1. the_sleuth's Avatar
    This story appeared on Network World at
    7 Solid Reasons to Keep the Faith in RIM, BlackBerry

    7 Solid Reasons to Keep the Faith in RIM, BlackBerry
    By Al Sacco, CIO
    July 21, 2011 05:18 PM ET
    Sponsored by:

    It seems like nobody has anything good to say about BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) these days.

    Analysts, bloggers, journalists, rival device makers, gadget geeks--even RIM shareholders and employees--all seem to have turned a cold shoulder to the struggling Canadian handset maker. Indeed, it's mostly doom and gloom in the tech press when it comes to RIM and BlackBerry today.

    The negativity isn't without reason. RIM is seeing its North American market share drop sharply as smartphone users jump ship for better waters around the Apple/Google/Microsoft/whatever camps. The BlackBerry-maker has toughed out some particularly ugly product launches over the past couple of years. (Think: Storm, Storm2 and, more recently, the Wi-Fi-only BlackBerry PlayBook with no native e-mail or PIM apps.) RIM recently cut as many as 200 jobs in and around its Waterloo, Ontario headquarters. And a number of key staffers, including a former chief marketing officer and senior product manager, have turned tail, leaving RIM shorthanded in its time of trouble.

    These things certainly haven't been good for RIM or the BlackBerry brand. And it's easy to focus on the negative in difficult times. But such a focus only paints one side of the story. I think RIM and its BlackBerry customers still have grounds to remain positive and upbeat. What follows is a quick list of reasons why I still keep a BlackBerry in my pocket--and why I don't see that changing any time soon.

    1) Love that BlackBerry QWERTY Keyboard

    First up, the number one reason I still use a BlackBerry as my "main" smartphone, or my "daily driver:" That QWERTY keyboard.

    I love the BlackBerry "Bold-style" keyboard. And though I've used a variety of handhelds from other manufacturers with similar keypads over the years, I've yet to find one that works better.

    I can practically hear a collective groan from iPhone users who would unequivocally swear they can type just as well on their touch-screen keyboard as I can on my BlackBerry's QWERTY keyboard. Perhaps, but I have found after much experience that I can't type as fast and effectively on any touch-screen keyboard as I can with my BlackBerry keypad. Make no mistake, I have given touch-screen keyboards a fair chance, I own an iPhone, Motorola Atrix, Samsung Focus and a number of additional handhelds with no "physical" QWERTY keyboards.

    I use my BlackBerry almost exclusively for messaging, so the ability to type rapidly and with as few errors as possible is extremely important to me. RIM still makes the best keyboard on a mobile device, and as such, it offers something its rivals can't or at least haven't yet. Until that reality changes, folks like me who want the best messaging device on the market will stick with RIM and BlackBerry.

    2) BlackBerry Battery Life Can't be Beat

    BlackBerry battery life differs with each specific model of RIM handheld; for sure, some BlackBerrys get much more life than others. And some specific software builds provide much more battery life than others when installed on the exact same device. So it can be difficult to accurately quantify BlackBerry battery life.

    But one thing is certain: In general, the average modern BlackBerry battery life is superior to the average battery life of RIM rivals, including Apple's iPhone and Google Android handhelds.

    Just how long your mobile device lasts depends on a variety of factors, including the strength of your wireless network at a given time, the applications and services running on your device, screen brightness and timeout duration, and much more. But I've yet to use any smartphone that offered better battery life than my BlackBerry Bold 9780.

    For example, I'm constantly sending and receiving mail on my BlackBerry and updating my various social networks. And though I carry either my iPhone or my Motorola Atrix, too, I mostly only use those devices to listen to music during my morning and evening commutes, which arent long at all, or access a few apps. Yet my BlackBerry easily outlasts both of these devices day in and day out.

    My example may not exactly be "scientific," but the fact is that my experience with many modern smartphone tells me that in general, most BlackBerry smartphones offer significantly better battery life than many of today's most popular handhelds. And all current BlackBerry smartphones have removable batteries, as well, so you can always swap out a dead one for freshly charged power pack. Not so for the iPhone and other popular handhelds.

