BlackBerry phones are thought to be among the safest in the world. Almost all politicians use them. But nevertheless, RIM has reported a very big drop in sales and revenues (about 40%) in comparison with the previous year, and this tendency has been observed for several years already. Besides, the release of new Blackberry 10 has been delayed up to the beginning of 2013, the sales of Blackberry 7 isn’t at the levels wanted, the company has to cut up to five thousand job places. The chain of total misfortunes has followed RIM for the past time. So, many specialists say that Blackberry is dying. Is it so? What can RIM do to improve its prospects?
Today RIM has several possible solutions, but all of them require total change in company’s work and specialization. And here they are:
Licensing RIM software to other companies. One of the possible ways for RIM to get out of the crisis is to let other companies to use its Blackberry operation system. It may lead to the increase of the popularity of the OS (just like it was with Android) when people will get a chance to choose among different hardware solutions.
Sale or license of the patents. It may be a good variant to let other corporations to use the patents, but it won’t make any contribution to innovative development of RIM what can lead to the further drop of the positions. It may happen just because money isn’t the most important thing in mobile development today; it is more for innovations in this sphere. Who is smarter gets more profit.
Focus on hardware development. It is quite opposite solution to the first one mentioned.As a variant RIM can start developing good hardware with installing some other operating systems, like Android or Windows Mobile (the latter would be more reasonable as the number of manufacturers that develop phones for Windows Mobile isn’t very big now and the niche isn’t taken yet).
Selling of RIM. Of course, it is the worst variant of all, but if there are no changes in the situation, the owners will have to do it. However, it would mean the end of Blackberry as a trend.
No matter what decision is taken, the era of great changes for everyone who is somehow connected to RIM is coming. Let’s hope that these changes will be for good and we will see Blackberry phones in top 5 of best-selling phones in the world accompanied by iOS, Android and Windows Mobile phones.
I love the technology industry. It is a really great area to write about, as it is constantly changing. Every day, new technologies and methods are developed and released and there is always something interesting to research.
One thing that I do wonder about though, is the consumers constant need for updates.
The iPhone 5
Take the iPhone for example. You can now walk around with a smartphone sat-nav and a global dictionary in your pocket thanks to Apple’s incredible device. There is no doubt that the iPhone is an example of how technology is constantly evolving and changing.
Since mid 2007 when the iPhone was released, there have been five different variations/upgrades of the device released. Six versions of ultimately the same device in the same number of years.
Fair enough, each time their has been a technological upgrade, however can that really be justified?
Technology is a constantly moving and evolving however I am sceptical that consumers always get the best update.
Apple want to sell phones right, so every year (there or thereabouts) they release a new iPhone. Samsung do the same, as do RIM (owner of Blackberry) and most other smartphone manufacturers.
What I am not sure about is that every year there is a significant enough technological upgrade to warrant the release a new device. So how do Apple do it then? How do they roll out a new phone with ‘cutting edge’ new features every year?
It is my belief that some of the technology in the iPhone 5 has been around for a good few number of years now, however Apple have just been holding back on releasing it, so that they can produce more future editions of the phone.
Also, many of the changes are superficial. For example, the screen gets a little bigger, the camera gets an extra few mega-pixels, the storage options increase. All of these updates could have existed in the original iPhone, however it would have meant that there were fewer tweaks Apple could make to the phone in the future. Why not design a good phone now and not release another until there is enough new technology to justify it?
Within three days of the release of the iPhone 5, people around the world had bought over 5 million. Apple shares rose sharply, and the brand received a big boost. It was a great move by Apple, however are they not cheating the consumer?
In around a year I expect Apple will release another iPhone, and most of the technology and developments that it will contain are probably already in existence and ready to use, however Apple will have decided not to put them in the latest iPhone, so that they have something to put in the next release.
Would it not be better if Apple released an iPhone every three years? That way each phone could be a massive technological leap from the last, rather than just a slight upgrade.
I think it would be better, the consumer would get the best technology available at the time, and wouldn’t have to worry about the device being outdated in a few months. But Apple would probably not see as many sales, over the three years, by releasing just one rather than three phones.
What are your thoughts, are the big firms cheating us? Do we really need as many updates as often as we get them, or would bigger less frequent upgrades be better?
For the past month or so, Samsung and Apple have dominated headlines with their patent trial. Such a case was probably inevitable – how many ways can you design a smartphone? – but any such case would inevitably gather daily headlines. After all, it was Apple and its iconic iPhone vs. Samsung and its status as world’s largest smartphone manufacturer. They’re both kings of the industry in their own ways. Yet they could have a competitor breathing down their necks before they know it.
