Andrew grapples with Android in readers' Mailbag

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The thing to remember about RIM is that the US didn't really adopt SMS for a long time. The Blackberry became the text-messaging perk of having a white collar job. Even after it became possible to use generic standard hardware and operators to do messaging, people held on tight to their Blackberrys, and Blackberry servers.

Well, it's a theory.

What a bunch of bunk!!

Why doesn't the register open a comments section, so that people can actually comment on articles (critique and expose flaws or counterarguments).

Seriously, what a bunch of bunk.


Thanks Doug. You make a persuasive case.

Hello Andrew,

I just finished reading the article you wrote title Why Android wont worry RIM and Apple, and I have to say, its some of the worst written lopsided trash I have ever read.

You do realize that Android has already overtaken Apple in market share done you? As evident by the link here.

Moving on from that, while it may not stifle the sales of Apple or RIM, it will do very well on its own. Apple will always have the fanbois that by every gadget with a fruit on it that hits the market. RIM, while not as fancy, caters more towards business persons. Both are niche groups. Large niche groups, but niche none the less.

"Android is new. It hasn't experienced the problems that Symbian experienced, because manufacturers are throwing new models out of factories as fast as they can, and haven't really noticed where they land".

That has to be the work of pure comedic genius right there. No seriously. I guess that you don't use, or understand the working of Android at all. For instance. The first Android, better known as the G1 came out in October of 2008. So the OS has been in the wild for almost two years now. Sure, it just went mainstream in the last year, but that's really not what you said now was it. In comparison, the iPhone is on its 4th revision making it only 4 years old. So, I guess at 2 you can be considered "New", but after 4 years you're established? Apple pushes out a new iPhone every year. Your only choices are limited to how much memory you want your device to have. That's all of what, 3 choices theses days?

Meanwhile, there are many phone manufactures putting out Android devices. HTC, Samsung, Motorola, Dell... just to name a few. Many of the first main stream Androids to hit the market were baseline models, with comparable specs to that of the original G1. As the popularity of the devices grew, so did the demand for better high end devices. Like the HTC EVO, Samsungs Galaxy S line (including the Epic). All with specs that rival, and in some cases shame, the iPhone 4. I guess you have never went without and wouldn't understand the need to make devices that cover the range of affordable to seriously who would pay for all that? Which is yet one more reason for different models.

"My confidence in Apple rests on its comparative advantage in the user experience (UX) - it's still streets ahead of the rivals in ease of use. If you don't believe me, try a test with someone who has a new, rival touchscreen phone; invite them to change the wallpaper or the ringtone."

Really? Let me tell you have easy it is to change the wallpaper on an Android. Just in case you aren't familiar with it. I can use the "Menu" button and look, there is an option for WALLPAPER. That's tough huh? Easy of use? Really. Its a touchscreen. How hard is it to drag your finger across the screen?. The app tray is easy enough to understand. I'm willing to bet that if you pair person that has never used an iPod/Touch/Phone or an Android, they would fair just was well with either device. The ease of use is just as, if not easier, than it is with the iPhone, and its not locked down.

I wont even enter into discussion with you about RIM. Ive seen, and used the Torch and its junk. It may be better than the BB Bold, but the person that had it came from a standard blackberry and still couldn't figure out how to access her email. Not to mention that the BB Torch had to have a price drop after its first week of being on sale. Perhaps maybe the next time you write an article you actually familiarize yourself with everything in which you are writing about instead of what you think you know.


Thanks, Gene  

What I was struggling to understand is what awe-inspiring features where supposed to be on display in that demo of TBMSOTY. The ability to create groups of contacts ? Having messages scrolled and interlaced ? Providing an easy way to inform the entire universe that you had a shit 10 minutes ago and are now eating a cheese sandwich ?

I'd suggest the first two have been around for a while now (and _not_ led to world domination for anyone, yet) and the last is off dubious value to most folk even if it _were_ difficult to do elsewhere. These are the non-funky things I guess you're talking about.. ?... and ... what ? These are compelling, unique features... really ?

That aside, what else did I miss from the video I wonder... ooooooooh yes. Letting people know what i'm listening to.


No. Wait a minute - it's not is it ? Even you, I think, are conceding that.

Which leaves us with bar-code reading.... unique ? Nah. New ? Nah. Useful ? Not in my circles but - i'm willing to concede - perhaps other know the reality of the world better than I as to why this is such a sensation.

So to summarise what i've gleaned from the video, and badly quoting from someone, I forget who (Enrico Fermi ?)

"There is much which is original and good - unfortunately that which is original is not good, and that which is good is not original"

Tim Parker

That's completely missing the point, Tim. BBM isn't cool because of any of those features, and nor are those features really new, either. We probably agree on that.

But it doesn't matter.

What makes BBM important is that it's the UI for the entire phone. It's an active list of people to call, and who are responding to messages. To a BBM user, everything else on the phone is just a "setting" - or just a means to an end. You need to watch them do it.

As someone who works deep in the industry, I (personally) believe you're wrong about RIM's chances of survival.

The fact that Android is extremely easy (and cheap) for OEMs to drop onto phones is a huge plus; as you say, we're seeing a lot of devices coming out, and there's nothing (except perhaps Ellison) on this horizon to dampen that.

Thing is, these devices, viewed objectively, are good smartphones; Android has a number of nice features, webkit, integration, apps, etc, and buyers genuinely like them and see them as a huge step up from their previous device which is often a 2007-era feature-phone.

Sure, iPhone is gorgeous, and is hard to compete against - but the landscape is dramatically different now to when the iPhone launched, and almost entirely because of Android - you can hardly argue that RIM, Symbian or Microsoft have produced anything convincing in response to Apple.

Don't you think that Android has already surpassed Blackberry OS?  In terms of features, bling and usability it appears to have beaten WinMo and Symbian and all the other remaining mobile OSes with a big stick.

How will RIM compete with Android? Their entire stack software stack is based on 2000-era J2ME technology with lots of customization. It's slow, antiquated, feature-poor and clunky compared to Android, AND proprietary AND apps are not readily portable to/from any other popular platform. (Unlike Android which now has NDK, making ports of high-end iPhone games rather straightforward, see Gameloft's stuff)

RIM can't beat 'em and they won't join 'em*, so they're dead.

I am guessing RIM will be a distant memory by 2015

Cheers, DrTune

I remember reading that back in 2001. In fact, I remember writing that back in 2001. RIM was once a pager company unable to adapt to voice. Doomed! Then RIM was a proprietary enterprise email company with Microsoft gunning for them, with a cheaper alternative. Doomed! Then RIM was trying to crack the consumer market with the most unfashionable reputation imaginable. Doomed! Then RIM was taking its creaky biplane of an OS into the modern 3G smartphone era, and would be unable to cope. When you're wrong so often, it's worth pausing to ask why.

RIM seems to prove you don't need a highly advanced technical platform to succeed if you can get the HI right.  I wouldn't bet against them, but who knows what we'll be using phones for 2015. They may not be able to cope.

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