As a prime example, making a network connection is a black art using their SDK, and every developer ends up rolling their own connection manager to do so. If you join the Blackberry Internet Alliance (~$1,200 a year IIRC), they'll make this easy on you by letting you use BIS (Blackberry Internet Service). This is ridiculously constraining when it comes to creating useful apps.
Another major point of pain is their code signing tool. To produce a build that's deployable to a device, you have to sign the COD file using their remote code signing server. The server was down almost daily leaving me dead in the water during critical testing periods.
Lastly, if you decided to make use of certain API facilities like persistent storage, a device reboot was required after every deployment. Given a five minute reboot time on many devices, this could consume an hour or more each day of my dev time.
I'm not sure what RIM's future plans are, but making things easier on developers would definitely be a step in the right direction if they want to remain viable.
Your connection information about 2-3 years out of date. That was the old days. They have a transparent connection factory now which makes opening connections pretty easy. You can even transparently route over WiFi, etc.
I think that in the focus to make the newest, shiniest app many people in the developer community are overlooking a key thing. BlackBerry brings you users with a LOT of software purchasing power. Not just people but whole organizations. That crowd is used to spending big $$$ on software. And if it means waiting a little for the code signing server to come back up or schedule my builds outside of regular office hours, this is a sacrifice that I would gladly make. It pays off, quite literally.
The simulator is also throttled to a paltry 10k/sec when performing network access (why?!), and the app I was working on was for music streaming which forced me to do most of my testing on physical devices.
Regarding the connection factory, I was aware of it; however, given the market share of older devices, it makes sense to support them. If you're going to do so, you're going to have to roll your own connection code since older devices can't use newer OS versions. I'm not talking about ancient devices either. The Curve 8900 shipped with the 4.6 which doesn't support the connection factory.
In our case, it didn't make sense to have two builds (legacy and modern) since we'd have to support legacy anyway. I suspect this will improve as the older devices disappear by way of attrition, but it made things difficult at the time.
Regarding the people willing to spend money on software, we never applied to get into the marketplace; however, all of RIM's competitors have similar offerings, so I see no advantage here.
Good points on the older OS 4.6 devices. Right now we have something like 95% of all app purchases done from OS 5 and OS 6 devices, so going back to OS 4.6 has not been considered worth it for many developers for some time now. I do it just to be nice to my users but I get less than 2% OS 4.6ers coming in.
In general RIM has been really good at pushing users to upgrade their devices so in practice you would see most 8900 buyers come out with OS 5 on their device.
And if it means waiting a little for the code signing server to come back up or schedule my builds outside of regular office hours, this is a sacrifice that I would gladly make
Sure, fair enough, but that's a really bizarre thing to have to sacrifice in the first place. I hate to make assumptions about other's infrastructure, but I'm having a hard time seeing how this could be a problem that persists for months or years.
The signing server is part of RIM's security system. It basically allows RIM to control the quality of applications. For example, in any software that proves malicious will get their developer's key instantly revoked - and the server won't side that developers applicaiton. Malicious apps can be instantly revoked by ALL device simply by putting that developer's certificate on a blacklist and pushing it down to all devices.
To do security like this, you need a chain of certificate signings and a controlling server.
And enterprises love security like that.
Um...that's not exactly a ringing endorsement of the platform; on any OS with a modern network stack (Android, iOS, Windows 3.x...), the stack hides the details of what hardware you're connecting over.
It seems like if you wrote the bulk of your app in an interpreted language, you could zip new code updates over to the device as fast as your network lets you.
iPhones can, Androids can... but have you seen the level of performance on a BlackBerry lately? I'm not sure if there's enough power under the hood, or enough performance in the OS, to run an interpreted layer on top.
So RIM has one of two choices. They can either do a Nintendo and follow a Blue Ocean Strategy and just completely change the game, and change the market. Or they can do a Sega and go 3rd party - meaning not developing the end to end solution and instead providing hardware and software for one of the other main players.
Based on SEGA and Nintendo's experiences, the Blue Ocean Strategy is preferred - but you better be sure you can pull it off. Changing the wireless game is a big bet... though if you saw the OnLive CEO's talk posted on Engadget yesterday you'll see that there is the potential for some revolution in the wireless game. If RIM were to buy OnLive or exclusively license their new wireless tech, that would be the kind of game changing thing that would not only give them a fighting chance, but take the lead.
