Technologizer

BlackBerry 10: Good Enough Won’t Be Anywhere Near Good Enough

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RIM
RIM

BlackBerry 10's new Peek feature

So help me, I want to be excited about BlackBerry 10, the all-new operating system powering the BlackBerry handsets which are now supposed to show up in the first quarter of 2013.

I was keeping an open mind about it almost a year ago when I attended RIM’s last Bay Area developer conference. When RIM announced in June that it was delaying the first devices (again) until 2013, I praised that decision. Of course, it’s dangerous to get excited about products which haven’t shipped yet. But it’s also pointless to reflexively dismiss them.

So I attended this morning’s opening keynote at RIM’s BlackBerry Jam conference in Silicon Valley…well, not prepared to be wowed, but willing to be wowed. With 2013 coming along so quickly, I thought it was possible that RIM would do a big reveal of its new platform in a manner that suddenly made everything make sense.

It didn’t. I’m not taking even that as definitive proof that BB10 will be a big disappointment: RIM doesn’t seem to know how to explain itself, its vision and its products in a concise, coherent fashion, and it’s possible that it did a poor job of putting BB10 into the best possible light this morning.

I mean, you know a company has communications issues when a crucial event includes something like this:

It’s true that the keynote did include some good stuff. Quite a bit of good stuff, actually.

It included the most demonstrations of new functionality of any BB10-related event to date, including something called Peek, which lets you slide back an app to see notifications and other stuff. Peek looks nicely done. RIM also demoed Facebook and Foursquare for BB10, and confirmed that Twitter, LinkedIn, WebEx and other apps will be coming to the platform.

And the company is working hard to get developers feeling good about writing BB10 apps — it’s offering a guarantee that “qualifying” apps accepted by the BlackBerry App World will make at least $10,000 — which is the primary purpose of a conference like this.

But for all my willingness to be impressed by BB10, little warning alarms went off in my head about once every five minutes during the two-hour-plus keynote:

  • I get that this event is for developers, not consumers. But it’s still deeply worrying that the keynote didn’t reveal anything so compelling that it would lead a garden-variety consumer or business end-user to choose a BlackBerry 10 device over an iPhone or an Android phone. (Peek looks neat, but it doesn’t remotely counterbalance all of the many existing reasons to pick a competing platform.)
  • Speaking of Peek, we saw it at work during multiple live demos. But the main Peek presentation was done with static slides, not a working phone. Why that was, I don’t know — but it can’t be a good sign this late in the game.
  • The keynote kept involving words like “astonishing,” “amazing” and “incredible.” They were never applied to anything that was remotely astonishing, amazing or incredible. Actually, they usually seemed to refer to necessary actions RIM is belatedly taking to bring its products up to parity with iOS and Android.
  • The RIM folk kept talking about how intuitive and fluid BB10’s interface is, but there were multiple moments when the demo phone appeared not to respond to their gestures. (It never means much when a person responsible for a product makes it look easy during a demo — but when someone fails to do that, it can be an ominous sign.)
  • RIM is still describing the new version of the pre-release BB10 software it’s releasing to developers as an alpha. I don’t want to quibble over terminology, but if the first BlackBerry 10 devices are going to show up early in 2013, the operating system needs to progress to beta state.

The keynote didn’t make BlackBerry 10 look bad, exactly. It could be quite good. But with iOS and Android so deeply entrenched, it’s hard to imagine a scenario under which good enough is going to be good enough.

14 comments
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Jonathan Davis
Jonathan Davis

Executive Summery :RIM Stock is plummeting and even though the company is profitable it seems that there is no hope in sight. iPhone and Android and just ripping RIM's market share to pieces.

What RIM Seems to be doing to resolve Problem:

RIM is playing catchup by trying to compete with Android and Apple in the same space. By same space I mean RIM is trying to gain momentum with; Touch screen devices, App Store type of product, RIM seems to be trying to deliver a similar type of device as Apple and Google -  Music, Photo, Movies - a media Device that is catchy and fun. 

I believe that RIM will never achieve this and further even if RIM creates a device that meets thise standards they will fail because they were successful in reaching that goal - consumer devices are not their market space.

RIM is an enterprise product if they succeed in delivering a consumer type of device they will dive further down the rabbit hole because they would then again failing to reinvent anything in the enterprise space... That would make RIM similar to LG, Samsung, HTC and the others that are fighting for ground in that market... I am trying to say that - consumer devices are not RIM's market...

What RIM needs to do and Why:

RIM's blackberry is a great business phone, or better a great business tool. It has a great battery life, good quality phone calls when you need to make a phone call and it is a powerful and secure messaging platform. 

What i believe RIM needs to do is a few things. First RIM needs to deliver Application services not apps that you download from an iTunes type of platform. What RIM needs to deliver are enterprise service apps. RIM needs to change the game again the way they did by introducing RIM messaging platform for corporate email and messaging platforms. 

These Application Servers could be something simple that would fit in a SOHO environment or scale out to the enterprise.

For Example - RIM Collaboration with VoIP PBX Systems. From the smartphone to server apps, RIM needs to deliver a complete PBX Integration and an option for a standalone VoIP PBX solution capable of using Blackberry Smartphones as extensions and other desk phones - also a Desk-phone with the option to cradle the Blackberry Smartphone and maybe something that could include a RIM playbook device. The VoIP PBX Application should be a web based and hostable so that all the mobile carriers can add this to their product offerings being delivered to customers now. 

RIM Encryption Services for PBX Services - full end to end, smartphone to smartphone hardware based encryption services.

