Tag Archives: blackberry

Paul Thurrott on RIM

In a column for his SuperSite for Windows explaining why he has never covered the BlackBerry, Paul Thurrott makes a damning case for RIM’s demise:

RIM didn’t declare bankruptcy or exit the market for smart phones or anything. What they did announce, however, was that their next generation mobile OS, now called Blackberry 10, won’t ship until the end of 2012, a full year from now. This comes on the heels of one of the worst years I’ve ever seen any tech company experience, and I’d remind you that this happened during a time in which both Yahoo and HP were stumbling around blindly, looking generally foolish and without aim. RIM makes both of those companies look like huge successes by comparison.

RIM’s downfall started with the BlackBerry Bold 9000. It was a great phone, but it looked like an iPhone with a physical keyboard and was the first BlackBerry I owned with serious stability issues. RIM became reactive with the 9000 and it’s been all downhill since then.

RIM succeeded with consumers for a while because its Facebook integration outclassed everybody. If you wanted to use Facebook on a phone, you got a BlackBerry. The Pearl and the Curve were immensely popular with college students in particular in the mid-late 2000s for this exact reason. As a power smartphone user with a notification fetish, the BlackBerry more than fulfilled my purposes (and I think it may still be unmatched). Great notifications, though, are a drop in the bucket against the power and stability of modern iOS- and Android-based smartphones. The fact that the BlackBerry is still difficult to build apps for and the BES duplicates functionality and adds overhead at an enormous cost are just the nails in the coffin.

Updated at 5:15 PM with a little more context in the first graf.

The Decision

Back in late June I publicly mused on what my next phone will be and the constant state of indecision I find myself in as I consider that question. My upgrade eligibility began in early July and recently ended as I finally came to a conclusion on how I’ll be mobile going forward. As a result, yesterday I retired the BlackBerry in favor of iPhone 4. (Or, as LeBron James might say, “I’m taking my mobile talents to Cupertino.”) And thus begins the most critical 30 days since I first hooked on with AT&T (then Cingular) back in 2005. Continue reading

The Final Countdown

It’s that time of year — the final stretch into the exam period and the end of the semester (and, for me, the long-awaited end to my college career). So, expect relative silence on the blog and in my social media space for a while. I’ll try to come up for air on weekends. (I do need to post a review of my BlackBerry Bold, but I’ll do that after a couple more weeks with it on my belt…erm…under my belt.)

So while I frantically conclude my undergraduate years, here’s a funny video to watch (BlackBerry-themed, of course):

Catch you in the valleys…

Stuff I’ve liked lately — the October edition

Back in July I put together a little list of “stuff I like.” It’s been a few months, so I think I’ll do another round.

  • FriendFeed Real-time. It’s friggin’ amazing is what it is. This launched a few weeks ago and it has helped increase my FriendFeed usage substantially. It partially fills the void that losing Twitter IM has created. I like to take the mini-window and stick it in my Firefox sidebar (a trick I picked up from Scobleizer at ConvergeSouth). Try it, it’s fun!
  • Qik on BlackBerry. I nearly cheated on my BlackBerry last week with an iPhone because of iPhone’s Qik capability (despite the fact that you still have to jailbreak it), but BlackBerry reeled me back in with its superior e-mail management, and Qik’s announcement of BlackBerry compatibility sealed the deal for me. The BlackBerry Bold is out on AT&T on the 4th — and my equipment discount eligibility begins the same day. It’s as if they timed it just for me. :) Qik is another one of those technologies I became quasi-obsessed with after seeing it in action at ConvergeSouth.
  • Pandora Radio. Being without my music library at work for a couple weeks has turned me back on to this service, and it’s utterly amazing how effective it is at picking what I like and finding similar music that I really dig. The record companies and broadcast industry are crazy for trying to kill this off, because I’m primed to buy a whole lot more music now than I ever would have if not for Pandora.
  • Tantric’s new single “Fall Down.” The song was originally recorded for the shelved Tantric III album; the III version contained a cameo by Nappy Roots, and I was lucky enough to grab an MP3 before the III stuff was scrapped. Tantric re-recorded the song with the new band, and I must say that it is a lot tighter now. I’m still a bit cool on the remake of “The One,” another Tantric III song that was recut for The End Begins, but “Fall Down” nails it. (I am REALLY BUMMED that I didn’t get to see Tantric when they were in Goose Creek last week.)
  • Internet Explorer 8. I am extremely impressed with the rendering work Microsoft is doing in the new IE. There are still some bugs and things that need improvement (and I’m bummed that MS is squandering an opportunity to push forward with CSS3 here), but IE 8’s new standards compliance mode brings IE’s rendering fidelity right on par with Firefox, Opera, and Safari moreso than at any point in IE’s history. Kudos to the IE team for the good work they’re doing.