To conclude - if RIM tries to fight Google, Apple and MS in classic metrics such as the OS, features, hardware and services - they will lose and die. RIM has to change the rules of the game, and one way is to buy Rearden Company's new wireless technology (if it works as stated).
For anyone curious, here's the article (includes a video):
The more I read the comments in this thread saying that RIM should focus on BB's traditional enterprise/bureaucratic professional image, the more I am reminded of IBM. And their names are even similar. It must be fate.
One area that RIM/Blackberry is still king is the enterprise. Apple hasn't even attempted to enter this market, for good reason.
I think a viable - although controversial - strategy would be to simplify the offering and the company into a provider of enterprise communications devices. Beef up BES based on customer feedback, pull all blackberries from consumer shelves (i.e. Joe public can't buy one), focus on owning the market for devices with large organizations that provide phones to their staff as a cost of business. Expand into high security, high risk areas like the military and government (Obama doesn't have an iPhone, does he?).
This would also have the effect making owning a blackberry a sign that you are an "elite member of a large group that can afford them", like it was in the later 90's. Owning a blackberry has no cache anymore, because any 16 year old can go buy a pink curve and look as cool as you do.
This is the exact opposite of what this exec is looking for, but in the end will make for a stronger (although smaller) RIM, I believe.
The strategy suggested by the exec is a recipe for disaster.
History has shown that general-use technology eventually wins over niche technology. How many companies are running Alpha chips these days? SGI workstations? Sparc servers? The niche players lost as the mainstream passed them by. Intel processors ended up crushing the dedicated "corporate" processors, because the mainstream market could support larger R&D efforts and provided a volume that allowed a far superior price/performance ratio. Ditto with nVidia. This is a story that's played out the same way again and again. The niche player loses unless it can deliver (and continue to deliver) significant value beyond what the mainstream players can provide. No one cares if there's an "elite" status to owning a rack of Alpha processors when a rack of Pentium 3 chips can do the same job for a quarter of the price.
Also, Apple and Android are both making significant headway into the corporate environment, as employees tire of carrying two phones or being limited to a Blackberry device. Even in companies where Blackberry is the only "supported" device, they often give employees access to Exchange on their personal devices. If employees use their personal iPhones rather than receive a corp-provided Blackberry, that's a loss for RIM (and arguably a gain for the corporation, as they don't have to pick up the tab for another corp phone).
The question is not "What is the future of mobile computing?"
The question is "How does RIM make as much money as possible with their resources?"
RIM can't compete on merit, so their best strategy is to do what they've always done: use aggressive, obnoxious sales strategies to place BlackBerries as the "enterprise" device and the only "respectable and secure" enterprise device.
Many lame executive types are very very concerned with appearing respectable and adult and elite or whatever, and will use inferior products to maintain this image. They are doing it right now with BlackBerries. The standard East Coast enterprise opinion toward iPhones has been that they are "toys" for children and plebs, while BlackBerries are serious work tools for rich and important executives.
BlackBerry cannot compete on fundamentals, but it can compete on image, exclusivity, and keep targeting luddites such as people who refuse to use Apple products because they are "pretty". These people love the ugly, hard to use BlackBerry, because the ugliness and crappiness itself is a statement about their values.
The question is how many Christmases.
I think over the longer term, focussing exclusively on corporations is a losing bet. At some point, the mainstream options will be so obviously superior that it just won't make any sense to continue to invest heavily in Blackberry devices (unless Blackberry can somehow catch up or pass rapidly). If Blackberry is only appealing to the corporate exec crowd, they're going to have to drastically raise prices to stay in business. I don't think many companies will indefinitely pay double for phones with half the features that 80% of their employees don't want. There's just no value there.
RIM has always been a one trick pony run by hustling salesmen fueled with hot air. My plan is the natural continuation of their strength.
I don't think this is a definition of success that RIM's executives, employees, or stockholders are looking for, though.
There's nothing wrong with making a good living.
What? How do you figure? They'd have a huge drop in operating expenses because they'd be supporting a much narrower field of business lines.
History has shown that general-use technology eventually wins over niche technology.
