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http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-101...orsPicksArea.0 I LOVE my BlackBerry, I really do, but I fear with each passing day ... General Blackberry forum

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    conker's Avatar
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    RIM should find a way to license Android

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    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-101...orsPicksArea.0

    I LOVE my BlackBerry, I really do, but I fear with each passing day RIM devices are falling further and further behind because of their dinosaur OS. Everyone knows how large and supportive the software community for iPhone is, and it will be the same for Android. The strength of a platform depends on it's community, and I fear the BB software community is shrinking.

    In my ideal world, RIM would adopt Android but keep all the same functionality that we all know, expect and love from a BlackBerry device. This will prepare them for the future. Right now, they have a legacy platform that feels like a leaking dike patched with band-aids

    Google has proven that with a top-tier engineering team they can launch scalable platforms. Just think about what they have done recently with their entire platform: Web services, GMail, Google Docs, Chrome, Android, etc. - it's incredible. I don't have any confidence in the RIM OS being able to thrive when competing with a built from scratch OS that is open to the community. RIM is going to go the way of Palm if it maintains the current strategy.

    My friend, who recently bought the G1 - mainly to tinker with, had this to say today after I sent him the above link:

    "Yeah I'm reporting bugs and requesting enhancements already - and they are responding to it. First time I've ever felt a mobile platform cared about me. It's an open bug database .. you comment, they comment, they fix."

    It's this kind of support, and software development methodology that is going to draw developers, and as a consequence, consumers to the Android platform.

    Right now, I give Android the best chance of being able to deliver functionality that closely matches the BB. The iPhone - bleh - it will always be prioritized for the llamas.

    Why not adopt the same OS and take advantage of all that comes and is coming with the platform?

    -c
    Last edited by conker; 12-19-2008 at 08:16 PM.
    NOT posted from an iPhone

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    I am a big advocate of open source.

    From an active developers standpoint, I find it quite stimulating and exciting. I own a G1, and a have found the Android Software Stack to be very feature laden for a first gen version. I'm also actively involved with the OpenMoko project, which is a GNU Linux based open source smartphone. The HTC built NeoRunner smartphone I use to test my work has a lot of potential.

    That said, I also believe that RIM and the BlackBerry Platform is in no danger from this sector anytime soon. Coming from a completely different direction, with a very strong track record and history with the large scale corporations that are the backbone of America, RIM is doing very well. Yes as they continue to penetrate the public sector, they face some very serious competition. However that said, it's just a part of RIM's revenue stream. And it's this very subset of the business that is causing RIM's software community to grow, not shrink as you suggest. One need only to review the home page here on PinStack to witness and read about all the new applications that are exploding onto the scene. At no time in the past has the BlackBerry platform been more vibrant, alive and growing.

    This concept of "cloud computing" while certainly a developing force, is very much in it's infancy. There is a lot to be done yet, a lot of potential to be realized as Netbooks as well as Smartphones continue gain a large share of the portable communications and computing sector.

    There is plenty of room for everyone at this point and frankly I think the competition is good for all.

    Cheers...


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    Thanks for the educated response. I have posted on other sites, and the responses are to the effect: "Android sucks"

    I know RIM is listening, and trying to entice developers, and make their platform more development friendly, launching a new store, touch-screen phone, etc. Yes, competition is very good, and will push them forward.
    NOT posted from an iPhone

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    I feel like Archer here already summed up everything i was going to answer to the OP.

    I also truly believe that the Blackberry Platform is in no danger in the near future.
    Indeed the Open Source community is hard at work on projects like Android and OpenMoko that Archer mentioned - which by the way is definitely worth a look - but RIM is and has always been axed towards enterprise users.
    No corporation would ever deploy an open source software based phone. Period.
    That would simply go against every security rule there is.

    As far as RIM penetrating the public sector they are definitely working hard on this and are, in my opinion, succeeding.
    Yes,
    RIM devices are falling further and further behind because of their dinosaur OS
    , but this same dinosaur OS could very well be a stepping stone to something greater.
    Like i mentioned in another thread, BB smartphones have the horsepower and the technology needed to support a REVOLUTIONARY OS that could blow all the competition away. RIM just needs to work on it. Do they NEED to ? I dont think so.

