1. Caymancroc's Avatar

    By Galen Gruman

    For a good year, conventional wisdom has said that Research in Motion's BlackBerry platform would die some time in 2013, due to several years of self-inflicted wounds. The much-delayed BlackBerry 10 platform, now due in February, would come much too late to matter, most analysts (myself included) argued. On its third try, we believed, Microsoft's Windows Phone would soak up the shrinking part of the smartphone market not claimed by smartphones running Google's Android or by Apple's iPhone. After all, Microsoft often takes three times to get it right, and Windows Phone 8's debut this month meant BlackBerry 10's arrival would simply be too late, even if it ended up being a good platform.

    But Windows Phone 8 is not a compelling mobile platform. Yes, it finally adds basic enterprise security compatibility, but it remains a simplistic mobile operating system that suffers from many UI flaws under its sleek tile-based exterior. It might appeal to people who don't want a complex device, but you have to wonder how much of that population would want any smartphone, especially given the $30 to $50 monthly data cost of a smartphone. And let's be honest, Android and iOS are not that complex out of the box.

    I want to be crystal clear: I have no idea whether BlackBerry 10 will be a smartphone platform that people want. The demos suggest something nice, but that's what demos are designed to do. RIM has kept a very tight rein on what it's shown, so no independent observer really knows how the platform as a whole hangs together. RIM's history with its two previous savior products -- BlackBerry OS 7 and the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet -- doesn't provide much encouragement.

    But there's a chance that BlackBerry 10 will be good and compelling to those not wed to Android (which accounts for about 70 percent of smartphones sold) and the iPhone (which accounts for most of the rest). If it is, those nonaligned users could easily gravitate to it. If you look at the smartphone sales stats, you'll see that BlackBerry accounts for 2 to 4 percent of smartphones sold, depending on the market and who's counting; Windows Phone 7.x accounts for about the same percentage. I simply don't see Windows Phone 8 increasing Microsoft's market share.

    BlackBerry 10 should appeal to the BlackBerry diehards, and it may appeal to the Windows Phone 7 crowd who discovered this year that their smartphones can't run Windows Phone 8 and will need a new device to get a more modern mobile OS. That creates the opening for a new device to run something else. There's also a portion of the Android market that is weakly aligned; whereas Samsung has created a strong following la Apple, the more consumer-oriented HTC has not done so, and many of its sales seem to be based on "free" devices sold under carrier contracts. For those that chose "free" rather than Android specifically, a revitalized BlackBerry could hold appeal, assuming a low-cost model is available.

    The only other mobile OSes that might appeal to the nonaligned crowd are Nokia's Series 40 OS-based Asha line, which is sold in developing markets (aka the Third World) as a stepping-stone product, and Samsung's Bada OS, which has a similar target market. Nokia doesn't sell Asha devices in North America, Europe, or the richer Asian countries, and Samsung last January decided to merge Bada (sold in parts of Europe as a low-cost device, as well as in developing countries) with the open source Tizen, one of a never-ending parade of open source mobile platforms that goes nowhere. Neither is really a factor.

    Ironically, Windows Phone 8's strengths seem to fit the same not-quite-a-smartphone market as Bada and Asha, so perhaps Microsoft should rethink Windows Phone 8 along those lines, working with Nokia, HTC, and others to develop low-cost smartphones running Windows Phone. More irony: RIM tried the same strategy with BlackBerry OS 7, but it didn't work. BlackBerry isn't good at much beyond just messaging, and even users in developing countries want some Web, media, and app capabilities -- they may be poor, but they aspire to more. That may explain why even in developing countries, the momentum is swinging very strongly toward Android adoption, with the iPhone appealing to the richer segments in those countries.

    Even if Windows Phone 8 has given BlackBerry an opening to reclaim some of the smartphone market, there's no guarantee that the BlackBerry will do better than Windows Phone. It may end up a two-platform world -- Android and iOS -- when all is said and done. Certainly, it's hard to believe that Windows Phone 8 has much of a chance, especially given how unpopular Windows 8 and Windows RT are. If there is to be a third major player, at this point, BlackBerry is the only candidate on deck.