Maybe if you only look at the history you choose to. I'd venture that 80% of all successful businesses right now are focusing on a niche. It's easier to do one thing well than it is to do everything half ass, and that will always create opportunity. Not everyone can be the default.
Also, Apple and Android are both making significant headway into the corporate environment,
Um, no, they aren't. I'd love this to be so, but it isn't. Apple and Android are focusing on the consumer. You need to consider the fact that at a certain level, the needs of consumers and corporations are divergent. It's extremely difficult to focus on two groups with opposing interests and serve both well. This is essentially my argument.
You seem to be making a case that employees will not carry two devices, while at the same time forgetting that one doesn't cost them anything.... As a person that would love an iPhone but who has a corporate issued blackberry, the fact that I have a free device is more than enough to comfort my lack of app selection and better UX.
I'm not sure they'd see a significant drop in operating expenses. Their development expenses in particular wouldn't change, unless they're going to completely give up on actually delivering a competitive product. When your company is built on delivering a device, selling fewer of the devices just means your profit margin goes down. It doesn't actually make the devices cheaper to design, implement, or manufacture.
> Maybe if you only look at the history you choose to. I'd venture that 80% of all successful business is focusing on a niche. It's easier to do one thing well than it is to do everything half ass, and that will always create opportunity.
That's only true if the niche is one that has demands a mainstream product cannot fill. When a mainstream product meets the needs of the niche, the niche evaporates. For example, you see that corporations have niche systems for land-lines, because there is no mainstream demand for complex call systems. No one needs 1000 lines in their home and so Avaya and Cisco don't try to sell PBX systems to the public. On the other hand, there are no niche desktop systems in corporations. They use the same Dell or HP systems as home users. There's no value in a niche product, so the niche product no longer exists.
Smart phones are an example of where the corporate niche is evaporating. There's no requirement for a company to use Blackberry devices. At this point, it's basically just a legacy concern. If an Android phone can do the same job, then what's the value in standardizing on Blackberry, especially if Blackberry becomes a niche -- and therefore more expensive -- option?
> Um, no, they aren't. I'd love this to be so, but it isn't. Apple and Android are focusing on the consumer. You need to consider the fact that at a certain level, the needs of consumers and corporations are divergent. It's extremely difficult to focus on two groups with opposing interests and serve both well. This is essentially my argument.
Except this isn't true. Corporate needs and personal phone needs are very nearly the same. They both need voice service, email, maybe SMS. Corporations might need VPN, but that's built into the "consumer" phones as well.
Please tell me what it is you think corporations need that they can't get from a RIM competitor? And especially please clarify how corporate users and consumers have opposing interests.
> You seem to be making a case that employees will not carry two devices, while at the same time forgetting that one doesn't cost them anything.... As a person that would love an iPhone but who has a corporate issued blackberry, the fact that I have a free device is more than enough to comfort my lack of app selection and better UX.
So what you're saying is that all of your needs are actually met by your Blackberry? Doesn't that mean that your claims about personal vs corporate needs being different/conflicting are incorrect?
But to answer you, no, I didn't forget that. I'm saying that some people choose to pay for an iPhone rather than carry a free Blackberry. This may not be the case for you, but I've seen it at my company. I've also seen people who carry two phones.
It's like trying to win a war against the US by building a better air force...
Long battery life, a good web experience, and a good enterprise experience is something nobody else is doing. Mind you, RIM could build on android and provide the same thing...
I setup hosted Exchange via RackSpace for my client (a Pharma manufacturer) and their managers/exec-team use iPhone to sync their email, calendar, and contacts. BES has lots of neat features but none of my users need anything beyond the basics that iPhone offers. I don't see any reason to switch from Apple to RIM products.
I recognize that not everyone (and virtually no one here on HN I'm sure) sees the things that BES offers as important, or even desirable, but I can tell you that there is a huge market for them.
Big Fortune 500 companies are rolling out iPhones and iPads because enterprise employees want them, and they meet the list of required enterprise features: Exchange support, remote provisioning and app deployment, VPN, remote/incorrect PIN wipe and encrypted storage. That and a rich app ecosystem covers 90% of enterprise usage.
Unless BB offers truly unique, compelling features that employees _want_, you're only going to come off as the sad employee that has to use the crappy clunky phone that you got from work rather than an elite member of tha BB gang.