RIM Messaging Application Services with connectors into all the popular massaging platforms - this should be transparent to the smartph user - messages just work and a truly private. Web Based with the ability to add public and private messaging platforms.

RIM Google voice Application Service to bring into the office or SOHO google voice services transparently.

RIM Skype Application Service to deliver a seamless Skype experience to users from tablet to smartphone to computer. 

RIM Specialized CODEC for VoIP over 3G and 4G wireless networks also hardware based that can guarantee a SLA or attempt to deliver SLA type of solid voice quality that Blackberry have come to expect form Day to Day use of the device. Also as the CODEC is hardwired into the device the clients would only need use one dialer to access the PBX functionally, basically the ability of sending calls over the GSM or the VoIP PBX could be controlled by rules in the RIM VoIP PBX Server...

RIM Enterprise App Collaboration Services that make the playbook or playbook type of device and the smartphone work together as one unit. This Application server would publish enterprise application services similar to the way Citrix or Microsoft terminal Services enabled networks admins to push applications to any device connected to the Network. For Example - SAP Accounting, Microsoft Office or Microsoft Visio...

As this app can deliver applications as network services there could be a home option or an option hosted by the SP (Service Provider) that could deliver digital media content on private clouds - SOHO to Enterprise.

For that matter if the home version of the RIM Enterprise App Collaboration services is hosted at home (I will get to how the RIM servers should be deployed) then we can also add:

RIM Security App for Home/Office Home Small Business

RIM Home/Office Automation Service.

RIM GPS Service for Business.

RIM API's for any application Integration.

All RIM Application Servers could be deployed via VMWARE or via a virtualized Modules so that deploying and maintaining are as easy as choosing from a library of Application services.

*And this Application Service I think is where we are heading: Mobile VMWARE Cloud Slice running on a partition on a smartphone. This way any application can be delivered to the smartphone and run realtime enterprise applications - using cloud services a cloud slice on a mobile device should work perfectly.

I think with powerful RIM Application Services RIM can shift focus to the enterprise again and take back the market - but I do not think RIM can do this by playing the game Apple and Google are playing - RIM needs to set themselves apart and play RIM's game.

When RIM started it was genius that by installing Blackberry Software corporations could control smartphones via their IT Departments. Now that intelligence has moved out to the edge - the intelligence is in the device. By following these Application Servers we are delivering new intelligence that no other manufacturer is delivering today and the handset would be the device to access these services. It could change the chess board all over again.

Just my humble opinion...

sandwedge
sandwedge

BB is probably going to end up fighting its own 1st division battle against Windows/Nokia (except Nokia have already announced gorgeous phones).  I think both can get into the premiere division but BB in particular desperately need solid and dependable devices that just work with an OS that's buttery smooth.  I believe people can be forgiving and there probably are a sufficiently critical number of users who would willingly show allegiance to Windows / BB.  Having sufficient apps is an additional headache for both.

I would love to see both platforms succeed so we have 4 big players in the market.

Come on BB !!!!

CLK55
CLK55

What is a blackberry?

whitemike23
whitemike23

Original.  You must be 15 and be too young to know where the smartphone came from.

Wally SirFatty
Wally SirFatty

Sorry, but BBs were never that smart.  Email, and that was it.  I was a user since the 8700g through the Curve and always found the experience lacking.  I started to use a Nokia with an Exchange connector and found out what a smart phone really was.

therantguy
therantguy

 Or making a commentary on the fact that RIM is dead. Five years from now RIM is going to be in the same bucket as Nokia and Palm. RIM's only chance is to sell itself and get what value is left out of the company.

The fact that they squandered a huge lead in smartphones is not really the history, I assume, they were aiming for

Darrell MacLennan
Darrell MacLennan

The market is fickle - don't discount Blackberry, or Nokia: they're still both standing in the face of overwhelming adversity, and neither is stupid. Both players could have chosen to go the Android route, yet they haven't, but it is still on the cards. Before you decide to follow the sheep, you need to see if your own path is still a viable option.

Guest
Guest

RIM is a company in the middle of a massive transformation, so mistakes will be made. I for one certainly enjoyed watching the entire presentation but agree that it needed to be more polished.

 When Blackberry 10 devices launch, people will try it out, enjoy the intuitive experience and spread the word.  The interface and opportunities presented by the platform are attractive on both a business and personal level, especially with its balance technology.  Windows Phone and other platforms just do not flow as well and are not as open. Android is fragmented and inconsistent and Apple looks stale.  Blackberry if it plans everything in detail could reignite the technology world and become a major success.  I for one will be buying a Blackberry 10 device.

Christopher Hope
Christopher Hope

RIM is a company in the middle of a massive transformation, so mistakes will be made. I for one certainly enjoyed watching the entire presentation but agree that it needed to be more polished.

 When Blackberry 10 devices launch, people will try it out, enjoy the intuitive experience and spread the word.  The interface and opportunities presented by the platform are attractive on both a business and personal level, especially with its balance technology.  Windows Phone and other platforms just do not flow as well and are not as open. Android is fragmented and inconsistent and Apple looks stale.  Blackberry if it plans everything in detail could reignite the technology world and become a major success.  I for one will be buying a Blackberry 10 device.

Wally SirFatty
Wally SirFatty

You are really going to be disappointed, I'm afraid.

temzil
temzil

"Android is fragmented and inconsistent and Apple looks stale"

Are you not talking perhaps, whom you are?

BB is bland, an exterior design stuck in the 90's and as for the user experience? Please. As the term is often heard, "cant sleep? Think of a BB"

harrymccracken
harrymccracken

I hope it's great, too! I'd be thrilled to retract my skepticism.