Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 6th Dec 2013 00:23 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

RIM grew into one of the world's most valuable tech companies. The BlackBerry became the indispensable accessory of business executives, heads of state, and Hollywood celebrities - until iPhone and Android came along and spoiled the party. Today the company, which has been renamed, simply, BlackBerry, is burning through cash as sales keep falling. On Nov. 21, BlackBerry shares closed at just above $6, the lowest it's been in almost 15 years.

Over the last two months, Bloomberg Businessweek spoke to dozens of current and former BlackBerry employees, vendors, and associates. Here is their account of the thrill of BlackBerry's ascension - and the heartache of watching its demise.

Aside from of course the personal tragedies that may arise from a possible complete BlackBerry collapse, I have little to no connection to the company or its products.

Except for one product.

I hope they release it as open source before it's too late.

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The reason why Blackberry died..
by bassbeast on Fri 6th Dec 2013 02:21 UTC
bassbeast
Member since:
2007-11-11

From a retail standpoint is VERY simple to explain, its the thing that killed Palm and what is hurting MSFT now which I call "sitting on ass" syndrome.

You see once Palm,MSFT, and Blackberry made it to the top they became less concerned about staying ahead of the curve than sitting on ass and milking the cash cow which is why they all ended up so far behind. Tech moves at an insane pace and if you don't constantly strive to stay ahead of the curve? Well by the time you realize tech has moved on its too late. They go from being an action company to a REaction company which by the time they react and come out with a "me too!" the market has again moved on.

See how long Blackberry stayed with the same design/OS/chips, how Palm hung onto garnet until it looked like Windows 3.x in a WinXP world, or how MSFT treated everything as a desktop even when the form factor didn't support using teeny tiny start buttons. After all how many would have thought the day that Google Search came out they could unseat the mighty Yahoo? Or that Apple would go from being a niche PC maker to a consumer electronics monster?

You stay ahead of the game or you lose, Blackberry sat on ass and kept hitting the snooze alarm until it was too late.

Reply Score: 11

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

It may not be so much 'sitting on ass', as it is trying to steer the Titanic. You know how these companies get when they get too big... the receptionist is up for a raise, and it requires 20 different meetings and approval from twelve committees to get that done. That's why when IBM developed the PC, they split off a small group to do their own thing, without all of the bureaucracy and bullshit that would normally be involved to get things approved through the company's normal channels.

When even small changes are a headache to get implemented, bigger ones are almost impossible. And that's how big companies end up getting supplanted by smaller ones.

Edited 2013-12-06 02:43 UTC

Reply Score: 10

1c3d0g Member since:
2005-07-06

Don't you think that's a problem with the company's management, though? A company can become big, yet still quick and nimble to adapt to any situation. And if there are too many people with too many positions, that sounds to me like someone hired too many employees. Time to chop off some heads, I say!

Reply Score: 5

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I don't know how many large companies are able to Keep themselves as nimble as small companies. Google did it for a while, but its reportedly cracked down on the 30% time.

Reply Score: 3

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

When even small changes are a headache to get implemented, bigger ones are almost impossible. And that's how big companies end up getting supplanted by smaller ones.


3M has been spectacularly successful at innovation for over 100 years. Back in the 1970s it was the worlds largest corporation.

Reply Score: 2

twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

Tech moves at an insane pace and if you don't constantly strive to stay ahead of the curve?


It's not about tech, it's about design and app availability. People don't buy iPhones instead of Blackberry or WP because iPhone has a better OS or better hardware, they buy it because they *think* they like the design and because is trendy and fashionable. People like to hang up with the cool guys, they don't like to sit alone in a corner.

But I agree with you about sitting on their asses and milking the current cash cow instead of staying ahead of the curve and finding another cows.

Reply Score: 2

shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

your reasoning might be true for SOME people.
When you get to a certain age. being 'cool' becomes irrelevant.
I am close to retirement and have never been cool in my life. I am an unashamed curmudgeon. I buy and use stuff that suits me and the way I live my life.
For example, I still use my Rolleiflex 120 camera and have dispensed with a smartphone.
Several of my friends use iPhones because they work, do the job that their owners demand of them and most certainly not because the owner wants to be cool. The closest these guys come to 'cool' is replacing their decrepit waxed cotton jackets with ones made with GoreTex.

Reply Score: 5

arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

People don't buy iPhones instead of Blackberry or WP because iPhone has a better OS or better hardware, they buy it because they *think* they like the design and because is trendy and fashionable.


Really!? How do you know that? You went and interviewed everybody?

Whether a product is cool or not is temporary. Apple was not cool when they launched the iPod, and they weren't really still that popular when the iPhone launched. The iPhone was radically better than other smartphones, and that is why it became popular. The combination of better hardware+software, high prices and good marketing made the iPhone cool.

Reply Score: 4

pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

The iPhone was radically better than other smartphones


I don't agree with that. At launch the iPhone 2G was not able to run any apps, was not able to shoot video, was not able to send MMS, did not have 3G, it did not have a flash, you could not change the battery or upgrade the storage. That was in mid 2007.

