Yesterday’s article had a great response from BlackBerry Cool readers, and it’s important to follow up with some points to consider. Special thanks goes out to Peter Werry from Multiplied Media for help with the article.
On RIM and the Consumer Space
It’s important to note that the consumer space is getting an incredible amount of internal focus at RIM. This is evidenced by the fact that RIM refer to themselves as “BlackBerry” rather than “RIM” at trade shows, they release numerous updates for App World, and they have expanded the BlackBerry Developer Conference to almost twice what it was last year. Last quarter alone, we saw RIM nearly double their total sales in the consumer space. All signs are pointing towards the consumer space being a key market for the smartphone industry and RIM isn’t about to ignore it.
On Security and the BlackBerry Browser
In everything they do, RIM never forgets that security and reliability are the key to a successful enterprise product. However, just because there needs to be a focus on those two features doesn’t necessarily mean the browser and other aspects of the device have to suffer.
RIM has made public comments about their intentions to improve the browser. TD recently released a speculative report on the subject as well. While security and reliability no doubt remain a key focus of the platform, RIM has made obvious moves towards improving their browser and making it more consumer focused. This is evidenced by their acquisition of Torch Mobile for their WebKit software. We could all agree that RIM’s browser tends to fall short in the consumer world, and we can be fairly confident they will be able to bring it to a level that will make them an industry leader in the mobile browser space once again.
On the Issue of WiFi and Pricing
In yesterday’s article, it was suggested that WiFi is left out as a feature on some devices in order to allow for price flexibility. The truth is that it can actually become more costly for RIM to create two versions of a device, one with and one without WiFi. This is because of the costs associated with developing for different hardware configurations, and the administrative costs of treating them as separate entities. The decisions to go with or without WiFi are mainly driven by the carrier. Generally, RIM is very constrained by carrier demands.
On the Topic of App World
A few BlackBerry Cool readers have been very adamant that App World has essentially been a development disaster. The theory is that management got freaked out that they were missing some huge opportunities for growth and they pushed the application to release before it was ready. RIM has done a good job of upgrading App World to fix the bugs, but much of this should have been happening before launch.
The question for the future is: will RIM step up its game as it has been doing so far to meet the consumer market demands?
RIM may have to essentially re-write most of their key components, and expose much more of the device capabilities to 3rd party developers. Eventually, it’s all going to come down to which device has the best apps, the best network, and the best device capabilities. Look to the first quarter of next year to see if RIM will continue to lead.