Lenovo has been around for a while, and in their time they’ve made some waves in the laptop sector. Remember the IBM Thinkpad? In the late 90s and early 00s it seemed as though everyone had one. When IBM exited the consumer electronics business, they sold the brand to Lenovo, who have continued to the line to this day. They’re not quite as ubiquitous these days – the MacBook has taken over the role of the Thinkpad – but it’s still a high-quality Windows offering. In fact, it’s one of the main ways in which Lenovo competes with Apple.
ThinkPads being used on the International Space Station.
The present: laptops
Let’s face it: laptops won’t be around forever. They’ve evolved to get smaller and smaller, but the latest round of laptops appears to be their evolutionary end. The only way to make them smaller is to remove the hinge, and when you remove the hinge from a laptop you don’t really have a laptop at all anymore. Still, the latest round of laptops, dubbed Ultrabooks, has made quite an impression on the market.
Apple started this trend years ago with the MacBook Air, but that model went through a few generations before it became a viable product. Once Apple got it down other companies followed. Lenovo got right on the trend, coming out with two lines: the ThinkPad, that business-class continuation of the IBM line, and the IdeaPad, a ligthweight, affordable Ultrabook meant for the consumer market. They are directly comparable to the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air.
The difference, of course, comes in the price. The 13.3-inch IdeaPad runs more than $450 cheaper than the 13-inch MacBook Air, and more than $250 cheaper than the 11-inch MacBook Air. The ThinkPad compares even better to the MacBook Pro. The Apple faithful might not have much of a need for a different line of laptops, but the average consumer can benefit greatly here. Fact is, most people simply do not need a Mac. PCs can do pretty much the same, and oftentimes more. The saved dollars can go towards products of the future.
The future: tablets
To complete the thought above, when you remove the hinge from a laptop you don’t have a laptop. You have a tablet. While tablets aren’t quite to the level of replacing laptops, they’re certainly travelling that path. Just take a look at the super-thin keyboard cover for the Microsoft Surface. The writing is pretty much on the wall. Soon enough manufacturers will deliver laptops that make us look at laptops like clunky relics of the past.
In this territory, Apple is the undisputed king. People often ask me for advice on buying a tablet. They’ll ask, “is the new iPad worth it? Or should I get an Android tablet?” And I tell them that no, the new iPad isn’t really worth it; the iPad 2 is the second-best tablet on the market, and you can find it at a significant discount. Android tablets just aren’t there yet. But Lenovo has an idea.
First, they’ve put down the idea of competing with Apple on features. Samsung did this with the Galaxy Tab 10.1, pricing it at the same as the iPad. Seeing the two products next to each other, who was going to choose the Galaxy Tab? Lenovo has dipped below the iPad’s $500 base price. They’ve also differentiated, offering four different tablets: three Idea Tablets, ranging from 7 to 10.1 inches, and a ThinkPad tablet, designed for business.
Again, Android has a ways to go when it comes to tablets. But it appears that Lenovo has something going with its segmented offerings and skinned Android interfaces.
Smartphones in the offing?
It would be interesting to see if Lenovo decided to compete on all levels by offering a smartphone. It seems as though everyone’s doing it these days, and with AT&T and Verizon supposedly pushing customers away from the iPhone there might be an opening here. And again there’s a chance for Lenovo to segment its offerings, using Android for consumer and BlackBerry 10 for enterprise.
Yes, BlackBerry is something of an afterthought these days, but they do appear to have a strong offering with their BlackBerry 10 operating system. Problem is, they might need some licensing help to get it off the ground. Lenovo, which already has inroad to enterprise customers, could combine with RIM, which is – or at least was – the enterprise leader. On the other side, creating Android smartphones shouldn’t be such a big deal.
Yet the competition issue comes into play here, too. Apple dominates its own little space, which consumes quite a large portion of the overall market. Samsung seemingly dominates the Android space. No one really dominates the Android tablet space, though, because it hardly exists. But if carriers really are pushing Android smartphones, there could be opportunity there.
Age of the smart consumer
I’d like to believe that we’ll soon enter the era of the smart consumer: one not dominated by fads and iconic brands, but rather by utility. The average consumer does not need a Mac, yet might feel as though they need one because everyone else has one. In truth, many other companies can fit the bill. Lenovo fits right in there.
And if you don’t need a product and can save money buying a comparable one, doesn’t that make the most sense? Wouldn’t it be more sensible to buy a $700 laptop and a $400 tablet for less than you’d spend on just a MacBook Air comparable to the other laptop? It makes sense to me.