At that time I had a Sony Ericsson K800, that was launched at the beginning of 2006 and it was at most a mid-range dumb phone. It had video, MMS, 3G, xenon flash, changeable battery, upgradeable storage, apps I could download from various app repositories like getjar.com and I could surf the internet just fine with Opera Mini which rendered websites almost like its desktop counterpart. Also I could set any mp3 as a ringtone, browse the filesystem and transfer files over Bluetooth to and from any device - things that the iPhone still can't do. That phone is still being used every day as a work phone by my GF - while my friend's iPhone 2G gathers dust in a drawer for years because it can't hold a charge for more that a couple of hours and because it's slow to the point of being unusable.

So, how the fuck was the iPhone better? It was all smoke and mirrors and it still is.

Reply Score: 6

arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

You're listing a list of features. A feature isn't useful if it's users don't use it.

People could actually use the features that it had. That's how it was better.

Oh, and it had a fully featured browser, allowing it to access regular websites, not just mini-sites made for WAP browsers. That one feature - access to the whole world wide web - made it more powerful than every other phone on the market at the time.

Reply Score: 1

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I think you're both mostly right. The thing is, the original iPhone was a web browser with a phone thrown in. The browser was unparalleled in mobile, but the rest of the phone was sparse and featureless. It has steadily improved over the years, in large part because of the app ecosystem.

When the original iPhone was released, I had a Treo 650 that I'd already been using for over two years. I was, of course, wowed by the iPhone like most people, but with the $500 price tag and the fact that my phone did so much more at that time, I held off on buying an iPhone for several more months. When I finally did get one, within six months I had become so frustrated that I sold it and got my first Blackberry, which at that point was the only phone better than another Treo (for me).

Reply Score: 4

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Opera Mini is not a WAP browser, it can access pretty much full web.

Reply Score: 2

henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

But as it used a proxy server to pre process the content and a bespoke custom protocol to deliver the content to the browser engine, it wasn't actually a "real" fully featured browser. It was all "smoke and mirrors". The fact that if you typed in your Facebook credentials, it then transmitted those to a server in Norway and processed the results and sent back the page to your phone, you don't see a serious flaw in that? They ended up fully encrypting the protocol, but not for the first few iterations.

Reply Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Sure, but it's much more than a WAP browser, implied by the previous poster.

And if you can't trust Norwegians with your data, who can you trust? ;P

Also, the recipe of Opera Mini still is fairly popular, why do you use past tense when describing it? ;) Opera is among the top mobile browsers ( http://gs.statcounter.com/#mobile_browser-ww-monthly-200807-201312 ), ~90% of that (as shown by Opera State of the Mobile Web reports) is Opera Mini.

Anyway, there were back then full browsers on fairly inexpensive phones (some Symbian ones for example, with default Webkit browser preceding mobile Safari; maybe not as good as it, but...). Also later S40 Nokia "feature phones" have Webkit browser.

Reply Score: 2

pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

Opera Mini was a full featured browser. It benefited from the 3G that the K800 had and also had the Opera Turbo feature (serverside compression) - it was great considering the cost and performance of mobile data in 2007. In fact all the decent phones at the time had 3G and Opera Mini. The reality distortion field is strong.

Reply Score: 2

henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Opera Mini was a full featured browser.


No it wasn't. It used a custom protocol between itself and a proxy server that simplified down the web traffic. What you saw was mainly smoke and mirrors in the early versions. I had a K800i myself. I used it all the time, but saying it was "full featured" is stretching reality somewhat. A better description is that it "made the best of what it could do to make the full web fit on to a tiny screen with limited power."


It benefited from the 3G that the K800 had and also had the Opera Turbo feature (serverside compression) - it was great considering the cost and performance of mobile data in 2007.


As all of the data was coming from a proxy server with a far simpler bespoke protocol, it wasn't exactly hard for that to be true.

In fact all the decent phones at the time had 3G and Opera Mini. The reality distortion field is strong.


True, but 3G was a lot slower in 2007. Well, in the UK at least. When I got my iPhone 3G, a lot of the time it was just as fast to use the 2G connection, and the 2G connection would often pull the data down and render the page in about the same time as the Opera Proxy server used to. The K800i was slow.

For the record, Opera Mobile was a full featured browser, but that was never on the SE K800 or any other dumb phone really (if at all.)

Reply Score: 2

pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

No it wasn't. It used a custom protocol between itself and a proxy server that simplified down the web traffic.


Of course it was all done off-device. The K800 didn't have the raw processing power, but the end result was great. I had the full internet on my phone, I don't care where it was rendered.

As for 3G, I live in a big city, so it worked better than GPRS from the get-go.

Reply Score: 2

arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

Oh, and I had a Sony Ericsson Symbian device as well. Decent phones, but they couldn't compare to the iPhone's ease-of-use and full browser.

Reply Score: 1

mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

The mistake you make is to look at the things it couldn't do, rather than the things it could.

At the time it was launched, it had the best:
- Web browser on a mobile phone
- Music player on a mobile phone. Actually, best music player anywhere
- Maps applications on a mobile phone.

So, it didn't have a hundred features that its competition didn't have. It had three or four done so well, it was much better than the opposition.

