Tag: RIM

BlackBerry vs. iPhone: beauty matters

Monday, 25 May, 2015 0 Comments

When the iPhone first appeared in 2007, senior management at RIM were convinced that their customers valued the iconic BlackBerry keyboard far more than the innovative Apple touchscreen. The mobile business was about security and efficiency instead of novelty and entertainment, they believed. In the Wall Street Journal, Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff examine this fatal shortsightedness in The Inside Story of How the iPhone Crippled BlackBerry. Snippet:

‘By all rights the product should have failed, but it did not,’ said David Yach, RIM’s chief technology officer. To Mr. Yach and other senior RIM executives, Apple changed the competitive landscape by shifting the raison d’être of smartphones from something that was functional to a product that was beautiful.

‘I learned that beauty matters… RIM was caught incredulous that people wanted to buy this thing,’ Mr. Yach says.”

Did video really kill the radio star? Tech historians still debate that question, but they are less divided by this fact: The inability of RIM to combine seamless internet access with an aesthetically pleasing experience mortally wounded the BlackBerry.

BlackBerry


The rights and wrongs of Big Data visualization

Tuesday, 1 October, 2013 0 Comments

Let’s start with the wrong way to do it as we have been gifted a perfect example by that fine Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mail. In an exemplary piece of reporting on the RIM nightmare titled Inside the fall of BlackBerry: How the smartphone inventor failed to adapt, readers are offered a pop-up “INFOGRAPHIC” labeled “The roller-coaster ride of BlackBerry’s shares”. Those who click on the thumbnail image get a smudgy JPG image of a graph so totally lacking in interactivity and imagination that one assumes it was created by the very same RIM engineers who have driven BlackBerry to the edge of its cellular grave.

An example of the right way to do data visualization is provided by Natalia Rojas, a “Creative Technologist”, who was born in Buenos Aires and now lives in Miami. Her “Faces of Facebook” maps the profile photos of the social network’s 1,276,388,529 (and counting) users on one web page and is organized from top left to bottom right by the date each user joined. The result is a fascinating interactive image that rewards pixel clicking with a user’s name and position in the Facebook chronology. For example, face #6,145,640 is that of Stuart Knott.

Faces of Facebook

For those challenged by the visualization of Big Data, there’s hope on the horizon. The Danish Design Center will hold “The Big Data Visualization Seminar” on 24 October in Copenhagen. It’s not just Canadian journalists who would benefit from attending. Meanwhile, Al Boardman shows how to take some data about mountains and turn it into something beautiful.


RIM has gone south and will go East

Monday, 28 January, 2013 0 Comments

On Wednesday, in New York City, Research in Motion (RIM) will present the first phones based on its all-new BlackBerry 10 operating system (OS). Given the company’s near-death experience in recent years, these devices will be RIM’s most important products since the first BlackBerry was released in 1999. Since then, 200 million of the devices have been shipped. So Wednesday is a now-or-never moment for “Canada’s signature technology company“, as The Globe and Mail calls it.

Those who know the mobile business say that RIM has left it too late. Its tragedy was the complete denial of the need for a new OS following the introduction of the iPhone in 2007. Six years on, all is changed, “changed utterly“, as the poet said, and the real story now is about who’ll get which cut when the cooked Canadian goose is carved up.

“We are looking at all opportunities — RIM and many others,” Lenovo chief financial officer Wong Wai Ming told Bloomberg. “We’ll have no hesitation if the right opportunity comes along that could benefit us and shareholders.”

But maybe Samsung will pounce. The Koreans have shiploads of money and by buying RIM they’d acquire useful patents and, critically, a foot in the door of the enterprise market. However, if BlackBerry 10 turns out to be good, Sony, which makes excellent hardware, might be keen to get the kind of software that would allow it to become a serious player in the mobile business. RIM has gone south and the prediction here is that it will go East.


Nokia makes phones, but Apple makes money

Wednesday, 11 January, 2012

Has it really been five years since Apple launched the iPhone? Apparently. The “revelation” was on 9 January 2007, but the wide world had to wait until June that year before the magical device was made available to consumers. From the get go, the iPhone was a hit. And, apart from a few tweaks, it’s essentially the same phone today as it was five years ago. The screen size hasn’t changed and the mix of Gorilla glass and aluminium is as compelling now as it was then. In fact, the package is so captivating that Samsung is now making near-perfect copies and flogging them shamelessly as it they were something original. As one wag pointed out recently, Jonathan Ive now leads the design team at the world’s two most profitable phone makers.

Apple iPhone3 As RIM and Nokia look on in desperation, the question everyone’s asking is what will Apple do next. A clue can be found in Walter Isaacson’s magnificent biography of Steve Jobs: “One of Jobs’s business rules was to never be afraid of cannibalizing yourself. ‘If you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will,’ he said. So even though an iPhone might cannibalize sales of an iPod, or an iPad might cannibalize sales of a laptop, that did not deter him.” Jobs launched the iPhone at a time when iPods accounted for nearly half of Apple’s profits, yet a free iPod was a feature of the iPhone. Unsurprisingly, iPod sales have declined since 2007. But the success of the iPhone has made up for the loss. Interestingly, the iPod was five years old when Apple launched the iPhone so, if form is any kind of indicator, this should be the year when Apple gets back to cannibalizing its children.