If they manage to make a great phone that employees want, they might as well sell them as upmarket consumer phones as well. But as you said, I don't think they'll succeed in competing in that space, so I think the ship has sailed.
To make an analogy, Apple could have decided to focus exclusively on shipping Macs for media professionals and education, where they had the biggest user base in 1997. However, had they not come up with products that were unique and compelling in the PC, music player and mobile markets, they would never have had the success they've had.
Instead, they might have ended up like SGI.
Enterprise bought into BB in the early days because there really wasn't anything else like it. It made sense, and worked for their employees. Now, however, every phone out there has a decent email system, and they're good phones as well. If you're trying to limit BBs to only enterprise, and saying that they don't need to be great consumer devices, then you'll be asking employees to carry two phones. They won't. Even if BB is better for enterprise, nobody is going to implement it alongside consumer smartphones.
Because right now, trying to be everything to everyone is proving to be a losing strategy.
This whole "nobody's going to carry two phones" argument is clearly being made by people that haven't worked with larger corporations, or the people in them.
You're perfectly right that they won't carry two phones... they'll just carry their free, company supplied blackberries.
I agree that they need to narrow their focus, but I don't see how they can differentiate in the enterprise market in a way that will make them own that market.
They do not want their employees going out to buy their own devices and then conducting business on them. Governments are even more concerned about this. They will willingly pay to offer their employees phones that allow their employees to communicate yet ensure they remain in overall control.
In this situation, Blackberry doesn't need an app world. They don't need touch screens. They don't need safari web browsers.
I remember an article here a few days ago, about how Silverlake (I think it was Silverlake) did some crazy restructuring. RIM is dying. Their best hope is for an external firm to step in and overhaul things completely.
Second, shorting the stock of your own company, are there no legal issues there?
It _is_ possible that a company might hold its employees to a different standard, but I don't think it would be reasonable to try and bar a grunt-level RIM employee from shorting the stock of a company everyone on the planet already knows is screwed.
There is no correlation between the time taken for a decision and the quality of the decision. None.
Clearly there is such a thing as taking too long, but "no correlation" is overstating it. Impulse decisions can be bad.
So in this case a good decision to wait would become more likely the longer it took to make.
And do what exactly?
It seems that Nokia is in a similar situation and they're giving up on their in-house software in favor of Microsoft's Windows 7 Phone software. So, in the future, what will the difference be between a Nokia phone and a "knock-off"? Is RIM going to face the same fate?
The model has changed, however. Today, it's android & iphone that are driving the industry forward. These are platforms that don't coordinate as tightly with carriers.
Frankly, RIM's problem is that their leadership is stuck in the old model. There was a generation of senior executives in the mobile industry who truly knew better than the nerds: Regardless of your passion for development & openness, it was the carriers who make or break you. RIM's risk now is to replace one extreme attitude with another extreme (too open, too independent) and then completely self-destruct.
IMO, the key to success is not anything listed in this letter. They need to reboot their leadership structure with folks who understand that a good relationship with carriers is critical, but you don't cling to them for survival. Android & iPhone are vulnerable in this space. They're spending too much time giving carriers the finger.
IMO, the only company that really has a shot at relevance is Microsoft: They're still playing nice with carriers & they have an incredibly easy development environment, but they're also exploring territory that hasn't been authorized by the carriers.
In the sense that they're 'failing', they're failing because they're not nurturing the development ecosystem with funding. If Microsoft set aside 50 million dollars or so for investing in INTERESTING mobile application developers, they could solve their appstore app quality problem and really make a move on the industry. Microsoft should take advantage of the fact that the carriers aren't thrilled with Apple or Google. They're really well positioned to strike, if they can just get the app quality problem solved.
How are they well positioned to strike if retailers are actively discouraging customers not to buy Win7 Phones?
What does "app quality problem" mean? Is this the fault of developers? Or the Microsoft's fault for not providing the tools, etc? (Since I'm not a mobile developer, this is the first I've heard of app problems on Win7 Phones.)
2) I haven't owned a wp7 device for over a year, so I don't know where things are now, but for the months following launch, the apps were a crapshoot & expensive. There were no angry birds, no hipstamatics, etc. Twitter, Facebook & that's about it.