Reply Score: 3

pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

I had a web browser on my phone - Opera Mini. It would render as well as desktop Opera, also it benefited from the 3G capabilities and Opera Turbo (server-side compression). I had an mp3 player on my phone, in fact I could install as many mp3 players as I wanted on my phone. Also there were already great music phones from Sony (Walkman series) and other manufacturers at the time. As for maps, although it didn't have a GPS chip, the K800 could run Yahoo! Maps and probably Google Maps. I used it all the time. There were other phones and smartphones that had a GPS chip and also navigation and offline maps - something that in 2007 was pretty important considering the low internet speeds and high cost of mobile data.

Feature wise there were better options for everything that the iPhone could do. To make a car analogy - it's like if you already had a normal car that you could drive anywhere and then comes AppleCars and says - we'll sell you this beautiful expensive car which has only two buttons. It can only drive backwards and forwards in a straight line for a few kilometers before it runs out of gas, but look at it, it's beautiful and so easy to use! And did we mention that you'll be 150% cooler if people see you driving it? Also, we invented the car.

It's sad that Apple had any kind of success. It's probably because all the other manufacturers were competing on features and useful things and thought that making something as useless as the iPhone would be a waste of time and money because, surely, people aren't so shallow. Well, Apple showed them that people are indeed shallow and would rather impress their peers with an expensive useless gimmick and then delude themselves that technically it's the greatest thing ever - what the hell, even Jobs told them so. He wouldn't lie or exaggerate, wouldn't he? And did I mention that I'm finally cool?

Reply Score: 2

henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

I had a web browser on my phone - Opera Mini. It would render as well as desktop Opera, also it benefited from the 3G capabilities and Opera Turbo (server-side compression).


Um.. you keep saying this, but as I pointed out in the thread above, Opera Mini was far from a real browser. If you want to be precise, it was more like a Thin Client that rendered content that a proxy server prepared from a real web page. The "speed" was all down to the fact it didn't actually have to render the page itself. It was all a bit of a hack.

I had an mp3 player on my phone, in fact I could install as many mp3 players as I wanted on my phone.


They weren't "good" though. The MP3 player on the K800 was just about passable. Anything 3rd party was written in J2ME and quality varied greatly. There was no touch screen, the experience was no where near the iPhone at the time.

Also there were already great music phones from Sony (Walkman series) and other manufacturers at the time.


Errr... no. The W850i was total crap. Ex-Wife had one at the time. It barely had any advantages over the K800 and used proprietary connections to the phone, so you either required their headphones or IIRC the Walkman phones had a bodge that allowed another set of headphones to be swapped out, but still required their non-standard connection to the phone. It wasn't till the iPhone was popular that headphone jacks became standard on most mobile phones.

As for maps, although it didn't have a GPS chip, the K800 could run Yahoo! Maps and probably Google Maps.


Yes, it ran Google Maps. Which is fine. It used to triangulate your position from Cell towers and was vaguely accurate. But it was nowhere near as accurate as a real GPS chip. Also, the map was on a postage stamp sized screen. It was useless.


I used it all the time. There were other phones and smartphones that had a GPS chip and also navigation and offline maps - something that in 2007 was pretty important considering the low internet speeds and high cost of mobile data.


Guess what, they were all niche and most cost as much if not more than the iPhone. The Nokia Maps at the time were truly awful. If you compare the N810 tablet from Nokia (had a GPS chip, circa 2008), the Maps on that were absolute pants and the GPS chip was so unreliable that it was almost completely useless.

Feature wise there were better options for everything that the iPhone could do.


Maybe Not in one package though. And after the iPhone that all changed. So I sit here with my Nexus 4, happy that Apple pushed the envelope in a way in which both Sony-Ericsson and Nokia seemed incapable of.

It's sad that Apple had any kind of success.


Well, I doubt Android would exist in the form it does now. I know that QNX would never have been made in to BlackBerry OS and I suspect Web OS would never have existed. I don't really believe you.


It's probably because all the other manufacturers were competing on features and useful things and thought that making something as useless as the iPhone would be a waste of time and money because, surely, people aren't so shallow. Well, Apple showed them that people are indeed shallow and would rather impress their peers with an expensive useless gimmick and then delude themselves that technically it's the greatest thing ever - what the hell, even Jobs told them so. He wouldn't lie or exaggerate, wouldn't he? And did I mention that I'm finally cool?


Hmm.. you have a lot of anger. I think you confuse you personal hatred for what every other individual's best interests are, and miss the actual truth by a long way. I can't help that you believe what you do, but it's pretty far from reality.

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

"I had an mp3 player on my phone, in fact I could install as many mp3 players as I wanted on my phone.


They weren't "good" though. The MP3 player on the K800 was just about passable. Anything 3rd party was written in J2ME and quality varied greatly. There was no touch screen, the experience was no where near the iPhone at the time.
"

A touch interface is not the end-all, be-all of phone usage. It makes some things easier, and makes other things harder. It's not a net-positive simply to have a touchscreen.

"Also there were already great music phones from Sony (Walkman series) and other manufacturers at the time.


