Thoughts on mobile development - Symbian, Blackberry, Android, J2ME and iPhone

Blackberry 6. Good or just a good video?

By Aaron Davidson, in , posted: 28-Apr-2010 16:53

I don't talk much about Blackberries. Mostly because even though I use one I'm just not that big a fan. It's hard to like a device that is so wrapped up in its own little world that you can't even check your own pop3 mail without using a service from Blackberry itself! Most people don't care, they get their email and that's enough for them. Me, I can't stand the thought of having to use Blackberry's servers to collect my email so I just don't. So Blackberries aren't for everyone. Those that love them are addicted so despite my dislike RIM are definitely doing something right.

After many years treading water the mobile world has evolved at a staggering pace in the last couple of years. RIM have made a valiant attempt to keep up but for my money haven't done a great job of it. I've said it before, even though I don't use an iPhone it truly is an iconic device. It has shown all other vendors where they need to go with their devices. RIM however has struggled on the device front. It has a very loyal following and posts unbelievable increases each quarter so its in much better shape than a lot of vendors but outside of its traditional enterprise market it hasn't been able to make much of a splash. This is because RIM and its Blackberry devices are basically defined by the enterprise market. This is why you can't just enter in your pop3 mailbox and password and get your email and this is why RIM is struggling in the consumer market.

Increasingly I've been thinking that enterprise users would eventually tyre of RIM's ugly duckling devices and ossified OS and go for the cool "consumer" devices with ever improving enterprise features such as the iPhone or HTC Desire or the ever dependable Symbian devices from Nokia.

So when a YouTube video featuring highlights from the upcoming Blackberry 6 OS was posted I wasn't expecting much.  Boy was I surprised, it looks awesome:

This is night and day different to what I use on my present device. It includes all that you expect from a modern mobile OS with touch features such as system-wide kinetic scrolling and pinch-to-zoom. I didn't see anything innovative - what I did see looked to owe a lot to the iPhone and Symbian. But anyone that's read my earlier blogs will know that I don't care about that so much. When Xerox Parc invented the mouse other people picked it up for use with their computers because it was a damn good idea. Similarly, just because someone else invented multi-touch doesn't mean you shouldn't try and get round their patents and copy the idea as well!

So with an OS to bring it back into the present day RIM now need to design some nice hardware for it to run on.

What do you guys think.  Is Blackberry 6 OS looking good or have I just been taken in by a cool video?

Comment by Kiwipixter, on 29-Apr-2010 09:00

Always like your blogs Aaron.  the OS 6 video looks nice, but i can't help thinking this is just a "me too" offering too keep up with the Jones. What i am expecting is new cloud type services as they already have the technology in place, i.e. their BlackBerry infrastructure. Yes, the cloud where those email servers that you don't like. ;-)Also, getting the feeling their new device lineup, like the Pearl 3G, is a year too late.  A year is a long time in the fast changing world of smartphones. They are still trying to bring out a touch device to rectify the mistakes of the Storm. I had privileged of working with BlackBerry solutions and experience their devices since 2004, even though BB devices were usually not very sexy, the original Pearl was an exception. It was the first BB to cross into the consumer and was very successful.  BB market share is right up there with leader Apple, especially in the consumer market where most of RIM's growth experienced in the last 3-4 years. In north america BB is huge, not just in the enterprise but consumers use it for txt, voice, email, but the biggest application is Blackberry Messenger.

Comment by nzsouthernman, on 30-Apr-2010 16:05

I'm a BlackBerry user, and also an admin of many BES servers in the corporate market.

As an admin I've found BB's to be the easiest to deploy & remotely support devices over and above everything else. Over the years I've personally had Windows Mobile devices, Palm based smartphones & Nokia's with S60 and I support and look after iPhones & every other kind of smartphone out there that my customers want to connect.

My customers management *love* the ability to track *everything* that their staff do with their mobiles - all texts, all calls everything is recorded and backed up at the BES server end. Brilliant.

The staff love the fact that when their BB is stolen at a bar it can be remotely wiped, and then all they have to do is get a new one from a retail outlet, get a new SIM hooked up and a one-time password is all that's needed to get *all* their settings back from the BES server.

iPhone/Palm/WinMobile - way more support needed for end users when bad things happen to them overseas.

Just my $.02 worth.

Author's note by ald, on 3-May-2010 10:23

Kiwi, Dael, thanks for your comments.  Dael, there's no denying that BB has great attraction to the enterprise and its not surprising when you take into account the roll call of features you mention.  Other platforms serious about taking on BB in the enterprise have a lot of work to do.

Comment by johnr, on 3-May-2010 21:58

Blackberry BES is king for push email

Comment by Dwight Walker, on 7-May-2010 20:47

BlackBerry is secure end-to-end so good for government and corporates.

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Aaron Davidson
New Zealand

Co-founder and CEO of SimWorks - New Zealands leading developer of mobile applications.

SimWorks Anti-Virus protects over 1.5 million mobile phones around the world everyday.

SimWorks phone backup enables mobile operators to protect their subscribers mobile phone contacts and provide their subscribers with unique and compelling new ARPU boosting services.

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