So the quality problem I am referring to is akin to the choice between walking into a flea market (Android), a Nordstrom (iPhone) or a jc penny (windows phone 7).
I'm speaking from experience. OHA tricks people into thinking the platform is open. Hows your honeycomb, OHA?
IMHO, RIM's leadership is focused on the past, and on the wrong market segment. They're desperately trying to win over business users, while not realizing that they've already lost that market and will never get it back. At the same time they're largely ignoring the feature phone segment which is going to upgrade to a smartphone in the coming years, and who could be easily lured in by the current BB products, if they just make them a little bit more user-friendly.
My wife thinks her BB curve is a better phone than my samsung galaxy s2. On paper, that's a ridiculous comparison (the curve isn't even 3g). In reality, she only uses it for calling, texting, e-mail and facebook, and it's not inferior at all for those things. She doesn't want a touchscreen, she doesn't want tons of apps, and there are a lot of people like her.
I was in the market for a decent phone for my own business purposes a few months ago.
I don't use (and don't want a UI to be cluttered by) MyTwitBook+.
I do want phone calls and messaging. I do want some basic PIM tools. I do want some basic web browsing and useful apps. And I want them to be easy to use, efficient, and safe.
For me personally, that means things like a physical keyboard, good sync'ing with other devices and software I work with, and robust security features on the phone. (I tried the leading smartphones at the time, and just didn't get on with touchscreens for typing significant amounts of text.)
Does this sound like any particular company's traditional target market? Of course it does.
Then I went to the store, and checked out the BlackBerry Torch. And I found that its screen was half the resolution of everyone else's model of that generation. I found that its e-mail integration wasn't nearly as straightforward as it could be. I found that it didn't have a well-established browser that could put up modern web sites at an acceptable speed.
Best of all, I found that the store wanted to charge me several hundred pounds to get a Torch on a 24-month lock-in plan. In the UK, I could at the time have picked up a top-of-the-range phone from pretty much anyone else for free on a 24-month plan, or I could have bought those top-of-the-range devices unlocked to use on any carrier's monthly plan for not much more than the money the Torch was going to cost me with the lock-in.
In short, I should have been RIM's perfect customer. I wound up buying a £20 Nokia non-smartphone on a 1-month plan, which still gets me the separate number/phone for business use that I really wanted, and I just use a laptop or similar for the other stuff. As my younger friends might say, epic fail.
How can you lose when the President of the United States loves your product? You get complacent. You get distracted.
RIM had an opportunity to take out Exchange Server, to kick SharePoint's ass, to supplant the truly awful Lotus Notes with something even marginally better, so long as it worked well on the Blackberry phones that everyone had.
With Nortel as much as dead, they could've even made big gains into enterprise phone systems, IP telephony, and who knows what other off-shoots once you conquer that.
They could've provided VPN solutions with the Blackberry serving as a key, something the banks would've bought the instant somebody made it. Instead everyone has to use these awful RSA tokens, and they never really worked as the recent breach proved.
RIM could've become the go-to company for IT email and groupware, but instead they chased after consumer market share. They chased after text-messaging teenage girls and got blown out of the market when Android could offer a cheaper product with more features. They're lucky that Microsoft sabotaged Danger for them or they'd actually have competition.
So damned sad.
Though, perhaps, that is a more winnable fight.
But not enough to sustain RIM as a viable player, which is the core of their problem.
Point #2, #3, #6 are roughly focusing on the same principals: RIM needs smart, innovative leaders that get things done and deliver with less processes/bureaucracies. A friend of mine worked there and he said his group (including the director) complained about the internal process with respect to shipping out software: they can't just ship software, there are a few hoops they have to go through and that takes toll on their time to be productive.
Point #5 is valid. RIM insider told me that they have tons of features way before Apple or MS. Unfortunately they don't have Steve Jobs that always depict everything like the next best thing since the slice of bread.
Sometime the media and the analysts are just that: media and analysts. They need stories. They need something to focus on whether it's bad or good. To them, there's no difference between bad publicity and good publicity.