Errr... no. The W850i was total crap. Ex-Wife had one at the time. It barely had any advantages over the K800 and used proprietary connections to the phone, so you either required their headphones or IIRC the Walkman phones had a bodge that allowed another set of headphones to be swapped out, but still required their non-standard connection to the phone. It wasn't till the iPhone was popular that headphone jacks became standard on most mobile phones.
"

The w580i is still one of my favourite phones. It had one of the nicest music players I've ever used, with a very fluid interface. Paired with a proper Bluetooth headphone adapter (as in, one that allowed me to plug in any set of headphones I wanted as it had a proper headphone jack, and a microphone built-in to the BT adapter), it was the perfect music companion. Even had an FM radio for when I wanted to hear the news.

It was especially nice to be able to listen to MP3 without touching the CPU (dedicated DSP for music), prolonging battery life. And the MIDI chipset was a lot of fun to play with to create ringtones. Really miss that on my Android phone (no, I haven't searched the Play Store for a MIDI synth app).
Combined with the Java version of Google Maps, Opera Mini, and support for IMAP IDLE (aka Push E-mail before push e-mail existed), it was the perfect "smartphone" for work. The T9 typing was also very good on that phone.

The 2 major downsides it had were the proprietary connector for headphones/USB/charger and the proprietary storage disk format (M2). But, the BT adapter I had used the same power adapter, so it wasn't that big of a deal (one adapter in the car, one in the house). And I found an M2-SD adapter, so now the 8 GB M2 card sits in a photo frame.

"As for maps, although it didn't have a GPS chip, the K800 could run Yahoo! Maps and probably Google Maps.


Yes, it ran Google Maps. Which is fine. It used to triangulate your position from Cell towers and was vaguely accurate. But it was nowhere near as accurate as a real GPS chip. Also, the map was on a postage stamp sized screen. It was useless.
"

Yet, still more accurate than my brother-in-law's iPhone (original) that always showed us 100m+ away from where we actually were, without using a "you are somewhere in this circle" that the w580i used. Directions from the w580i were more useful than the iPhone, even though the iPhone had a larger screen/map.

The only reason I stopped using the w580i is the battery started to give out, and I was jealous of the hardware keyboard and Android software on my wife's LG Eve. I eventually moved to a Sony Xperia pro, thus starting my love affair with Android. ;) Haven't even considered using an iPhone since.

Edited 2013-12-09 19:39 UTC

Reply Score: 2

pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

Phoenix pretty much nailed it.

I remember when the iPhone 2G was launched and a friend got one. I was green with envy, then I used it for a few hours and it quickly became frustrating because I wasn't able to do most of the things I could do with my old phone. Sure the bigger screen and the touch screen were nice, but they were just superficial features that didn't add anything at the time. Also the price was insane.

Hmm.. you have a lot of anger.


Maybe, because I don't like it when something or someone gets undeserved credit. Jobs was not an innovator but a marketer (let's recognize him just for that), the iPhone was nothing special, it just used a UI paradigm that was not that popular at the time and it worked well because it had barely any features and took all your freedom away (the freedom part is still true).

On the other hand, I think you are trying too hard to seem objective and you are giving credit where no credit is due just to be equidistant.

Reply Score: 2

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

I bought an iPad mini retina because it was better.

I don't really care on the brand, I only care what is best. For a tablet the iPad mini retina was the best and it was on offer in Gibraltar ... I handed over the cash.

I would probably buy an iPhone now, just because tbh I prefer not fucking about to get the simple things working.

Reply Score: 3

arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

Exactly.

If you earn a decent income, even in a country like India, 400USD for an iPad isn't a whole lot, especially for something that can be used for 4+ years. Either you use it, hand it down to someone else in the family, or sell it. It's around $170 more than a Nexus 7, but the apps available on it are a lot more powerful as well.

I still have an iPad 1 that works still works decently, especially now that apple has updated the iTunes store to install an old version of software on older devices based on supported features, instead of just offering the latest version and refusing to install.

Disclosure: I own a Nexus 4 & a Nexus 7 as my main devices, since my team does Android development. Only iOS device I own is the iPad 1.

Reply Score: 3

There is still chance
by Nicram on Fri 6th Dec 2013 10:12 UTC
Nicram
Member since:
2006-01-31