    This article, "Microsoft's missteps give BlackBerry a new shot at life," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Galen Gruman's Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile technology at InfoWorld.com. Follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter at MobileGalen. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.
    BBMINI likes this.
    11-28-12 04:04 AM
  2. jasonvan9's Avatar
    This thread will not exist for BB10 owners, because of the power of using the microkernel OS.... our phones will not randomly freeze up, they will not shut themselves off without warning... this is THE advantage of QNX that a Hybrid Kernel does not have (WP8), say goodbye to the spinning clock come Jan. 30th, 2013!
    bluetroll likes this.
    11-28-12 06:39 AM
  3. kill_9's Avatar
    This thread will not exist for BB10 owners, because of the power of using the microkernel OS.... our phones will not randomly freeze up, they will not shut themselves off without warning... this is THE advantage of QNX that a Hybrid Kernel does not have (WP8), say goodbye to the spinning clock come Jan. 30th, 2013!
    While in theory a micro-kernel-based operating system will not bring the entire system to its knees if an application or subsystem fails, reality says certain subsystems can effectively render a device running a micro-kernel operating system unusable without a reboot unless there is a mechanism by which the user can restart the failed subsystem. The micro-kernel nature of QNX was supposed to allow rapid system software development for BlackBerry Tablet OS but has never materialized; the software developers probably lack the knowledge to exploit the micro-kernel architecture of BlackBerry Tablet OS, otherwise we would have seen frequent releases and feature improvements with BlackBerry Tablet OS during the past 2 years.
    11-28-12 06:54 AM
  4. anon1727506's Avatar
    I can tell you that I have had to do a hard rest of my PlayBook on several occasions - so I wouldn't go around saying that "our phones will not randomly freeze up". Granted it might be once every two months, noting like the daily reboots my STORM went through.
    redk and dragonx6 like this.
    11-28-12 09:07 AM
  5. dragonx6's Avatar
    I agree with scalemaster. My playbook has frozen a couple times but thats less than once a week and honestly i love that. It happens so far off compared to my storm 2 that i dont really notice.
    11-28-12 09:50 AM
  6. redk's Avatar
    As much as I love my playbook I have to admit it has frozen up on me occasionally with the need for a hard reset. I don't mind it too much because its not the often though.
    11-28-12 10:04 AM
  7. big bb's Avatar
    I have had my PlayBook freeze only about 3 time since i got it, The Dev Alpha has not froze once since it got the BlackBerry 10 update in September and i have done a lot to it i can make any app freeze or crash but not the OS.
    11-28-12 11:25 AM
  8. skyrocket9's Avatar
    I have had my 32gb pb freeze aswel several times and had to hard reboot, forget what I was doing... browsing the web or something.
    11-28-12 02:28 PM
  9. eddy_berry's Avatar
    Wow. I guess I'm really lucky then. Either that or really patient. I have only hard restarted it once when I first got it with OS1.0. I'm not even sure I needed to do it. I was still learning to use it. But actually doing it out of necessity? Not once. I have experience short hangups before but never had to wait more than a few seconds for the trouble app to close itself. Other than crappy android apps force closing, much worse before 2.1, I have not had a hang issue with native apps or OS since last spring. If you guys have to hard restart so often I would check the kind of apps you have installed, like clothing, if you haven't used it in a long time, throw it out. Some eat up memory which will cause lag even if they are not being used. Especially bad are android apps. Tried out an android app manager to control that and the amount of memory it used was close to 200mb. Just having it slowed my playbook to a crawl. I wasn't even using it. Horrible. Just an example of apps nobody should need.
    11-28-12 03:47 PM
  10. jasonvan9's Avatar
    Ive had to hard reboot my playbook once on 1.0 after downloading a bad app, and only because i didnt want to wait for it to recover and ive had my playbook since day 1. But i was not talking about our playbooks running playbook OS... Im talking about a BlackBerry 10 device running BlackBerry 10 OS. Its been almost 2 years since the BlackBerry QNX platform was introduced, all of the lessons and beta testing we all have been doing has gone into OS10.

    Im just thinking out loud here, but if we had to hard reboot it ourselves, does that constitute calling it a system crash? These WP8 devices and shutting themselves off and rebooting... If thats a complete system failure, than i dont think any problems we've experienced with our PBs could be called a system crash... Unresponsive, yes... Which could be all down to UI issues, which is all just a stack running on top of the micro kernel OS, which can be debugged and corrected, a complete system crash is harder to debug and could potentially be down to the architecture of the system thus limiting what you can and cannot do
    11-29-12 06:25 PM
  11. johnny_larue's Avatar
    The PlayBook OS has been solid for me except for the browser which can be sluggish and has crashed on me several times. I think the browser could be better, but as it stands it is quite nice.
    11-29-12 06:40 PM
  12. Harborcoat's Avatar
    My PlayBook apps have crashed, but when that happens I swipe up and exit them. I've had my Playbook require a hard reset once I think, but that was on OS 1.0. Compare that to multiple crashes a week on OS7...
    11-29-12 07:07 PM
  13. BBer_Marlin's Avatar
    I believe in blackberry 10, maybe I will try to use some other smart phones, but I still look forward to BB10. : )
    11-29-12 07:32 PM
  14. anon(3310921)'s Avatar
    This Galen Gruman guys has a lot to to say about a phone that's only been available for sale for a couple of weeks now. . .I wouldn't question the popularity of a device till the sale figures are revealed. . .but that's just me. . . but he does make one good point. . ."For those that chose "free" rather than Android specifically, a revitalized BlackBerry could hold appeal, assuming a low-cost model is available." I think a low cost BB10 would DESTROY low cost android devices. . .unfortunately RIM may be to late on that front in the US. . .the emerging markets may be a different story. . . but RIM seems to be determined to get the high end devices out global first. . .here's hoping the low end gets out there soon. . .RIM will need it!
    11-29-12 09:50 PM

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