    Take Nokia for exemple and their S60 OS. Has it been improved over the past years ? Barely. Does it need to be ? Hmm a little.

    RIM is working the way of Evolution and not Revolution.

    I dont know which way is the Best but RIM is definitely not falling behind. Trust me on this

    That said, i am a very big fan of the Android project and I wish them the best of luck and I, too would see a potential agreement between RIM and Android to be in RIM's favor but only towards their consumer market.
    The corporations which are what made RIM need the OS we all know and love .

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    Quote Originally Posted by conker View Post
    Thanks for the educated response.
    I too enjoyed your well written post with some very valid points. It is this type of exchange of viewpoints and opinions that I enjoy.

    Cheers...


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    I read a while back that VMWare (makers of software that lets you run virtual machines with different operating systems on Windows machines) was planning on developing something similar for mobile devices. It would be interesting to see if they develop something that would let Andriod OS run inside a BB (similar to the Blackberry Application Suite demo that showed up on the net a few days back). Although I'd be hard-pressed to believe a VMWare mobile app would work well since BB's tend to suffer from spinning hourglasses as it is without the resources and memory of a substructure and then an application/OS running on top of it.

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    The contributors to this thread have lucidly and eloquently expressed an accurate assessment of RIM's standing in the current market, and I'm very impressed

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    I don't see Android as a threat to RIM. RIM's foundation is on big business companies who need a solid work phone without the priority of eye candy. Android looks great, but is it really as secure as a BlackBerry? As reliable?

    ~via BB (wap.pinstack.com)~

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    To add to my previous post, Android is a great idea as an OS. It's open source project, meaning bugs that are found are fixed quickly. Although this might not be the case with RIM, its forte is shown through synching emails, a reliable operating system, and a security track record that is brilliant. RIM isn't about how great the integrated music player is, or how brilliant the camera is, but how well it performs out there in the business world.

    ~via BB (wap.pinstack.com)~

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    I love threads like this. GREAT GREAT thread.

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    I agree

    ~via BB (wap.pinstack.com)~

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingrykku27 View Post
    To add to my previous post, Android is a great idea as an OS. It's open source project, meaning bugs that are found are fixed quickly. Although this might not be the case with RIM, its forte is shown through synching emails, a reliable operating system, and a security track record that is brilliant. RIM isn't about how great the integrated music player is, or how brilliant the camera is, but how well it performs out there in the business world.

    ~via BB (wap.pinstack.com)~
    The main point behind my post was preparation for the future and scalability. There is nothing on the Android phone that I want right now. I simply don't want RIM to fall further and further behind, while platforms like Android and iPhone take more and more consumer AND developer market share away, because their platforms are newer and are more nimble. The "not invented here" mentality works for some - like Apple and Microsoft, but RIM is certainly neither of those companies.

    Many here and on other forums have replied to my post by using the "RIM has the corporate market" argument and does not need to change. That kind of thinking is how companies become less and less relevant and fail. Look at the American auto industry. It's true, BB's seem entrenched in the corporate world, but why should that be enough or even relevant when the line dividing business and consumer is more and more blurred with these devices? As new corporations evaluate, or re-evaluate their smart phone platform of choice they now have other legitimate platforms to consider, and pure business consideration is no longer the tipping point.

    We should all want RIM to expand into other markets, as they are trying to do. My fear is that their platform will prevent them from being able to keep up with the Apple's and Android's of the world. As a longtime software developer, it's painful watching how obviously dated their OS is, how dated their development processes are and how they are struggling to adapt and catch up:
    + Luanch of their "store"
    + Luanch of a touch-screen device
    + Widely publicized and marketed developer conference (I wonder what attendance was like in comparison to developer conferences put on by Apple and Google)
    + Email bbsuggestions@rim.com ? Where is the forum where I can "talk" to developers, and really feel like they are listening? I might as well drop a letter to them in a mailbox.
    + Archaic OS update process that always has one crossing one's fingers
    + No over the air update process
    + Lack of release notes with each OS
    + Frequent beta releases of OS's

    I TOTALLY agree, nerds do not represent the majority, and this statement helped me realize why people were misunderstanding my original post. Again, the lines are being blurred - actually are now. It is simply my opinion that given their current OS platform, they simply will not be able to remain competitive on the consumer side of things, while the others will be able to advance at a much quicker pace, distancing themselves, while at the same time being able to make incremental or significant advances (really their choice depending on strategy and where the market is going) towards matching RIM's business functionality.