Of course, this is just a short list of a lot of things. I like a lot of things on a regular basis, and you can keep an eye on my individual “likes” on FriendFeed.

What have you liked? Sound off in comments!

My first BlackBerry outage

So this is what a BlackBerry holiday feels like. RIM has got a case of the Mondays. No clue when e-mail will be back. Guess it’s back to the good old days of checking in every now and again…

Update: More from Engadget. Yes, I too would like to know about the “this will never happen again…” I’ve been evangelizing BlackBerry to everybody I know. This could hurt. Microsoft Direct Push would not have this issue…

Update: De-asided this…it’s kind of a big deal. Most of North America’s BlackBerries went dark. Crazy. Good news, though — I just got a rush of e-mail, and word on the street is that the backlog is clearing out. Good news for sure, though RIM will have a lot of explaining to do.

BlackBerry was down in the Southeast on AT&T?

InfoWorld:

San Francisco – AT&T’s wireless data networks in the Southeast and Midwest U.S. were down for several hours on Thursday, causing BlackBerry and iPhone users to be without data services.
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The EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) and UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) services in those regions began having problems around 6:30 a.m. EST, said Mark Siegel, an AT&T spokesman. Voice calling was not affected, but people trying to use wireless data services may have had difficulty, he said.

Can’t say I saw any symptoms of this outage…the BlackBerry was churning right along this morning and all through the day. Odd.

Rolling Into Traffic With a New Partner

A couple Saturdays ago, I got a familiar itch that needed scratching — the good ol’ gadget itch. It’s an itch that can often be expensive.

I got this itch for the first time in 2005, when I coveted a Motorola MPx220. After waiting for several months, still hearing from Cingular that they were on “backorder” (read: they were never coming back), I went out on eBay and grabbed one — in black, no less, which wouldn’t have been available with Cingular. I stuck with that phone for about a year and a half, but with the advent of Windows Mobile 5.0 and my increasing text message habit, I was looking to move up to something else with a QWERTY keyboard. Unfortunately, the Motorola Q was not available on Cingular yet, but the Samsung BlackJack was. I waited patiently for my upgrade eligibility, which came roughly last March. I then nabbed the BlackJack on a nice discount. Finally — QWERTY and reasonably reliable — and fast — Internet access. I even had 3G for those times I traveled out of state or to Columbia.

However, some issues in the BlackJack crept up. I had to restart my data connection on a daily basis, and there were some things that I could not do — no GPS, and terrible support for Java apps. I lived with it, though.

In the last couple months, though, I’ve been intrigued by the BlackBerry platform and what it can provide. I’d never used a BlackBerry before but had a basic understanding on how they work. Everyone I’ve talked to has absolutely raved about them. Naturally, my interest was piqued; could this be a more efficient way for me to get stuff done on the road?

A couple Saturdays ago, I wondered what kind of money a BlackBerry would command on eBay. I was thinking about getting one of the older models; I would have been happy with an 8700c, with one important exception — no extended memory support. That was an issue. I also noticed that the newer BlackBerry models, namely the Pearl, 8800, and Curve, used a trackball, which seems to be better than the thumbwheel traditionally found on BlackBerry models in the past. I was used to the thumbwheel on the BlackJack, but it was limiting in that it only went up and down. The keyboard was also way too easy to fat-finger; BlackBerry keyboards are also known to be way better than most others out there.