I think the main reasons about why RIM is in that situation has been explained in above comments. You are just right guys. While others like Apple, Samsung etc. started to be "innovative" and sell "new, nice, technology, sexy, cool" stuff, BB become old fashioned company with nice, but old products that were just far away in the past. BB can't be mark of the "back to the past" products. It should become innovative monster. But to do so, it needs QNX.
That is why i think i got different point of view than You Thom. I think QNX do not have to become open source. Opening OS do not always give You chance of survive. Especially when You got Linux, which use GPL license, and BSD that You can grab and use without sharing the effects. Open source OS need coders. A lot of them to develop new things. QNX do not have them so many. Also they would have to learn new environment like Photon.
But i think there is a way of going out of this situation:
- make QNX popular operating system on the desktop and server (by giving free use for home and whole education segment, port firefox, libreoffice and thundebird), leave cheap license for companies that would like to use it (it is secure, faaaast even for old PC, stable!)
- make QNX server edition
- unify mobile devices with desktop one (same calendar on all my devices, same tasks to remember, same contact lists, same messages etc. all in sync served by QNX-server that my company use or i use free version at home).
If i would have such QNX-server at home, my whole family would be happy to use QNX devices, i would feel secure, and we will have reason to unify devices. Same with large companies, that would love such solution, and wouldn't have to trust 3rd party software. And companies would be happy to pay for some PRO version with support and with special features (like more number of users supported, more apps in repo, etc.).
- try to port some most common apps on it (firefox, thb, office, some gps maps, flash, mono, jre, python etc.).
The hardest thing would be preparing some device drivers for desktop hardware like graphic cards or sound cards but... It do not have to hurt. While OS could be closed source i think hardware manufactures would do that. Also, the typical desktop user at school/company do not need something special. Just the desktop with few apps.
It isn't easy plan but i think that it could make RIM quiet strong in the field again, or maybe even win, because free for home desktop OS that is so stable and secure, and also configurable would make a lot of "wow". I must admit that QNX with Photon could be success like MacOS X, because nice unix grounds, and very effective GUI that need only tweaks to make it little more funky ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: There is still chance
by linux-lover on Fri 6th Dec 2013 17:43 UTC in reply to "There is still chance"
linux-lover Member since:
2011-04-25

The reason Thom wants QNX open sourced is not to help BB's chance of survival. He wants QNX to exist after BB dies.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: There is still chance
by lucas_maximus on Fri 6th Dec 2013 19:58 UTC in reply to "RE: There is still chance"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

And how will open source exactly save it?

Unless it is a project with momentum it won't happen.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: There is still chance
by tylerdurden on Fri 6th Dec 2013 21:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: There is still chance"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

It may not help "save" it, but it would certainly help "preserve" it.

If BlackBerry had been smart about it, they would have open sourced QNX from the get go as to leverage the possibility of contributions from 3rd parties which they did not have to pay a salary to. But that's just pure speculation from my part, because there is also the possibility that the QNX code includes enough patented material that open sourcing it would have been either impossible or prohibitively expensive (in relation to the expected revenue savings).

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: There is still chance
by zima on Sun 8th Dec 2013 07:09 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: There is still chance"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Like open sourcing "preserved" Symbian?...

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: There is still chance
by Desiderantes on Sat 7th Dec 2013 00:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: There is still chance"
Desiderantes Member since:
2012-04-14

The Hurd guys would be more than happy to adopt QNX

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: There is still chance
by anda_skoa on Sat 7th Dec 2013 12:42 UTC in reply to "RE: There is still chance"
anda_skoa Member since:
2005-07-07

The reason Thom wants QNX open sourced is not to help BB's chance of survival. He wants QNX to exist after BB dies.


Sure, but QNX is not in any danger independent of BB's well fare.

First, it is a separate, fully self contained, business unit.
It is not merged with BB or replaced parts of BB.

Second, QNX is one of the big players in the embedded space, especially areas which require certifcation (e.g. medical) or the real-time and self-healing capabilities (e.g. automotive).

Assuming the worst fate for BB, it going bankrupt, QNX will just be sold again. Remember that this has already happened twice, without any negative impact on QNX or its products

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: There is still chance
by zima on Sun 8th Dec 2013 07:10 UTC in reply to "RE: There is still chance"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

The reason Thom wants QNX open sourced is not to help BB's chance of survival. He wants QNX to exist after BB dies.

Does Symbian really exist now? (you do remember you can grab Symbian source code, right?)

Reply Score: 2

RE: There is still chance
by BlueofRainbow on Sat 7th Dec 2013 04:53 UTC in reply to "There is still chance"
BlueofRainbow Member since:
2009-01-06

Yes, BlackBerry is not yet dead and there is still a chance.

The survival of BlackBerry will likely depend on effectively articulating a number of strategic components, some of them being:

I) Secure messaging and cloud services accessible via BB10, Android, iOS and WP. It will be though to achieve a balance between bunker-like construction for acceptance by Corporate IT and ease/power of use to become a highly desirable App by end-users.

II) QNX with a much greater visibility when used in its real-time OS mode along with continued role as OS for the devices. It does not need to be open-source although this could potentially help attractive highly creative developers who also like to experiment.

III) Good devices with a focus on the phone format although not excluding forever the larger tablet format. Don't bother with the desktop and traditional server platforms.

IV) A home wireless router with integrated file and print server functionality and offered as a package (hardware and software).

When they were independent, QNX attempted to enter the desktop platform. The only tangible legacy of these efforts appears to be the now famous QNX Demo Floppy.

Aiming again at the general desktop and/or server market will require resources, which BlackBerry no longer has, to develop the necessary device drivers to make it universally installable.

Porting the usual suite of applications (Firefox, Open Office, etc) will simply drown QNX amongst the
zillions of Linux distributions already offering the same.

An integrated, cloud synchronizable home server could be something which may seal some thunder from Android and iOS. A defined hardware would limit the efforts needed for device driver development. And, this device could be X86, X64, or ARM based.

Anyways, what BlackBerry truly needs at this time is the something not yet available/invented that would fill a need while making best use of its current portfolio of hardware and software components.