    The comment about Microsoft developers is a good one. I am not sure how to respond to that. All I can say is that it is certainly better to have an army of developers behind your platform, then a shrinking one. iPhone had 10,000 applications launched for their phone last month. You cannot ignore that. Other manufacturers are and have decided to launch new phones with the Android platform. Why wouldn't they? It's a very attractive long term investment. The manufacturer does not have to invest in an "invented here" software development team, they have access to a large population of skilled developers, can leverage the Android store (which will have a monetization strategy as it grows) and can market their phones towards an ever increasing consumer base of Google fans.

    I just want RIM to adopt a strategy that will allow them to stay relevant and competitive.

    Thank you all for the insightful discussion.

    -c
    Last edited by conker; 12-22-2008 at 02:36 PM.
    NOT posted from an iPhone

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    you have to look at the security side, they had to patch android how many times now?
    My blackberry is anti-Obama Bin Llama

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    Quote Originally Posted by conker View Post
    The main point behind my post was preparation for the future and scalability. There is nothing on the Android phone that I want right now. I simply don't want RIM to fall further and further behind, while platforms like Android and iPhone take more and more consumer AND developer market share away, because their platforms are newer and are more nimble. The "not invented here" mentality works for some - like Apple and Microsoft, but RIM is certainly neither of those companies.
    Kudos for the exemplary way you made your points.

    For sake of conversation, when we set the specifics aside for a moment, I'm concerned about the growing frequency and depth of the rumor which has Microsoft buying RIM.

    Your thoughts?

    Cheers...


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    Quote Originally Posted by conker View Post
    The main point behind my post was preparation for the future and scalability...I simply don't want RIM to fall further and further behind, while platforms like Android and iPhone take more and more consumer AND developer market share away...

    Many here and on other forums have replied to my post by using the "RIM has the corporate market" argument and des not need to change. That kind of thinking is how companies become less and less relevant and fail. Look at the American auto industry. It's true, BB's seem entrenched in the corporate world, but why should that be enough or even relevant when the line dividing business and consumer is more and more blurred with these devices? As new corporations evaluate, or re-evaluate their smart platform of choice they now have other legitimate platforms to consider, and pure business consideration is no longer the tipping point.
    I share these concerns. Even if it is meant to be a business device the fact that employees are increasingly tied to these 24/7 means they have to address more than business concerns. The length of time it took to get a camera on board due to business security fears despite demand for it from users is part of the vulnerability RIM faces as it tries to balance business needs with consumer wants. Have they already found that balance and are prepared to move aggessively forward? I see signs saying both that they have and that they haven't.

    When ever I look at my BB struggling and showing me a spinning hourglass because I've loaded up more than a few applications I'm left to wonder if anyone at RIM actually uses third party applications when they test the robustness of their processor and memory system. I'm also left to wonder this when I see applications still can't be installed and run from the SD card so that the onboard memory can be used just as memory to run applications. The fact that I have to choose to delete 'unneeded' OS modules and themes to make space to run other applications smoothly is not a good sign that RIM is thinking of consumers needs or wants. I can run applications, or I can leave the themes intact to be able to switch themes and try out new ones. If I try to do both I can expect to see my little friend (the hourglass) regularly and even then I face the possibility of losing infromation to memory cleaning. Nice.

    Rim has done a good job addressing business needs and is continuing to do so - they recently acquired Chalk which will no doubt add functionality in the future, and they also are addressing the need to integrate with Active Directory. But it's not uncommon for employees to either want to find a way to bypass security so they can use their devices to surf, add third party apps, etc. It's also not uncommon for users (business and consumers) to have a second phone that has features the RIM doesn't because they either need those functions too, or want them.

    A few years back the buzz word was convergence, and a phone that offers the best of not both, but all worlds will clearly come out the leader. This could easily be RIM if they choose to be more than business oriented. Given their roots and focus for so many years, this will require a change in thinking. Apparently not just from the company, but from some of their users as well.


