Technologizer posts about RIM

How to Fix RIM: The Twitter Take

By  |  Posted at 11:33 am on Monday, January 23, 2012

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Over at Twitter, I asked folks to say what they’d do if they ran RIM. I asked them to be constructive, not snarky. And they came up with lots of sensible possibilities. Thorsten Heins, are you listening?

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Good analysis by MocoNews’s Tom Krazit of the challenges facing RIM’s new CEO–and it ends with a great quote from IBM’s Lou Gerstner:

No institution will go through fundamental change unless it believes it is in deep trouble and needs to do something different to survive.

Posted by Harry at 10:37 am

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Uh oh: RIM’s new CEO is saying he doesn’t “think a drastic change is needed.” (What does he know that we don’t know?)

Peter Kafka of All Things D reports:

Research In Motion isn’t broken, so no need to break it up. But it needs better internal focus, and better external focus, too.

That’s the takeaway from new RIM CEO Thorsten Heins, who told analysts this morning that he thinks the company is in pretty good shape, all things considered. Sure, in the U.S., it has been roughed up by Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android, but it’s still used by lots of people, has lots of fans in big companies and big government agencies, and lots of users around the world.

Posted by Harry at 9:09 am

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RIM’s CEO Swap is No Reboot

By  |  Posted at 12:10 am on Monday, January 23, 2012

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After God-knows-how-many months of incessant wondering about how long beleaguered RIM co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie could keep their jobs, the tech blogosophere can move onto other topics. Both gents are stepping down from their day-to-day leadership roles–they’ll remain directors–to make way for Thorsten Heins, formerly the company’s COO (he was one of two of them). Barbara Stymiest, currently a member of the board, will become its new chairman.

The company has posted a video in which Heins talks about his new gig:

If Heins isn’t prepared to speak eloquently about the road ahead quite yet, that doesn’t mean that he’s clueless or that he won’t do a good job. I also understand why he might be inclined to say nice things about Lazaridis, Balsillie, and the RIM team. I’ll even cut the company slack for the spin it’s putting on the executive change, which is that it’s happening because RIM is doing so well, not because it’s in trouble.

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This Dumb Year: The 52 Lamest Moments in Tech 2011

If you like botched products, corporate mishaps, and just plain weirdness, you had a fabulous 2011.

By  |  Posted at 6:17 am on Friday, December 30, 2011

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Americans, as Winston Churchill famously pointed out, can be counted on to do the right thing–after exhausting all other possibilities. It’s the same deal with tech companies. The wonders they bring us are many, varied, and never-ending, but they’ve always been accompanied by an equally rich assortment of misadventures and wrongheaded ideas. The successes and failures feed off each other, propelling the entire industry forward in herky-jerky, unpredictable fashion.

It may just be me, but I can’t remember many years as peculiar as 2o11 turned out to be for this business. Even demonstrably gifted and sensible people like Netflix’s Reed Hastings seemed to fall victim to a fever that made them do strange, ill-advised things. I hope that 2012 is a tad less weird, but 2011 has been fascinating to cover, and never, ever boring.

In hallowed Technologizer tradition, it’s time to recap the year in dumb. Celebrities, corporate intrigue, sex, violence–they’re all here. Gird yourself, people: Things are about to get really stupid.

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In a New York Times story by Ian Austen, RIM says it’s not sure how many different BlackBerry models it sells:

Features have proliferated on BlackBerrys as part of RIM’s move to the broader consumer market, and so have the number of models. Since 2007, RIM has introduced 37 models. The company, in a statement, said it did not know how many models were on the market.

The company with the most phones doesn’t win; the ones with the best phones do.

Posted by Harry at 9:24 am

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RIM is now saying that chip problems have delayed the first next-generation BlackBerry phones until last 2012–almost six years after the iPhone was announced. PaidContent’s Tom Krazit has a good, angry post on the news and the company’s generally sad condition.

Posted by Harry at 10:52 am

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BlackBerry: Vision Needed

By  |  Posted at 8:00 am on Wednesday, October 19, 2011

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RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis at DevCon.

I don’t mean to be painfully Pollyannaish, but I’m almost glad that RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis didn’t announce any new products or other major news at the keynote during its DevCon conference in San Francisco, which I attended on Tuesday morning. A year ago, at the 2010 edition of the event, he unveiled the PlayBook tablet. I got all excited. When it finally shipped months later, it was tremendously disappointing.

This year, the upcoming products that matter for RIM are the first BlackBerry phones based on the company’s new QNX-based operating system–which Lazaridis did say will be called BBX, and which will presumably come out next year. If RIM had provided a sneak peak at them at DevCon, it wouldn’t have helped matters and might have hurt. All that really matters is that they’re great when they finally come out. Who cares how unfinished versions look in a controlled demo?