Curiosity turned into an impulse buy of a used BlackBerry 8800 that Saturday. It arrived this past Saturday, and I see what all the rage is about. I have learned quite a bit, and it’s already become the best device I’ve used. The phone portion is fantastic, and the organizer is top notch. I’ll need to get hooked up to the Enterprise Server at work to get over-the-air synchronization of my organizer data and push e-mail, but that will be worked out. Messaging will rock when everything is set up properly. I have also grown addicted to BrickBreaker, the game that is bundled with BlackBerry OS.

My favorite feature is that I can holster the phone and have the keyboard lock and the notifications change. This way, when the phone is out of the holster and a call or message comes in, it won’t vibrate off the table. There are so many little usability things built in that I can’t even begin to break them down in a weekend.

It’s a great phone experience, and I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a lot of power out of their mobile device.

BlackBerry for WM6 and an iPhone thought

BlackBerry for Windows Mobile 6

Soon, Windows Mobile 6 users will be able to get their CrackBerry fix with a new package to be introduced later this year by Research in Motion. I think it’s cool that RIM is going to bring BlackBerry push e-mail — unparalleled in the market — to Windows Mobile devices. Exchange Direct Push, what I use, is good, but still nowhere near the reliability or speed of RIM’s software. (Perhaps Exchange 2007 and Windows Mobile 6 may improve this even further, but right now I have neither at my disposal.) This is a nifty, shrewd way for RIM to give Windows Mobile users a taste of the BlackBerry experience and, ideally, convert a few more people over to its hardware, which is, in my mind, the centerpiece of the whole experience.

Target iPhone to Corporations? Are they MAD?

Neowin reports that Cingular The New AT&T wants to target the Apple iPhone to business users, presumably because of the cost of the device (i.e. Joe Schmuck will have no way of affording its expected $579 price tag). I don’t understand how the iPhone was ever meant to have a business application, though. Mac OS X, for all its strides within the last decade, is still an inferior business client OS when compared to Windows. In some ways, it’s gone backwards — for example, Entourage is no Outlook replacement, that’s for sure. Why would the iPhone be any different? Take into account the fact that Apple will not permit third-party applications, the lack of broadband support via AT&T’s 3G BroadbandConnect, and the largely unproven nature of the touchscreen (which I would expect to be a bear with e-mail), I can’t see how any sane enterprise would touch this phone. Again, Apple’s penchant for closedness and exclusivity is going to hurt it. For enterprise, BlackBerry or Windows Mobile really are the only ways to go at this point. If AT&T wants to see iPhone get into the mix, it needs to pressure Apple to open iPhone to the world; otherwise, it’ll just be a status symbol for the likes of Paris Hilton, while everyone else talks away on their RAZRs.

An idea for RIM

So it seems Research in Motion, the company that brings you CrackBlackBerry, is working to prevent another outage like was experienced last week.

I argue that these outages are good for the populace. Check out this NYTimes article — particularly this little snippet:

Barry Frey, a senior vice president at Cablevision, stepped off an airplane on Tuesday night to find that his in-flight e-mail exile had been extended.

His reaction was BlackBerry blasphemy. “I took a deep breath and finally enjoyed the feeling,” he said.

The less frenetic world he describes may not only be saner, but safer. Peter Crist, an executive recruiter in Chicago, admits to occasionally steering his car with his knees while he thumbs his BlackBerry. Tuesday night, he put both hands on the wheel and said he had a quiet, uninterrupted dinner with his wife and son — for a change.

You know — and this comes from a technophile with the same always-tethered e-mail setup — it’s a sad commentary on the state of the 24-hour workforce that this guy would steer a car with his knees and constantly check his phone at dinner with his family in the name of work.

Therefore, I propose that RIM implement BlackBerry holidays — a day where they decide to bring the system down and help the always-connected disconnect, if only for a few hours. It sounds like it was an unexpected, welcome break for more than a few folks…