    3) BlackBerry Enterprise Security and Manageability

    RIM's near dominance in the enterprise mobility space is slowly eroding, but BlackBerry is still King when it comes to enterprise security and manageability. That's because BlackBerry smartphones are literally designed to work along with RIM's BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), which offers hundreds of IT security safeguards and management features in the form of "IT policies." (RIM even offers a free version of BES, called BES Express, for organizations who don't want to pay the pricey licensing fees for the full version.)

    Sure, many BES-like products and services are available to help secure and manage non-BlackBerry devices, and some of them offer many of the same or similar features found in BES. Many of the most popular non-BlackBerry smartphones can connect to Microsoft's Exchange Server using ActiveSync, as well.

    But since BlackBerrys were designed with security in mind, they're generally easier to manage and control. And they offer the highest level of security, for organizations that may want or need it.

    For example, connecting a new BlackBerry to BES is a breeze, even for newbie administrators. And RIM's Web-based BES management console makes it simple for BlackBerry admins to monitor, manage and wipe BlackBerrys, from wherever they have Internet access. In other words, BlackBerry smartphones are IT friendly. Unfortunately--or fortunately for RIM--the same cannot always be said about the other smartphone platforms, including iOS and Android.

    As long as security remains a priority for organizations and government agencies, and as consumers increasingly become aware of smartphone security threats, RIM's BES will continue to be a much valued enterprise solution.

    4) BlackBerry Messenger and BBM Social

    BlackBerry owners love RIM's proprietary BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) IM app that lets any and all RIM smartphone users shoot messages back and forth without incurring text-message charges from wireless carriers. Though many similar cross-platform IM apps with comparable features exist--Apple even copied RIM when it recently released its iMessage app--none have gained as large and as loyal a user base as BBM.

    RIM knows that BBM is one the BlackBerry platform's strengths and a valuable competitive advantage. It even launched a widespread advertising campaign based entirely on BBM and its various users around the globe. The company also recently released some cool new developer tools and an associated "BBM Social" API that lets software makers integrate their applications with BBM. Very few applications with this BBM social integration are available at this point. (Foursquare recently released a test build of its location-based social networking app with BBM integration.) But I see huge promise in the idea if RIM can convince enough developers that it will be worth the time and effort to build BBM Social features into their apps.

    As such, BBM Social has the potential to make BBM even more attractive to BlackBerry users, while also making the app a stronger, and that could give it a more competitive advantage. BBM Social could even drum up some much needed enthusiasm around BlackBerry app development, which would certainly be a good thing for RIM, BlackBerry and its customers.

    5) Future is Bright for BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet

    Okay, so RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook launch wasn't exactly a study in how to successfully market and release a brand new, potentially groundbreaking product. More specifically, RIM basically launched an unfinished tablet--no cellular connectivity, no native e-mail, etc.--after spending lots of time and bundles of cash hyping the PlayBook up to the masses. Not surprisingly, the tablet was blasted by many influential reviewers, many of whom couldn't seem to stop comparing the PlayBook to Apple's hugely popular iPad. (The fact that RIM took jabs at Apple in its PlayBook ad campaign, stating that "Amateur Hour Is Over," probably didn't help.)

    I believe the BlackBerry PlayBook has a ton of potential. And most of the pieces of the puzzle are there, they're just not in place yet.

    RIM is expected to release native e-mail and personal information management (PIM) apps any day now, which will should make the tablet more attractive to non-BlackBerry smartphone users, who have heretofore been unable to access Web mail via PlayBook without launching a browser first. And the Android App Player for PlayBook, which will allow BlackBerry tablet users to run compatible Android applications, should also be extremely well received.

    When all of these pieces come together, the BlackBerry PlayBook could come out looking rather impressive--and those early negative reviews may prove insignificant.

    6) Seven New Handhelds in 2011, Promise of QNX-Based BlackBerrys

    RIM has been slow to release new BlackBerry handhelds during the past year, but that's all about to change. The Canadian company plans to release at least seven brand new smartphones before the end of 2011, according to its co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, though only one of those devices, the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 has been officially announced.

