Tag Archives | RIM

BlackBerry PlayBook Sees Kindle Fire, Drops in Price $200

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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PlayBooks for Cheap

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.

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BGR on the First QNX BlackBerry Phone

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.

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RIM’s Osborne Special Edition BlackBerries

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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Inside RIM

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.

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In the Tech Industry, Management Change Comes Slowly

Reuters’ Alastair Sharp has published a story saying that some investors are wondering whether it’s time for a change at the top of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, which is led by Mike Lazaridis (who founded the company in 1984) and Jim Balsillie (who’s been co-CEO since 1992). Sharp’s piece follows a flurry of debate last week about the future of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s president and CEO, who’s been with the company since 1980 and has been CEO since 2000.

I’m not making any predictions about what’s going to happen at either company–except to note that lack of change is usually a more likely outcome than change in these situations, at least in the short term. But the stories got me thinking about the durability of many of the top executives in tech companies. I decided to graph out the management of a few major corporations.

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Android Global Share Quadruples, Passes Symbian

The standard meme when it came to smartphones was that while Android and iOS powered the lion’s share of devices sold here in the US, Nokia’s Symbian was the worldwide king. That logic is now outdated according to data from research firm Gartner.

For the first time, Android has surpassed Symbian in terms of units sold in the first quarter of 2010, making up 36 percent of the market. That is a four-fold increase from the same quarter last year, when it only made up nine percent of all devices sold. Much of Android’s gain came at the expense of Symbian, which fell from 44.2 percent a year ago to 27.4 percent.

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Surprise! Microsoft <3 RIM

I don’t think anyone saw this one coming. This week is the BlackBerry World conference, probably something a lot of us didn’t know (except for Harry maybe?). Well, Steve Ballmer — yes, the CEO of Microsoft — made news at the conference.

The surprise guest of a talk starring president and co-CEO Mike Lazardis, Ballmer was on hand to announce Microsoft has signed a deal with RIM to become the exclusive provider of search and mapping functions on BlackBerry devices. Even more surprising? Bing and Microsoft would find itself deeply integrated into BlackBerry OS 7, coming later this year.

“This  goes way beyond search box,” Ballmer was quoted by ReadWriteWeb as saying to attendees. “It’s about real tools that help real people get things done.” All in all, it really looks like RIM just handed the keys to the services component of the OS right over to the Redmond company.

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