    Quote Originally Posted by conker View Post
    We should all want RIM to expand into other markets, as they are trying to do...As a longtime software developer, it's painful watching how obviously dated their OS is, how dated their development processes are and how they are struggling to adapt and catch up:
    + Luanch of their "store"
    ...
    + Archaic OS update process that always has one crossing one's fingers
    ...
    + Lack of release notes with each OS
    + Frequent beta releases of OS's
    There'd been another post about people 'bashing' the Storm just being people who didn't understand you could just do an update to a newer OS to get functionality. I'd mentioned there that the update process having a risk factor involved wasn't an acceptable risk for consumers.

    In the old days if you were to 'flash' firmware for an update on electronic devices you risked killing the device if there were problems during the process, and it was generally dead for good. Well, on RIM devices it is possible to bring them back to life, though largely through methods developed by users - the actual DM will leave it dead most of the time if the user doesn't resort to other methods. In the old days you would also try to avoid flashing an electronic device since it is risky, but the OS upgrades require consumers, not trained techs, to go through this process. Unfortunately too many people either have issues during the upgrade itself, or with getting data back onto the device afterwards. This is something a consumer should NEVER have to worry about.

    As far as the beta releases and release notes they could go a long way to being more consumer friendly there too. People again are going through the upgrade process to try to solve issues without being sure if the version they're upgrading to will resolve that issue or not, since there are no release notes. Part of the reason they upgrade is because there are often beta builds several iterations in advance of the official ones being supported by their or any other carrier. Another reason they do this is some of the OSes released do things like drop calls or not ring at all, which makes upgrading to try to solve these issues an enticing option.

    We're lucky in that there are plenty of helpful forums where we can get info and help from one another, but wouldn't it be lovely if RIM ever decided to be that helpful themselves or created a risk-free process that worked 100% of the time?


    Quote Originally Posted by conker View Post
    I TOTALLY agree, nerds do not represent the majority, and this statement helped me realize why people were misunderstanding my original post. Again, the lines are being blurred - actually are now. It is simply my opinion that given their current OS platform, they simply will not be able to remain competitive on the consumer side of things, while the others will be able to advance at a much quicker pace, distancing themselves, while at the same time being able to make incremental or significant advances (really their choice depending on strategy and where the market is going) towards matching RIM's business functionality.
    A few days ago I read an article about RIM hiring 1250 new employees, the majority of which are to be in the Research and Development department at company HQ

    http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=1053725

    I'm hoping they'll be doing two main things - re-examining the OS to make it more efficient and modular (with OS 4.5 more modules seem to be interdependent - you used to be able to remove all but one Dimension theme and still use third party themes, now you need all 4 Dimension themes to run any third party themes), and hopefully focus more on adapting to some of the consumer needs without sacrificing the business needs.


    Quote Originally Posted by conker View Post
    The comment about Microsoft developers is a good one. I am not sure how to respond to that. All I can say is that it is certainly better to have an army of developers behind your platform, then a shrinking one...
    RIM does make it hard for developers in some ways (well, actually many ways like the lack of adequate documentation, and simulators that are far from accurate), but there are also some benefits to developing on a BB platform, such as device dependent PIN numbers which make it harder for pirates to freely pirate software that uses serial numbers (though theme developers have no protection). And they are slowly opening up more API's (like the camera JSR that was finally opened up in JDE 4.6 I think it was) that will allow for more consumer friendly apps.


    Quote Originally Posted by conker View Post
    I just want RIM to adopt a strategy that will allow them to stay relevant and competitive.
    Agreed. I don't think some of the people reading this and other posts understand this. We're not bashing RIM. We like RIM and want them to succeed and not just remain relevant, but be leaders in the field. Unfortunately at times I see the same lack of speed or willingness to change and respond to the marketplace that I saw in Palm years back. One the one hand they are making changes, on the other it's seems there's an unwillingness to change from the old ways. I, for one, will be around to see what RIM does through the years, other consumers won't have the patience to do so. I can't really blame them for that since I think people should be able to buy devices that work to their satisfaction without tinkering.


    Quote Originally Posted by conker View Post
    Thank you all for the insightful discussion.

    -c
    Thank you for your lucid comments.

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