    Thanks to a variety of leaked confidential materials, it's known that RIM also plans to release a revamped version of it BlackBerry Torch 9800 device, the Torch 9810; and the BlackBerry "Touch" 9850/9860, a new Storm-like device with no physical keyboard, along with a couple of updated BlackBerry Curve devices.

    All seven new devices will presumably run RIM's latest mobile OS, BlackBerry 7, formerly referred to as BlackBerry 6.1. And though BlackBerry 7 honestly doesn't seem all that different from BlackBerry 6, it does pack some cool new features including support for Near Field Communications (NFC) technology, more powerful search capabilities and improved Web browsing, among other things.

    While BlackBerry 7 won't likely draw many smartphone users away from Android devices or their iPhones, it should help to retain current BlackBerry users, since it's certainly a step up from the BlackBerry 6 OS.

    And BlackBerry 7 is really just a building block toward the next major BlackBerry mobile OS, which will be based on a software foundation from QNX Systems. (RIM bought QNX in 2010.) The BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet OS was similarly built on QNX code, and thanks to some help from another recent RIM acquisition, The Astonishing Tribe (TAT), the BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet OS is a much more functional, modern and visually appealing OS than the aging, bland BlackBerry smartphone OS.

    The impressive BlackBerry Tablet OS bodes well for the upcoming, QNX-based BlackBerry smartphone OS. And a more modern BlackBerry handheld OS with a better overall user experience should certainly catch they eyes of gadget geeks and help RIM compete with its major rivals in the smartphone space.

    7) BlackBerry Data Compression

    BlackBerry smartphones employ "DataSmart" technology to compress data sent back and forth between wireless networks and RIM handhelds. DataSmart tech, according to RIM, "works a lot like zipping large files on your computer. When you use data on a BlackBerry smartphone, it's almost as if the data is zipped up before it's sent or received so it's smaller and uses up less of your data plan."

    Most average smartphone users couldn't care less what goes on behind the scenes, as long as their devices work when they need them. But DataSmart technology can actually save BlackBerry users money. And that ought to grab some attention, especially in a time when many unlimited smartphone data plans are being phased out and mobile data use in general is rapidly getting more and more expensive.

    In fact, a RIM-sponsored study by research firm Rysavy Research recently found that BlackBerry users can get two times more Web browsing, four times more e-mail and two times more social networking, than users with "other leading smartphones."

    As more and more individuals and businesses start to feel the effects of cellular data price hikes, the BlackBerry platform, with its DataSmart tech, should become more attractive.

    Bottom line: RIM is, with good reason, struggling right now, but I believe the company can pull itself back up by its metaphorical bootstrap. RIM didn't become one of the world's largest smartphone makers overnight. And similarly, it's foolish to think the company will collapse just because it had a couple of rough years struggling with new challenges.

    RIM still has some fight left in, and I still have faith in RIM.

    Al Sacco covers Mobile and Wireless for CIO.com. Follow Al on Twitter @ASacco. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Al at asacco@cio.com

    All contents copyright 1995-2011 Network World, Inc. Network World
    Last edited by the_sleuth; 07-24-11 at 08:54 PM.
    07-24-11 08:48 PM
  2. Scott8881's Avatar
    Perfectly stated, and my thoughts exactly!


    Sent from my BlackBerry 9650 using Tapatalk
    07-24-11 08:57 PM
  3. Economist101's Avatar
    The only problem is that even if all of these are true, they haven't prevented RIM's current struggles.
    07-24-11 09:00 PM
  4. centsofreason's Avatar
    Uhmm - not for nothing but he lost me on battery life. I thought media use burns through battery faster than receiving e-mails and texts. I could be wrong, but it seemed like he was comparing very different uses.
    psufan32 likes this.
    07-24-11 09:28 PM
  5. gord888's Avatar
    The only problem is that even if all of these are true, they haven't prevented RIM's current struggles.
    I think you missed the point of the article - The author was saying that those 7 reasons will get RIM out of their current struggles. What put them into their current position was clearly stated as a failure to launch decent devices.
    07-24-11 11:17 PM
  6. Thud Hardsmack's Avatar
    Uhmm - not for nothing but he lost me on battery life. I thought media use burns through battery faster than receiving e-mails and texts. I could be wrong, but it seemed like he was comparing very different uses.
    Streaming media is always going to be a greater impact on battery life. However it needs to be considered that when reading and responding to messages whether they be email, IM, or social the screen is lit up. Simply receiving messages uses very little power, although the LED constantly flashing will be a little bit of a drain. Not to mention damn near impossible to ignore.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    07-25-11 12:56 AM
  7. scorpiodsu's Avatar
    The only problem is that even if all of these are true, they haven't prevented RIM's current struggles.
    Please say that again. 5 reasons they listed have always been true about blackberry and haven't stopped the downward spiral.

