Tag Archives | RIM BlackBerry

Foodspotting: It’s Not Just for Food Photographers Anymore

Until now, I’ve thought of Foodspotting mostly as an iPhone app which my wife uses to share photos of her meal when we dine out. She loves it. So do enough other people that a million pictures have been uploaded since the app’s launch, making it feel a bit like an Instagram that’s entirely devoted to things you can eat..

But there’s probably a limit to how many folks there are in the world who want to obsessively photograph food. So the new version of Foodspotting that launched this week is designed to broaden the app’s appeal. The photo sharing’s still there–but it feels more like one feature in an app whose primary purpose is to let large numbers of people find and see the best dishes at local restaurants before they place an order.

The new Foodspotting lets you browse popular dishes at nearby restaurants, or pull up a “picture menu” of a specific eatery. Lists of picks from media outlets such as Zagat’s and New York magazine supplement the recommendations from Foodspotting users. And there’s a section of Specials–which consisted of 50% discounts at several restaurants when I checked–which is the start of Foodspotting’s strategy for making money.

With its new emphasis on finding places to go and stuff to eat, Foodspotting feels a bit more like a competitor to traditional sources of restaurant reviews such as Yelp. But the similarities don’t run deep. Foodspotting still focuses on pictures and thumbs-up ratings, not full-blown critiques. And there’s no way to steer other users away from disappointing dishes by giving anything a thumbs down.

Judging from my experience so far, Foodspotting also doesn’t have a Yelplike critical mass of content practically everywhere. At the moment, I’m in Newton Corner, Massachusetts–not exactly a hotbed of fine dining–and only see a few photos from a few restaurants. Yelp, however, has dozens of nearby establishments that have dozens of reviews apiece. (Back home in food-centric San Francisco, Foodspotting is a much richer resource.)

Of course, one of the goals of the new version is to ramp up more quickly. If it works, the app, which was already lots of fun, will be even more fun, and much more useful.

Foodspotting is available for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry; the iPhone and Android editions are the first two to become available in this updated version.


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How to Fix RIM: The Twitter Take

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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Krazit on RIM

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.


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RIM’s New Boss: Stay the Course

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.


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RIM’s CEO Swap is No Reboot

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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Too Many BlackBerries

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.


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RIM’s Chances: Dim

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.


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BlackBerry: Vision Needed

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

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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RIM’s BlackBerry Outage is Getting Worse, Not Better

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?


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