Reply Score: 1

RE: There is still chance
by fithisux on Sun 8th Dec 2013 16:13 UTC in reply to "There is still chance"
fithisux Member since:
2006-01-22

I agree. Give us QNX on the desktop. Give us an option to help you.

Reply Score: 2

Why this disinterested negativity?
by boblowski on Fri 6th Dec 2013 14:11 UTC
boblowski
Member since:
2007-07-23

This barrage of BlackBerry bashing by people who admit to have never even used one, made me curious. So about two months ago I bought myself a Q10 (coming from a Galaxy S4), morbidly curious, expecting some kind of monstrosity to arrive on my doorstep...

After using it daily for a good six weeks now, I've really come to wonder what is going on here. What is all this negativity about?

The device itself feels solid, everything is responsive, nothing to complain about. Call quality is top. Camera, sound, screen are all decent to good depending on your demands, but certainly not bad. Whether you like a physical keyboard is of course a personal question, on average I think I myself might prefer it over a virtual keyboard.

BlackBerry 10 OS seems to be very well suited as communication tool. BlackBerry has some trouble explaining the (what they call) 'BlackBerry Hub' to customers, but it's really a very nice and convenient integrated communication environment, unifying all the different communication channels and linking all communication history to contacts. For what I need a phone for, it beats anything else I've ever used. Heck, it even beats many of the desktop CRM systems I've used.

Integration and synchronization (ActiveSync) for contacts, calendars, tasks and notes is supported out of the box and works well. The way notes and tasks are integrated in the rest of the system took me a bit of time get used to, but is very helpful and gives a lot of info and insight into my schedule.

The browser is good, every single site I need is rendered well and is usable, including Flash based sites. PDF's and office formats are supported out of the box, and my audio and video is handled correctly as well. Oh, and BBM with integrated voice and video conversations is really pretty neat, especially since it's fully integrated with everything else.

What stood out most for me is the level of usability and the integration of all the different parts. Every item can be tagged, searched, shared with and linked to. For just about every item there are short-cuts and small bits of cleverness to speed-up things to call/text contacts, add quick notes and reminders, change or update appointments, quickly share info. And judging by the amount of smaller and bigger updates I get the impression BlackBerry is putting a lot of effort in building and improving the OS.

Come to think of it, this whole BlackBerry feels more 'Apple' than any other mobile platform on the market, including Apple's iOS itself...

Could it be that most reviewers come from a different background and only focus on the 'smartphone' part of a device, without having any experience with or eye for the 'communicator' part? Or is it really as somebody (was it here on OSnews?) said just a few days ago, that the complete tech-press is nowadays run by 14-year old adolescents that only need 30 seconds to decide something is 'stupid' and 'boring'?

Reply Score: 7

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

No, I thought it was well reviewed at the time of release. See http://www.engadget.com/2013/01/30/blackberry-z10-review/ for a typical release review. Key quote at the end

But, tragically, there's really nothing to love. Nothing in the Z10 stands out as class-leading and, while the BB10 OS does have a lot of charm and brings all the best productivity-focused attributes of BlackBerry to bear in a much more modern package, the app selection is poor and the gestures here aren't so good that they make up for that major shortcoming.



Its also just been too long since the release of any previous good phones from them. The brand lost its cache. And while the phone is good, the app store is filled with even more crap than the play store.

Reply Score: 3

arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

The Q10 was launched in 2013, right? Long after iPhone & Android had displaced Blackberries.

Basically, all their previous attempts to compete with the iPhone & Android were both too late and also extremely poor. The Q10 was one fo the first smartphones from Blackberry that was decent, but their customers had already moved on. If they want people to switch back, they need something that is better, not something that is still only catching up to the competition.

Reply Score: 4

tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

So about two months ago I bought myself a Q10 (coming from a Galaxy S4),


Uh? So you downgraded from an GS4 to a Q10 just because people were saying mean things about BlackBerry... Who the heck does that in real life?

Reply Score: 2

arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

Options:

* He has a lot of money.
* He is curious about tech.
* He's a geek.

I'd get a Q10 and a Lumia 920 if I could justify the cost, just to try them out, as well as test my sites on them.

Reply Score: 4

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

The device itself feels solid, everything is responsive, nothing to complain about. Call quality is top. Camera, sound, screen are all decent to good depending on your demands, but certainly not bad.


Both the Q10 and the Z10 are very solid devices running a still young but extremely well executed OS. No argument there.

BlackBerry 10 OS seems to be very well suited as communication tool. BlackBerry has some trouble explaining the (what they call) 'BlackBerry Hub' to customers, but it's really a very nice and convenient integrated communication environment, unifying all the different communication channels and linking all communication history to contacts.


No arguments here either - I have a friend with a Z10 and the "hub" is an absolutely killer feature. Rim did this particular thing better than anyone who has tried it before.

The browser is good, every single site I need is rendered well and is usable, including Flash based sites. PDF's and office formats are supported out of the box, and my audio and video is handled correctly as well. Oh, and BBM with integrated voice and video conversations is really pretty neat, especially since it's fully integrated with everything else.


Also agreed. I think the browser could use a little refinement, but overall it is on par with mobile Safari and Chrome on Android.