For example: I subscribe to InformationWeek and eWeek. They always sing the same song in the enterprise (for quite sometime until I get bored and thinking to unsubscribe): "Your CEO wants to use iPhone or iPad but your CIO blocked them with tons of reasons and instead ask you to stick with BlackBerry". I've got to ask iWeek and eWeek to do an unbiased poll or survey: how many companies do actually want this? Or are these companies that tell you the stories are the minorities? At the end of the day: which one is more cost-effective in terms of enterprise-wide deployment.
I also use the Blackberry SDK, specifically the Widget SDK, I love being able to use simple HTML/CSS/and Java Script to develop apps. The code signing tool can take a long walk off a short cliff though, and there are tons of bugs with even using simple black backgrounds in applications... The SDK does need to be fixed. A company with RIM's resources should dedicate lots of resources into empowering their developers, and also policing the apps in the app store more to make sure that apps don't link to shady web sites.
The devices also need 3D engines in them, Phones should have rich multimedia and game apps. The copy of Angry Birds you can play in HTML5 should work in BB browsers and more of these popular games should be solicited on the BB (phone) platform.
I realize security is an issue as well, I actually like the idea of the playbook, but phone makers have been losing sight of hand held phones over tablets. People are following Apple's lead instead of innovating where they fall short. Make your system more open, use better components like cameras, and make your screens larger and clearer. The 9800 model should be retired, the screen is too tiny.
People do not care as long as they do not have the feeling they are missing something.
Make the BB easy for developers that popular apps are also available for the BB, but this will not gain you any new customers, it will only avoid that you are loosing customers.
Blackberry should focus on the productivity of their customers. I want a phone dead simple but 100% perfect for communicating, 100% secure and 100% trust-able. Blackberry should offer cloud services so that people are locked-in. I use my Blackberry as I used my Nokia, most people do that.
They should leverage their BBM into a social network.
They should upgrade their java, so that android developers can easily develop for BB as well.
They should create an opportunity whereby carriers can earn more money, carriers are loosing ground everywhere. They do not earn money on the whole internet thing on phones nowadays.
Create great utilities, some usable office software.
Offer a cloud service in which you can store every message and any file you ever had on your phone. Comparable with my gmail account. So that i ve a BB archive.
Focus on privacy. There's a huge chance there will be a backslash on privacy in the next 5 years. I do not trust android or iphone phones. With the first a feel too much attached too google with the second I'm Apple's prisoner.
Focus on openness. I would like to connect my BB to any system available. I want to install every program I want to use.
Make it a great calculation device. Do you remember the HP 12c calculator. I should have the same kind of feeling with my BB somehow. Not by replicating the calculators functions, but by somehow making it a swiss knive.
Why not bite the bullet and adopt Android across the board? Instant developer network, Google support, huge non-North American user base, etc, etc.?
I'd buy a BlackBerry and a Playbook running Android tomorrow if they existed.
These are big companies with tons at stake. They don't want to outsource their core competencies to competing companies.
One solution is to create virtualization on top of the current solution: call it Android Player or Flash Player or something. You'll get the developers and the apps for your platform and slowly guide these developers to use your native SDK and eventually kill the portability layers.
After all things said and done, there are many ways to go to Rome but one thing for sure: can't sacrifice your core competencies otherwise you'll be like any other mobile manufacturers (Samsung, HTC, etc) and compete on price for hardware because the software makes you irrelevant.
And you know US/Canada won't win when it comes to price of hardware. Broadcom is getting a lot of heat from Taiwanese/Chinese manufacturers.
The "app tonnage" comment was the dumbest thing I had heard in a long time — breathtakingly dumb. It betrayed a profound apathy towards apps beyond the most crude quantitative perspective.
And how realistic is virtualization on a mobile device?
Seemingly, Apple and Google have created a large barrier to entry by making compelling mobile environments (aside from the nuances of each). If your developing for both of those platforms, then why would you develop for another?
s/Android/WebOS. I'd like to see more than two OS players in the market, and at least one with a sane dev model.
While others argue that'd work against RIM's core competency, I don't think that is the case, especially in light of point #2. From what I gather, RIM has strengths in their business partnerships, and decent hardware. UX isn't one of them (point #1).
So outsource the OS to one of the companies that has bucket loads of cash to spend on UX and developer relations, pair it with RIM's own strengths, and reap the benefits of both.
RIM is essentially in the same boat as Nokia, but without a CEO that has the balls to make changes where needed.
