To say that the past 12 months have been a bit rocky for RIM and the Blackberry eco-system in general would be grossly understating the obvious. The once great manufacturer has seen record capitol losses and watched its market share slide at an increasing rate. One of several reasons for the slip has been a lack of developers attention for the BlackBerry platform, especially relative to competitors such as iOS and Android. The Blackberry Playbook, RIM’s attempt at entering the tablet world, has floundered for just this reason. Ignoring the myriad other concerns about the company’s current state for the current moment, the lack of apps available for the PlayBook rendered it more or less DOA. Read on for more. More →
Right on schedule — sort of — Research In Motion announced on Tuesday that the first major update for its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is now available for download. The highly anticipated update brings a number of much needed functionality to the PlayBook, but the most notable additions are certainly the arrival of native email, contacts and calendar functionality. BlackBerry Messenger support is still absent from the PlayBook as RIM said it would be, but BlackBerry Bridge has been updated, plenty of new social functionality has been added, RIM’s Android app player is finally on board and video chat has been enhanced as well. We took a hands on look at PlayBook OS 2.0 during the Consumer Electronics Show this past January and we can confidently say that if you own a PlayBook, you should download the new update, which will be delivered over the air, as soon as possible. More →
Research In Motion executivess took the stage during BlackBerry DevCon Europe on Tuesday to clear up a few facts about the company’s success with its BlackBerry App World marketplace. RIM’s new CEO Thorsten Heins said BlackBerry App World is now home to more than 60,000 applications, which is a fraction of what’s available in the Android Market or iTunes App Store, and that BlackBerry devices are among the most popular smartphones purchased in the United Kingdom. RIM’s vice president of developer relations Alec Saunders also said that there are 174 million app downloads per month, or about 6 million applications downloaded per day, The Verge reported. Saunders argued that RIM’s BlackBerry App World has 43% more daily downloads per app than Apple’s own iTunes App Store and he said App World can be more profitable as well — BlackBerry apps supposedly earn about 40% more than their Android counterparts, and 13% of BlackBerry developers have made more than $100,000 from their apps. In addition to the app figures, Saunders and Nokia’s head of Qt announced that RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook OS now supports the Qt developer framework, originally intended for Nokia devices. More →
At last month’s Consumer Electronics Show, Research in Motion previewed the company’s upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 update, which we exclusively reported would land in mid-February. The anticipated update will give PlayBook users the ability to use Android apps that have been compiled for RIM’s platform, but getting developers on board remains the issue. RIM is taking steps to get the attention of developers, however, and one of the first is to offer free BlackBerry PlayBook tablets to any Android developers that repackages their apps for App World. The promotion was announced by Alec Saunders, the company’s VP of developer relations, with developers having been given until February 13th to submit their applications.
Research In Motion’s newly appointed chairwoman of board Barbara Stymiest vowed on Thursday that the changes sweeping the struggling smartphone vendor will continue. RIM announced late last month that company co-founders Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis were stepping down from their roles as co-CEOs and co-chairmen of the board following more than a year of investor unrest. Replacing them atop RIM’s management team was Thorsten Heins, and Barbara Stymiest was named chairwoman of the board. Heins got off to a rocky start but promised that more change was coming, and now Stymiest has gone on record making a similar vow that the shake-up at RIM isn’t over. Read on for more. More →
We reported on RIM’s 2012 release schedule earlier this week and now we’re back to paint a more complete picture with RIM’s full 2012 roadmap, which is loaded with information. The deck provides details on everything from the company’s upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook with built-in 3G, to the new Curve lineup including the BlackBerry Curve 9220 and BlackBerry Curve 9320, to new features like Wi-Fi media server sharing and more. From the calendar in the document, it looks like the first BlackBerry 10 smartphone, codenamed London, is currently scheduled for release in late September, but could be pushed to October based on the roadmap, which is a long way off considering we’re looking a a relatively slow three quarters leading up to BlackBerry 10. We’ve dropped 15 slides from this massive deck into a gallery, so check out all of the images below!
We’ve been gathering info on what exactly Research In Motion is planning to release over the next year and even into early 2013, and we now have a solid picture to share with you. While BlackBerry smartphones and devices will run on BlackBerry 10 starting in the fall, the company is still planning to launch BlackBerry 7 legacy devices in emerging and global markets leading up to the first BlackBerry 10 handset launch later this year. Let’s go through what we’re looking at from RIM over the next 15 months:
- RIM plans to introduce two new Curve smartphones within the next few months: the BlackBerry Curve 9230 and the BlackBerry Curve 9320. The 9230 will be an EDGE smartphone and the Curve 9320 will be an HSPA device.