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RIM Tries to Make Amends for BlackBerry Outage With Free Apps

By  |  Posted at 1:42 am on Monday, October 17, 2011

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After the worst BlackBerry outage ever–it affected customers around the world last week for up to three days–RIM is trying to make amends. It’s decided to let customers download a bunch of apps, worth more than $100, for free from the BlackBerry App World store.

They include:

  • SIMS 3 – Electronic Arts
  •  Bejeweled – Electronic Arts
  • N.O.V.A. – Gameloft
  • Texas Hold’em Poker 2 – Gameloft
  • Bubble Bash 2 – Gameloft
  • Photo Editor Ultimate – Ice Cold Apps
  • DriveSafe.ly Pro – iSpeech.org
  • iSpeech Translator Pro – iSpeech.org
  • Drive Safe.ly Enterprise – iSpeech.org
  • Nobex Radio™ Premium – Nobex
  • Shazam Encore – Shazam
  • Vlingo Plus: Virtual Assistant – Vlingo

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The BlackBerry e-mail outage that has been impacting parts of Europe and the Middle East for days has now crept into the U.S. Here’s Ina Fried’s report on a conference call RIM held to (sort of) explain what’s going on.

I’m not an expert on e-mail back-end architecture, and it’s possible that BlackBerry’s overall uptime remains excellent. But these sweeping outages have happened before. Isn’t it a major problem for RIM customers who run their own BlackBerry servers that they’re still so dependent on things working properly up in Canada?

Posted by Harry at 1:00 pm

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BlackBerry PlayBook Sees Kindle Fire, Drops in Price $200

By  |  Posted at 8:36 am on Friday, September 30, 2011

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BlackBerry PlayBook price, come on down, you’re the next—or actually, first—contestant on The Price Wasn’t Right, But We’ll Fix That, in view of the Android-based Kindle Fire, which Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled Wednesday for just $199.

RIM’s PlayBook had been going for between $299 and $499, depending on model, but retailer Best Buy just slashed the price on all three models (16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB) by $200 each. If that sounds like a desperate, reactionary move to you, you wouldn’t be alone: Analysts are saying as much in the Kindle Fire’s wake left and right.

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RIM’s PlayBook isn’t selling well–which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s used one. So the price is coming down. Unfortunately, that doesn’t solve anything: the problem with the PlayBook is that it’s broken, not that it’s too expensive.

RIM says it’s going to fix the most glaring issue–the lack of built-in e-mail–and with any luck, it’ll have more to say at its developer conference next month, which I’ll be attending. I hope it doesn’t do an HP and kill the product. For everything that’s so very wrong about the PlayBook, its problems are ones of execution–and I still think that it’s possible to build a great mobile platform using the PlayBook’s QNX operating system.

Posted by Harry at 1:55 pm

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BGR is full of rumors that are uncannily accurate–and ones that turn out to be false alarms.  So take this story with a jumbo-sized grain of salt for now. But it says that RIM’s first BlackBerry phone based on its QNX operating system will come out in the first quarter of next year, will sport a single-core processors, and won’t support today’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

Posted by Harry at 9:58 am

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RIM’s Osborne Special Edition BlackBerries

By  |  Posted at 7:57 am on Wednesday, August 3, 2011

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AT&T is going to get three new “4G” BlackBerry models: a Bold with a touchscreen and two Torches, including one Torch with a large-ish 3.7″ display. They’ll run the new BlackBerry 7 OS, which RIM says offers “a much smoother and faster BlackBerry experience.”

I wanna give the phones and BlackBerry 7 a chance–and a BlackBerry with both a big display and a slide-out keyboard could be cool. But the new models have a whiff of the Osborne effect about them: RIM is already talking about even newer handsets that sport dual-core processors and software based on the potent QNX-based OS that debuted in its troubled-but-has-potential BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

BlackBerry fans who remain largely happy with the platform might get excited about BlackBerry OS 7. But I suspect that everybody else–phone shoppers who are at least as likely to consider an iPhone, an Android, or even a Windows Phone or WebOS handset–is reserving any potential BlackBerry-induced excitement for the future QNX models. Which aren’t available yet. (At this point, 2012 seems likely.) Why get too emotionally attached to a next-generation platform that we already know will become a last-generation platform before too long?

My personal barometer remains simple: We’ll know that RIM is in solid shape when there’s a new BlackBerry that Lance Ulanoff is enthusiastic about.



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Back in May, I said that RIM’s biggest challenge was releasing new BlackBerry models that would please Lance Ulanoff, editor of PCMag.com and long-time BlackBerry user. Too late! Lance, who’s about to leave his PCMag gig, says he’s bought his last BlackBerry.

Posted by Harry at 9:00 am

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It’s always sensible to be skeptical when you read news reports based on anonymous sources. But BGR’s story on the troubles at BlackBerry maker RIM–which has juicy tidbits like the statement that founder Mike Lazaridis once said there’d never be a BlackBerry with a camera or a music player–is a fascinating read.

Posted by Harry at 12:08 pm

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