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RIM.... Hmmm... Maybe RIP: Crackberries in the Smart Phone Wars...

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Last week I stated “After Getting a Glimpse of the New Windows Phone 7 Functionality, RIMM is Looking More Like a Short Play“.
I meant it, for the Windows Mobile offering looks to be quite
compelling from a usability and capability perspective. This is an
optimum time to be a smart phone consumer/user, for the competition in
this field is red hot and the technology is available to make the
competition into something that increases the productivity of the
enterprise and consumer alike, not to mention transforming the
entertainment and media landscapes, yet again.

With that being said, I believe RIM is coming up short in the
consumer space, and is losing technological advantage in the enterprise
space. No, Apple and Android are not ready to attack Blackberry in the
server connectivity space just yet, but Microsoft is a totally different
scenario. Expect Windows Mobile 7 to be a literal extension of
Exchange/Sharepoint/Windows/Office servers. Combine this with the fact
that Microsoft, Apple and Android all trounce Blackberry in the consumer
space in terms of functionality and hopefully all can see where RIM has
a serious problem.

Yeah, I know RIM just announced their new Blackberry OS6 on top of
their new “iPhone killer” hardware – the Torch. Notice, the only device
to date that can actually qualify as an iPhone killer (the HTC Evo) was
never marketed as such? So, how does the Torch hold up and does it
reduce my proclivity to call Blackberry a potential short? Let’s see
from a feature perspective. Remember the old saying, “The blacker the
berry, the sweeter the juice”? Well the same applies to the chart below.
The darker the shading, the more favorable the asset. Subscribers, this
chart takes precedent over the one included in the Apple business
strategy document, File Icon Apple business model note. This also ties in with File Icon Apple iPhone Profit Margin Scenario Analysis Model.

As you can see, from a relative perspective, the Torch is:

  • relatively underpowered with an anemic processor
  • relatively sparse in the RAM department
  • less resolute in its display WITH a smaller screen
  • compromised in its video capabilities
  • less endowed with i/o and radio functions
  • equipped with a small batter.

Of course, one cannot adequately judge a phone from a spreadsheet.
You really have to use it for some time to get a real feel for what it
can do. Even so, the “Crackberry” addicts even take issue with it. If
your own fan base can’t support you, you have a problem. Here is a
review from the Boy Genius website. Go to the site and peruse the comments to get a feel of the Blackberry owners perspective.

  • The hardware (casing, build quality, feel) is typical RIM — it’s great. Very solid, actually a bit heavy, but a very good feel. The sliding mechanism is top notch.
  • The software is typical RIM — uninspired, old, clunky sometimes, and cluttered. Even with the new UI elements in OS 6, we experienced choppiness in the web browser, hangs navigating between screens, and a general feeling of well… claustrophobia on occasion. The simplified BlackBerry now sort of feels like too much has been added without thinking of the ramifications.
  • The keyboard is perfect — just like a Bold 9700, and it seems to not be dug in the slider mechanism, unlike the Palm Pre.
  • The internals of the BlackBerry Torch 9800 are disappointing. From the 624MHz CPU to only 512MB of RAM, to (sorry, confused RAM with built-in storage) the 1300mAh battery, it has us a little worried as it feels like the hardware is pushed to the max. On a brand new phone. That’s not even out yet.
  • The screen is laughable. For a company that is always “planning three years out” they surely didn’t get the memo that a 480×360, poor, poor LCD wasn’t going to cut it in 2010. That’s the focal point of the entire device, and it makes you feel outdated out of the gate.

All in all, we came away with mixed emotions. On one hand, OS 6 is a much better UI leap from OS 5 than OS 5 was to OS 4, but it still feels a bit not thought out. On the other hand, the device seems like it will continue to excel at specific functions, mainly email, any sort of text-based messaging, etc. My personal thought so far is: this is a stop gap device for current BlackBerry users… and that’s an issue. iPhone 4 or recent Android owners won’t be lusting after the 9800, and that’s never a good thing. We have some images in our gallery for you BlackBerry fanatics to drool over!



I doubt very seriously if this device will be able to stem RIM’s US
market share slide, and they face a tough battle abroad, particularly in
east Asia, one or the largest potential markets.

Still, despite all mentioned above, I thoroughly applaud RIM for
sticking to their enterprise security, something that the other players
have yet to even develop to such an extent – RIM Refuses to Disclose Codes as BlackBerry Faces Indonesian, Saudi Bans.

Click here to download (File Icon Apple iPhone Profit Margin Scenario Analysis Model), and click here to subscribe. Starting next week I will produce substantial forensic analysis with sensitivity and scenario analysis for  subscribers
to give valuations for Google, Apple, Microsoft and RIM along a variety
of market win/loss events. The RIM report should be very interesting.
Additional must read portable computing commentary and analysis:

  1. There Is Another Paradigm Shift Coming in Technology and Media: Apple, Microsoft and Google Know its Winner Takes All
  2. The Mobile Computing and Content Wars: Part 2, the Google Response to the Paradigm Shift
  3. An Introduction to How Apple Apple Will Compete With the Google/Android Onslaught
  4. This article should drive the point home:
  5. A First in the Mainstream Media: Apple’s Flagship Product Loses In a Comparison Review to HTC’s Google-Powered Phone
  6. After Getting a Glimpse of the New Windows Phone 7 Functionality, RIMM is Looking More Like a Short Play
  7. Android is gaining preference as the long-term choice of application developers
  8. A Glimpse of the BoomBustBlog Internal Discussion Concerning the Fate of Apple
  9. Math and the Pace of Smart Phone Innovation May Take a Byte Out of Apple’s (Short-lived?) Dominance
  10. Apple on the Margin

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