What stood out most for me is the level of usability and the integration of all the different parts. Every item can be tagged, searched, shared with and linked to.


Yep. It really is well designed and though out at the OS level.

Could it be that most reviewers come from a different background and only focus on the 'smartphone' part of a device, without having any experience with or eye for the 'communicator' part?


Actually the device was, for the most part, very favorably reviewed as far as that goes - most reviews I read hit the same points you are bringing up...

So why didn't it work out? Well it is all the things you are leaving out...

1. Apps. Apps. There are none to speak of (or at least worth speaking of). Being able to sideload Android stuff is a great extra, but like it or not the majority of consumers have moved on from that. They want an app store that has what they want in it. BB's app store is filled with huge amounts of low quality crap and very little to make wadding through it worth while... This one is number one because it can't be stressed enough, smartphones live or die on their app economy. Like it or not they are no longer just communication devices - they are social networking devices. Not in the sense of things like Facebook or what-ever, I mean literally - smartphones are primarily used to enable applications of network effect. People buy them, in part, for the promise of future compatibility with their friends and colleagues. If your app store is not getting the tier one apps everyone else is using when they come out, you are doomed.

2. Business focus. They really had to play this card, as it was their only card to play, but they primarily marketed to businesses. Thing is the landscape has changed in the last few years... Businesses, for the most part, don't decide what cellphone their users' are going to use. BYOD took off like a rocket (for various reasons benefiting both parties in the equation) and it makes little sense to market you devices to businesses when they are in fact no longer really buying them. Sure, lots of them end up being utilized for business use, but it is straight up general consumers doing the buying - and they are buying them for the consumer features...

3. No diversity. They had huge amounts of variable revenue, but it was caught up in a rapidly shrinking customer base... Rim simply wasn't financially capable of doing what Microsoft is doing, because they don't have alternative revenue streams. Microsoft can fight a long protracted battle and they can afford to make little or no money in mobile for years if they have to - they have other business lines that make lots of $$$...

4. Poor strategy. BB launched their counter attack with a tablet??? At the time tablets were almost purely a consumer oriented item. A business first company with business first ethos trying to sell tablets into a market that had not figured out what to do with them yet... Bad move - they should have attacked with a phone first, they may have gotten more traction. That is just conjecture on my part, but the Z10 released when the playbook came out (before most of their business customers fleed) might have worked...

5. Mindshare. No solution to this one. They simply waited too long. It is really hard to fight the kind of momentum Apple and Google built up with their stuff. Thing is though iOS and Android weren't really their biggest problem - it was Microsoft. I don't believe BB had any hope of ever gaining enough market share to overtake Apple or Google, but they were really in a battle for 3rd place - and I don't think there will be enough money in the "rest" of the market to support more than one big player for a long time. Microsoft is what killed them in the end...

Reply Score: 6

slashdev Member since:
2006-05-14

I agree with this 100%, BB's biggest rival wasnt iOS or Android, it was Microsoft.

Anyway, as a BB10 developer, Blackberry was doing everything right on the SDK side, their platform SDK was amazing. It supported all the major languages (Java, C++, Flash, HTML/JS...and even Android!), it was clean and fast. It ran on Linux, Windows, Mac, etc.


My .02 cents on one simple thing i thought they were going to do to deal with the "app gap". I thought RIM was going to allow the google play store on their devices. I know that sounds "crazy" but again, i dont think android/iOS is their biggest issue. BB10 has this great feature, where you can have multiple workspaces, one for personal applications and data, and "work/corporate" spaces, that are controlled by your company IT department. If they set it up to where your google play store apps were sandboxed as well...either only available on the "personal" workspace area OR better yet create a third workspace thats just for android applications that has limited access and communication (or maybe none) with the personal side...and NO access to the corporate workspaces....i think that would have really steamed the flow of users who just needed their favorite android podcatcher or todo list app, or little time-sink game. They could have also positioned themselves as the "secure" way to use android applications....taking a little jab at google. And before you say google charges for the play store...RIM/Blackberry could have charged extra for this feature, making it cost neutral for them (How does $30 bucks sound to allow google play store compad?...).

Just an aside, B10 was almost there, the early beta playbook software with android compatibility allowed for you to install the google play store and install google apps. RIM removed play store compatibility for the final release. Though you could still "sideload" (using a web app provided by RIM) android apps...which you can to this day btw I dont know if the full release of BB10 on the Q10, Z10 allow it though, maybe someone who owns them can chime in.

Reply Score: 1

arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

So, let me get this straight, the only reason you bought the Q10 was because people were criticizing it.

You didn't buy it because it was a great phone, or because a Blackberry ad impressed you with some unique feature of the phone. You bought it because you were curious.

Now, how many other people would do that? Do you think that Blackberry can survive on the curiosity of a few geeks like us? And that is the reason that RIM is failing, it has failed to give a convincing reason to people to buy a blackberry.

Reply Score: 3

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

This barrage of BlackBerry bashing by people who admit to have never even used one, made me curious. So about two months ago I bought myself a Q10 (coming from a Galaxy S4), morbidly curious, expecting some kind of monstrosity to arrive on my doorstep...