- While we don’t have confirmation on the size, we have heard that RIM will introduce a new PlayBook tablet with 1.5GHz processor, built-in HSPA+ 42Mbps cellular data support and NFC around May or June.
- RIM’s BlackBerry London is still on track for a September launch.
- There is now another BlackBerry 10 smartphone in the works that will launch as part of RIM’s Bold series. The phone features a touchscreen display and QWERTY keyboard, and it is planned for a December release.
- A QWERTY slider running BlackBerry 10 has been talked about for the first quarter of 2013.
There could obviously be some minor updates to existing products like the Curve series down the road, for instance, but this looks should be a pretty complete view of what the company is working on right now. And for once, there aren’t 18 different product SKUs to worry about.
Research In Motion hasn’t just had a difficult time innovating since the iPhone was first introduced, the company has had trouble innovating ever since its product started to morph into something more than a simple email messaging device. RIM has always been behind the curve with regard to technology in some ways. It was still making devices with black and white displays when other manufacturers were launching devices with vibrant full-color screens. RIM was one of the last manufacturers to launch an EDGE device and it was also one of the last manufacturers to include a camera in its devices. The vendor consistently offered devices without GPS or Wi-Fi, and without a functional web browser. The problem with Research In Motion is not just that the company has failed to adapt or plan for the future, it’s that RIM hasn’t been able to accurately predict not only what the mobile landscape was going to look like down the road, but also what its customers want in a BlackBerry handset. Unfortunately, judging from what I’ve seen so far, I don’t see much changing with new CEO Thorsten Heins. More →
Research In Motion is reportedly working on two new BlackBerry PlayBook tablets that are currently scheduled for release in 2012. BlackBerry watcher N4BB claims that while RIM had initially scrapped plans to produce a larger PlayBook tablet, the vendor now plans to release both a 10-inch and a new 7-inch tablet this year. RIM’s new 7-inch model will feature embedded 3G connectivity when it launches in April according to the report, and the 10-inch BlackBerry tablet will reportedly include support for 4G LTE networks when it launches in December. The site also reiterates that RIM currently only has one BlackBerry 10 smartphone slated for 2012, which BGR exclusively reported earlier this month, and it states that at least two more low-end BlackBerry Curve models will launch this year as well. More →
Research In Motion didn’t unveil any new devices at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, but the Waterloo, Ontario-based vendor still managed to appease fans with a preview of its first major PlayBook OS update that will finally be released some time next month. We spent a good amount of time putting the OS 2.0 through the paces and while there are still some kinks to iron out — we had apps crash on us a number of times — we absolutely walked away impressed. Check out our hands-on photos in the gallery below and hit the break for our impressions.
Countless analysts predicted Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet would be a big seller this holiday season, and new data suggests that the slate may have been the most gifted tablet this past Christmas. Advertising network Chitika saw traffic across its network from the Kindle Fire grow roughly 20% each day leading up to Christmas, and traffic then exploded by more than 120% between December 24th and 25th. Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook saw the second biggest spike on Christmas Day, up just over 50% thanks to deep discounts during the holiday shopping season, and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab line of tablets saw traffic jump about 15% on the 25th. Traffic from Apple’s iPad didn’t increase at all on Christmas Day, suggesting that rival tablets may have had an even bigger impact on holiday iPad sales than previously predicted. Read on for more. More →
Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet became the first BlackBerry device to be rooted this past November, granting users access to the device’s file system and allowing a level of customization that BlackBerry users have not had in the past. As RIM enters into the cat and mouse game Apple knows all too well, PlayBook owners willing to root their devices now have access to the Android Market as well as the apps contained within. CrackBerry has published a complete how-to guide that details all of the software and steps required in order to install Google’s Android Market on a PlayBook tablet. While an upcoming PlayBook software update will soon bring official Android app support to the tablet, apps will need to be repackaged and made available in BlackBerry App World in order to function in RIM’s app player. Using the guide linked below, no such tweaks are necessary from developers, and users can have Android apps running on the PlayBook immediately. More →
Research In Motion’s debut tablet has been something of a disappointment for the Waterloo, Ontario-based vendor. While the slate showed promise, it failed to offer potential users a compelling reason to choose it over the iPad or an Android tablet, and RIM would end up taking a $485 million charge in the third fiscal quarter due to unsold PlayBook inventory. Sale pricing ahead of the holidays last year seemingly helped RIM and its distribution partners clear out some stock, however, as the company is once again offering discounts on its QNX-based tablet. While pricing starts at $299 rather than $199 this time around, all three PlayBook models cost $299, which means the 64GB version can be had for a deep $400 discount. RIM’s first major update for its tablet OS set to bring native email and more next month. More →