The idea of RIM partnering up with HP is very, very intriguing. It would be basically a Hail Mary strategy for both companies (definitely more for RIM than for HP at this point). Apotheker has said that HP is looking to license webOS with other companies right now. A RIM-HP alliance would be both reinvigorating for both and show that the only way to take on iOS/Android is for former giants to team up together. Or at least make the race against Windows Phone more interesting.
Consumers generally give a damn about one of those two things, and it's not the uptime. If anything, your comment is some excellent commentary on why RIM is failing.
I appreciate that uptime is important to you, but RIM will certainly fail if they are still targeting users with your requirements. It is the reason why you don't see a focus on uptime from other vendors; it is effectively meaningless in 2011.
I doubt anything that RIM can do will outweigh the painfully outdated licensing and proprietary server technology that is their platform. They had plenty of time to evolve, but they didn't. It's hard to imagine how they can catch up again now that most people would trade a good browser in their pocket for anything RIM has to offer instead.
I ask because I occasionally had to reboot my original iPhone, and 3GS, but I simply haven't thought about rebooting my iPhone 4 running IOS4.
But yeah, I'm with you that I rarely think about rebooting my iPhone 4.
1. Change some lines of codes
2. Deploy to device
3. Wait 5 min.
4. See if it worked
5. goto 1
My average uptime is about 2mins. doing that.
Disclaimer: I'm on the WebKit team at RIM.
Also lots of other quirkiness in the OS drove me batty.
BTW, the RIM webkit browser implementation is excellent, just the horsepower of the phone letting things down. And I miss the physical keyboard!
The problem is that there are three types of people:
1.) They want the lowest common denominator in tech, the easiest and simplest option, the Nokia 3310.
2.) Features, features, features. This letter makes the point that no-one ever choses option A over option B because of an extra feature, and while there is some truth to that... that is with regard to iPad vs. PlayBook, or iPhone vs. Android. Anyone I've ever known chose an iPhone over a Blackberry has used reasons such as "better web browsing", "a music player that doesn't suck", "wider range of better apps" and so on. And those are hardly subjective, in my opinion anyway. Phonecalls, SMS, BBM, Email, you can't beat a blackberry, pretty much anything else you want to do, even simple things like watching a video or using as an MP3 player, it just sucks at. There are some blackberry apps that are great, for example (in my case) UberSocial for Twitter, and the MLB At Bat app, but those are few and far between.
3.) The third type of people are people like me who know exactly what we want, to the extent that we don't mind missing out on the features we could have with a different phone, but don't want simple either. We're pretty rare.
The problem is that the first type of person, the features of a blackberry are perfect for them, but using it? It confuses the hell out of my father, who took to an iPhone immediately (and found an Android phone just as easy). If you're not simpler and less confusing, or offering an even comparable range of features, and costing the same, then there's very few people who will chose you - at this point, sexiness of the product is hardly even relevant, that only comes into play if both products would fulfil roughly the same role.
Maybe for some devices deployed in a corporate IT setting (where these changes aren't allowed at all without an admin) the devices are stable, but for a regular consumer user, I don't think they would see very high uptime. (I also agree that they would largely not care about high uptime, however being constantly asked to reboot the phone is annoying, ie I think users probably start caring about uptime only when it's LOW)
1) Focus on the End User experience
2) Recruit Senior SW Leaders & enable decision-making
3) Cut projects to the bone.
4) Developers, not Carriers can now make or break us
5) Need for serious marketing punch to create end user desire
6) No Accountability - Canadians are too nice
7) The press and analysts are pissing you off. Don’t snap.
Now is the time for humility with a dash of paranoia.
8) Democratise. Engage and interact with your employees.
Palm might have worked out better if they'd had those things too.
I do not see RIM suddenly gaining in this area and being known as the place really good designers go.
except for still having such naive execs around, the situation sounds typical for an, astronomically speaking, burn-out, starting to collapse, company, a glowing star of yesterday. Who've been at Sun, Siebel, Compaq, Palm, etc... know the feeling. The situation at Nokia, btw, sounds the same...
Come on, as if the practice of holding on to people isn't widespread. It's called "office culture".
I think lack of candour when problems abound is the kiss of death for many companies.