After using it daily for a good six weeks now, I've really come to wonder what is going on here. What is all this negativity about?


Two main reasons, the first and most obvious being wishful thinking/volunteer-astroturfing by iFanboys - to be expected since most iFanboys are also anti-fanboys of any product that isn't made by Apple. They do the same thing whenever Windows Phone is mentioned, and they did the same in the past with webOS.

Second is the nature of the "mobile enthusiast" community in general, it's nothing more than the "kiddy table" of the IT world. It's dominated by people who lack the skills/experience/wits to properly grasp traditional computer technology* - instead they gravitate towards mobile because it lets them pretend to be technology experts without having to actually learn anything (in other words, poseurs & wannabes). So they're fundamentally incapable of appreciating the useful features of BB10, or any features that involve a learning curve more complex than "tap & drool".

*This becomes especially obvious when you start searching for how-to guides on doing anything remotely technical with mobile devices. Want to find out how to make your calendar app use your own self-hosted CalDav server? If you're lucky, you might eventually stumble across the instructions amongst the hundreds/thousands of guides for tasks that are similar, but don't really need a how-to guide to begin with (like connecting to a Google calendar account).

Reply Score: 3

Comment by nagerst
by nagerst on Fri 6th Dec 2013 14:18 UTC
nagerst
Member since:
2013-11-07

Even if BlackBerry fails they are pretty sure to spin off QNX before that happens as it is an cash cow.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by nagerst
by MOS6510 on Fri 6th Dec 2013 15:30 UTC in reply to "Comment by nagerst"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Why would they get rid of a cash cow? If it is one: spin off everything else.

If they can´t make money selling phones they should very seriously consider stop making them.

QNX is a solid product. Why not take that as a basis to provide services and products (that aren´t mobile phones).

The mobile phone battlefield has changed. iOS sells itself, Android has Samsung´s marketing budget + a whole range of cheap phones, Windows Phone has Microsoft behind it. So what has BlackBerry going for it? Their phones aren´t bad, even quite good, but they don´t show up on anyone´s option list. They are a non-consideration.

The rare occasion I see a BlackBerry it´s not even a new model, but still a previous generation (i.e. non-QNX). I don´t know how it happened so quick, but the general public has all but forgotten about BlackBerry.

Maybe they should do a Nokia: sell their phone stuff to the highest bidder and continue with other stuff, like QNX.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by nagerst
by jared_wilkes on Fri 6th Dec 2013 16:59 UTC in reply to "Comment by nagerst"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

QNX was purchased for $200 million. It's responsible for no more than $40 million in annual revenue. Substantially less profit. You have a different idea as to what is a cash cow than I.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by nagerst
by tylerdurden on Fri 6th Dec 2013 17:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by nagerst"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Cows are heavy and they sink in the mud, maybe that's why some confuse the term "cash cow" with "sinking ship?"

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by nagerst
by jared_wilkes on Fri 6th Dec 2013 18:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by nagerst"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Total annual QNX revenue is equal to about 70,000 iPhone sales for some further perspective.

Edited 2013-12-06 18:51 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by nagerst
by BallmerKnowsBest on Tue 10th Dec 2013 16:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by nagerst"
BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

Total annual QNX revenue is equal to about 70,000 iPhone sales for some further perspective.


And yet, if QNX were to disappear over night it would have a much larger impact than if the same were to happen to iOS (good luck trying to run an automated assembly line off an iProduct, not that Apple's "serious" OS would handle it much better).

If your goal was to demonstrate that Apple products are truly pathetic in terms of cost-benefit, then you've succeeded spectacularly.

Reply Score: 2

Won't miss it.
by cmost on Sat 7th Dec 2013 19:30 UTC
cmost
Member since:
2006-07-16

Blackberry, like a lot of tech companies, fills a niche until something supersedes it. In this case, the iPhone and now the explosion of cheap yet powerful Android phones have rendered Blackberry and its unique set of apps and features all but obsolete. It wasn't that long ago when Palm Pilots ruled the day. Now, seeing one out in the wild is as rare as seeing Big Foot. Things come and they go.

Reply Score: 4

Not dead yet ?
by Lennie on Sat 7th Dec 2013 22:15 UTC
Lennie
Member since:
2007-09-22

Statcounter says Blackberry has more users than WindowsPhone:

http://gs.statcounter.com/#mobile_os-ww-monthly-201211-201311

Reply Score: 2

RE: Not dead yet ?
by zima on Sun 8th Dec 2013 07:17 UTC in reply to "Not dead yet ?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Too bad virtually all of that is almost certainly the "classic" BB OS...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Not dead yet ?
by Lennie on Sun 8th Dec 2013 14:06 UTC in reply to "RE: Not dead yet ?"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Thom on this site claimed 25% of Windows Phone is also old Windows Phone 7.

Also pretty bad.

Android 2.3 is also at 25% btw:
http://www.appbrain.com/stats/top-android-sdk-versions

So not all that uncommon.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Not dead yet ?
by zima on Tue 10th Dec 2013 01:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Not dead yet ?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Android 2.3 and WinPhone7 mostly belong to current ecosystem. Old BB ...not so much; so the situation is worse in its case.

Reply Score: 2