionality” (not if it can only tether to a BB). And lastly, GIVING AWAY PlayBooks to developers.

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    1. Hi Eugene – glad to stop by – and we’re definitely listening, the discussion is educational. I can understand why you’d be skeptical of terms like “best in class” and “professional-grade” – those are big claims, but they’re based on our experience working with enterprise customers around the world. I could just say it’s “freaking awesome” and “never leaves my side.” We’re excited about Flash because it will deliver a better browsing experience. The dual-core processor helps tremendously with true multitasking, so you’ll see smooth performance for apps. The PlayBook will also connect to a regular WiFi hotspot, but if you’re paired to a BlackBerry, you’ll also get a secure view of your BlackBerry email and calendar info – plus you don’t need two contracts.

      We’re giving units to developers to ensure that the people who are already making great applications for the PlayBook can make the most of this new device. As someone interested in CTI, you might want to develop an app that would allow contact center managers to have access to their databases and dashboards, and the ability to play a Flash training video, all while they’re sitting with a representative in their work area. If you’re interested in more info about developing for the PlayBook, please see http://us.blackberry.com/developers/tablet/.

      Thanks again for your post and comments, Alex

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