RIM's BlackBerry OS 6 may be too late to fend off Apple
New browser and revamped interface not enough
RIM has been under rising pressure to deliver a significant update to its ageing operating system, so it came as no surprise that BlackBerry OS 6.0 was unveiled at its Wireless Enterprise Symposium this week. The upgraded OS will be officially launched in the third quarter and claims to be the biggest refresh in several years, though details remain fairly limited and there are still serious doubts that it will be able to prevent Apple ousting RIM from its second position in the smartphone segment.
As expected, it will tap into the trend for the browser to morph into the OS, and for most apps to run in the browser and with constant access to the cloud. Successful implementation could put RIM in the forefront of this trend, leapfrogging the iPhone and Android, though having an advanced open web/browser strategy has not done Palm's webOS too much good. But it will be important to remain relevant as cloud-oriented mobile platforms like Google Chrome OS and Nokia/Intel MeeGo emerge.
As well as the improved WebKit browser, BlackBerry OS 6.0 will have a whole new and more intuitive user interface, according to co-CEO Mike Lazaridis. This will include greater support for homescreens that can be customized by the user or operator, more focus on widgets, and a revamped media player, all of these changes being applicable to touchscreen and trackball devices. Lazaridis said: "We're trying to update the UI and fix the stuff that people wanted us to fix."
All this should help BlackBerry devices look more like iPhones or Androids, and help with RIM's bid to gain significant market share among high-end consumers, to add to its traditional enterprise base. The first step will be to build new momentum around the BlackBerry developer platform and application store, which has so far generated little enthusiasm. RIM has always said it would focus on quality not quantity in its BlackBerry App World store, but must have hoped for more than the 6,000 apps it currently houses.
RIM says the store now numbers almost one million downloads a day and it will work to make it easier for developers to create software for its platform, though it cannot escape the view, held by many, that it needs to go open source in order to keep programmers interested and hold its own in the world of Android and open Symbian. It remains to be seen whether its new OS does more than just play catch-up in areas like UI and multimedia - or whether RIM needs to accept that its consumer appeal has largely peaked, and its strength will remain in the business world.
To sum up the key promised features, BlackBerry OS 6.0 will come with the updated graphical UI, which extends the black OS 5.0 theme with new animations; the new browser, with multiple sessions and tabbed browsing; multiple views for apps, such as 'favorites' and 'media'; context sensitive pop-up menus; multitouch, including pinch-to-zoom in the browser and photos; universal search; a new app to draw on feeds from both RSS and social media; the updated media player. Most of BlackBerry's core apps will be redesigned for 6.0.
Copyright © 2010, Wireless Watch
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Too late to fend off Apple?
... it already is ... Apples momentum slackened off end last year with RIM taking market share and Apple sliding?
RIM - 8.2m units sold - 19% market share
Apple - 7.4m units sold - 17.1 % market share
RIM - 10.7m units sold - 19.6% market share
Apple - 8.7m units sold - 16% market share
I think the sales analysis (thanks IDC) show that Apple's stealing market share from Nokia and RIM peaked in Q3 2009 and then ran out of steam in Q4 2009.
Of course you can argue it is unfair as Apple has a one product offering - but the truth is Apple lives and dies by selling new high value niche products and for them to continue to grow market share here at the expense of Nokia and RIM is by releasing their next iPhone.
But to suggest that RIM *has* to do something to fend off Apple is to argue against the stats (and numerous market reports) that indicate that they ALREADY ARE ... since Q3 2009, RIM (& Nokia) have been growing market share and Apple faltering in their march.
BB OS 5 works just fine, one of the best and easiest I've ever used and I've used most brands out there. I just like the fact it works very well as a phone - novel concept that one!! And does everything else well too. Still, the refresh looks good and should lead to some keyboard + touch screen devices which will be a perfect combo.
Smartphones - More Thank One Market
Yay, El Reg write story about mobile so drop in mandatory reference to iPhone (I remember the good old days when everything on El Reg made a reference to the size of Wales...).
This article not only ignores the facts RegisterThis pointed out but also blandly treats the smartphone market as a single entity. Quite simply it isn't any more.
At one end you have the toy smartphones, like the iPhone and to an extent the Android phones. People don't buy them to use as smartphones but because they are shiny, cool and/or geeky. Said owners then do a spot of web browsing but mainly play games on their phones.
At the other end you have the tool smartphones, like the Blackberry. People don't tend to buy these at all, their companies buy them. These owners then do a spot of web browsing but mainly keep on top of emails and their work schedules.
For Blackberry, etc their market growth comes from both on-going handset replacement and the increased spread within businesses - partly people wanting one because their co-worker does and partly work realising they can get their drones to work more or less 24/7 without paying them any more.
For the iPhone, etc they probably have more or less peaked in terms of active ownership numbers, in my opinion. Yes, they will still continue to sell a bucket full of phones but they will generally be selling the newest iPhone to the owners of an older iPhone. Lets face it, if you WANT an iPhone you have probably got one by now and if you don't you probably aren't going to suddenly see the light and be converted to the church of shiny.
Why are Apple in the title of this story?
They don't seem any more relevant than Symbian, Android, etc. And I thought all Blackberrys taken together were still outselling all iPhones taken together?
When you use a blackberry is it because:
1) Your company gave it to you.
2) You bought it knowing what you bought.
3) You bought it and have no clue.
If you're of the 1st type, you do not care, you may like it or not, your company bought it so you get the corporate email, updates to the OS and what can you run on the phone depends on two factors, how old the blackberry is, and how good the IT dep is. Corporates may find easier to keep buying new blackberries just because it is easier to do so, rather than jump the boat. So they're moderately loyal, and change blackberries every two or three years.
If you belong to the second type, you absolutely love your blackberry, you run the latest OS, and even knowing that an Iphone-like is better for the silly stuff, your blackberry is very convenient and they will take it away from your dead cold hands. You know its pros and cons. You're very loyal and will buy another blackberry, although you won't buy it tomorrow, you will buy it in the next two to three years, and maybe like me, you'll buy it once the old one breaks. But when you buy a new one, it will be probably high end model.
If you belong to the third type, no matter what, you'll think that the iphone-like or (whatever new market fashion) is great, you'll regret buying the blackberry, and more likely you won't buy another blackberry unlike it is even more flashy that the one being shown on tv.
So whatever happens, anyone having to spend more than £200 on a BBRY smart phone, won't be buying them in quantities, nor they will do it often. So I do not know how RIM or anyone else for that matter could expect to have a big market increase overnight.