    1) QWERTY keyboard - Certainly subject to the user. Some love it and many don't care. I assume all those people rushing out to buy Androids and iPhones don't really care

    2) Battery life - Sounds like dumb and dumber touting battery life when a lot of people rather a device with more functionality and less battery life. I rather have an iPhone 4 that gets me through the day that any blackberry even if it gets through the week on a charge. Let's see how battery life is on QNX when people are actually doing more than just texting on their blackberries.

    3) Blackberry Enterprise Security - How is this relevant to BIS users?

    4) BBM - Don't care for single platform messaging clients. No longer a reason to stick with a brand.

    5) Future is bright for playbook - Of course it is when you start missing so many features and no apps. Nowhere to go but up. But the playbook is irrelevant.

    6) 7 handhelds - Won't matter if no one cares about QNX

    7) Data compression - Let's see how compressed the data is on QNX. Can't use QNX as a reason to be optimistic while touting compression when ONX handhelds may eat up data comparable to Android and iOS.

    Some of these reasons just don't make sense and could be contradicting to other reasons listed. You can't tout battery life and data compression and then look forward to QNX without knowing how QNX is going to impact both of these. RIM has gotten by on inferior hardware and a platform that wasn't heavy with media. When the QNX devices come they will have hardware that eat up battery like bigger displays and faster processors so don't give me battery life as a reason to stick when at the same time, QNX could make battery life no better than an HTC phone. Same thing with data compression. It's so efficient because it's a media life-less platform. Watered down everything. When QNX comes it will be able to do a lot more media centric things and data will not be compressed. Streaming videos and video chatting will use up bandwidth and space just like any other OS. Sure it's easy to tout this now when you can't do it. Just a big contradiction.
    Last edited by scorpiodsu; 07-25-11 at 09:38 AM.
    sportline and centsofreason like this.
    07-25-11 09:33 AM
  8. Economist101's Avatar
    I think you missed the point of the article - The author was saying that those 7 reasons will get RIM out of their current struggles. What put them into their current position was clearly stated as a failure to launch decent devices.
    I didn't miss the point at all. As Scorpiodsu notes, of the 7 items mentioned, 5 of them have always been true. I'll add that a 6th (regarding PlayBook's future) is tempered by the fact that the PlayBook really isn't selling. Yes, RIM is launching 7 new devices this year, but we'll have to wait and see whether that actually helps their numbers, since new devices also mean transition expenses.
    07-25-11 09:44 AM
  9. West Coast Flavor's Avatar
    Ice cream sandwich vs ios5 vs qnx.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    07-25-11 09:59 AM
  10. lnichols's Avatar
    Ice cream sandwich vs ios5 vs qnx.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    That will be the fight. I'll take the one that runs one of the other two OS's as an App!
    07-25-11 10:37 AM
  11. lnichols's Avatar
    Lol. You aren't serious with that response, are you?

    .........................

    A serious question on that end; What's in it for Google to allow BB to run Android apps on their devices? I realize that they can make money, but it seems to undercut Android in the process.
    Yep I'm serious.

    As for what's in it for Google, who cares? It's open Source and license free for anyone, any company to put on devices. Only way they could prevent RIM from doing it would be to switch over to a licensing model, which would probably violate a lot of the terms of use for the code used in the OS itself. RIM's just taking the OS and making an app out of it. When they release the source for Ice Cream Sandwich RIM can update the app to support that too.
    07-25-11 12:17 PM
  12. lnichols's Avatar
    Except RIM isn't "making Android an app." They are partnering with Google to incorporate the Android Market into the QNX OS, while also providing support and legacy support for BB apps. Google could, at any time, decide that it no longer wants to help RIM and pull the Android Market from BB devices.
    Everything that I have read about the Player is that RIM will ask Android app developers to resubmit the apps into App World for distribution through App World. No Android Market. Some people have been getting Android Market onto the leaked player, but I've never seen a single thing that states RIM and Google are partnering on this at all. Plenty of Android devices launch without access to the Android Market and have their own markets setup.
    07-25-11 02:22 PM
  13. SRR500's Avatar
    Except RIM isn't "making Android an app." They are partnering with Google to incorporate the Android Market into the QNX OS, while also providing support and legacy support for BB apps. Google could, at any time, decide that it no longer wants to help RIM and pull the Android Market from BB devices.
    That's not the way it is supposed to work. Android apps will be submitted to RIM and be available for download through AppWorld. It will be up to the app devs to decide if they want to sell their apps for use on BlackBerry.
    If I have missunderstood or the origional plan has changed then I stand corrected.

    As far as the app player is concerned, once the open source code is released amyone can download it and do with it what they please. Including making the app player. Google has no say in the matter. RIM might be required to release the code for the app player though because of the open source code used to make it. (Notice I dsaid might have to release it. I'm not sure)

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    07-25-11 02:34 PM
  14. Amy wineBerry's Avatar
    I don't see how any of the seven reasons given are good enough to keep the faith when it comes to RIM...and I'm one of the one's who still has faith in BlackBerries, the PlayBook, and RIM as a company.

    For me, none of those speak to the heart of the matter. RIM is a dynasty for us...we don't want to see it falter into a menial existence. We keep the faith because of what RIM means to us individually, as intangible as it may be. Some of us are in it for the long haul. Others have already jumped ****. I just like to think that for those who are hanging on to RIM are doing so for reasons beyond battery life and qwerty keyboard. But maybe, I'm overthinking human behavior.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com

    Edit: Did I accidentally not type SHIP? Oopsie
    Last edited by Amy wineBerry; 07-25-11 at 03:48 PM.
    scorpiodsu likes this.
    07-25-11 02:51 PM
  15. belfastdispatcher's Avatar
    I don't see how any of the seven reasons given are good enough to keep the faith when it comes to RIM...and I'm one of the one's who still has faith in BlackBerries, the PlayBook, and RIM as a company.

    For me, none of those speak to the heart of the matter. RIM is a dynasty for us...we don't want to see it falter into a menial existence. We keep the faith because of what RIM means to us individually, as intangible as it may be. Some of us are in it for the long haul. Others have already jumped ****. I just like to think that for those who are hanging on to RIM are doing so for reasons beyond battery life and qwerty keyboard. But maybe, I'm overthinking human behavior.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    Maybe we should ask Google's CEO for his reasons why he holds on to his blackberry? I actually feel really safe if Google buys Rim now, they seem to have a blackberry addict at the top

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    07-25-11 03:42 PM
  16. 1magine's Avatar
    I think Amy's right. 2 things keeping RIM up right now. BES and the investment millions of businesses have made in licences and servers and the pyschological connection others have to their BB HHs.
    07-25-11 03:51 PM
  17. scorpiodsu's Avatar
    I don't see how any of the seven reasons given are good enough to keep the faith when it comes to RIM...and I'm one of the one's who still has faith in BlackBerries, the PlayBook, and RIM as a company.

    For me, none of those speak to the heart of the matter. RIM is a dynasty for us...we don't want to see it falter into a menial existence. We keep the faith because of what RIM means to us individually, as intangible as it may be. Some of us are in it for the long haul. Others have already jumped ****. I just like to think that for those who are hanging on to RIM are doing so for reasons beyond battery life and qwerty keyboard. But maybe, I'm overthinking human behavior.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com

    Edit: Did I accidentally not type SHIP? Oopsie
    Exactly. There has to better reasons than battery life and a keyboard. The problem is that for most users needs and WANTS, Android and/or iOS does stuff much better. People don't just want a device to text and get watered down email fast. If anyone thinks otherwise, they should question why RIM is going QNX.
    07-25-11 04:25 PM
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