Category Archives: RIM

Why offering lots of apps does matter

Apps1It’s a big week for BlackBerry fans as the new Z10 finally arrives in Canada on Tuesday (it launched in the UK last week and is coming to the United States next month). I did a quick and dirty review for CBC last week, with a loooong, in-depth review hitting Canadian Business some time on Monday. (It’s up here.)

Overall, I quite like the new phone. I’ve been using it for much of the past week and have become fond of some of its features, notably the swipe-heavy Flow interface. I’ve also warmed up a bit to the predictive text typing, although I’m still finding it slows me down half the time.

One thing I’m not liking, however, is BlackBerry’s lack of apps. I detailed the 29 apps I use regularly in my in-depth review; fewer than a third of them are available for the Z10. I consider some, such as 680 News (for traffic) and Cineplex for buying movie tickets - not to mention Google Maps - to be mission critical. BlackBerry’s selection is sure to improve over time, but by not having them now, I wouldn’t consider switching yet. Many users will be in the same boat. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on February 4, 2013 in apple, Google, microsoft, mobile, RIM


RIM fanboys and football fans: not so different

BlackBerry may have outdone Apple in regards to its frothing fan base.

BlackBerry may have outdone Apple in regards to its frothing fan base.

Two seemingly disparate events are happening this week: Wednesday’s long-awaited launch of BlackBerry 10 and Sunday’s Super Bowl. But believe it or not, they’re not that different. Both inspire fanatical devotion from legions of fans, some of which border on madness.

Anyone who has written anything on Research In Motion over the last little while is surely familiar with the attacks that inevitably follow. It doesn’t matter how scathing or glowing said piece was, the BlackBerry fanboys have been out with a vengeance once reserved only for Apple’s own iCult.

Even positive articles aren’t spared their wrath. My largely favourable review recently of the pre-release BlackBerry 10, for example, provoked one commenter on Twitter to affirm that I was “pulling things out of my ass.” Really, there’s no pleasing these people. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on January 30, 2013 in RIM


Does the BlackBerry 10 launch really even matter?

BYOD: Where RIM's real future lies.

BYOD: Where RIM’s real future lies.

Does anybody else have the feeling that this week’s launch of BlackBerry 10 doesn’t really matter? It’s not for anything that Research In Motion is or isn’t doing with its long-awaited and overdue handsets, but rather because mobile devices are on their way to becoming commoditized.

With smartphones, it’s Google that’s driving the trend. As with virtually every area of its business, the company isn’t so interested in selling things to consumers as it is in getting them online and using its services, with the money coming from the ads it serves them that way. That’s why Google is selling the Nexus 4 in North America for $300 without a contract, while in the developing world it’s moving smartphones for just $50. It’s also why Android has more than three quarters of the world’s market share for smartphones. If Google knew the first thing about actually selling stuff to consumers, the constantly sold-out Nexus 4 would be an even bigger deal than it is.

Neither the Nexus 4 nor those African phones are as high powered as most of the “hero” devices being sold in advanced markets, but for many users, they’re good enough. With Google plying this very different agenda, smartphone prices have only one way to go: down. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on January 28, 2013 in apple, Google, RIM, samsung


10 Canadian tech stories that mattered in 2012

It’s the end of the year, which means it’s end-of-the-year list time. Sure, some people write these lists off as journalists getting lazy and trying to fill some space in an otherwise slow news period. That’s true, but it’s also worthwhile reflecting on some of the things that happened over the past year so that we can perhaps learn from them. As the cliche goes, those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it.

With that in mind, here are the 10 most important Canadian technology-related stories of the past year.

10. UBB: The Saga Continues


Most of the drama over usage-based billing happened in 2011, but the after-effects were still being felt throughout 2012. Independent internet providers such as TekSavvy are still arguing with network owners such as Bell over the price of bits, while other big network owners such as Telus are moving their monthly caps downward. The past year was supposed to see an improvement in how much Canadians can use their internet services, but caps - especially in wireless - went the wrong way instead. The internet access situation is just as bad, if not worse, than it was a year ago. Read the rest of this entry »


BlackBerry by choice is bad marketing by choice is selling two “BlackBerry by Choice” t-shirts. This is the less vulgar of the two.

Way back yonder in journalism school, oh, about two decades ago, there was a funny division of students. In the undergraduate program, you had to choose a specialty stream at the halfway point of your four years. In those halcyon pre-internet days, that meant picking either broadcast, magazine or print. The problem was, the first two accepted very few students, so those who didn’t get in were shunted off to print where the majority of unwashed journalism students resided.

As a result, there were a good number of disgruntled wannabe broadcast and magazine students in print, but a good portion of us were also hard-core newspaper fans for whom the stream was the first and only choice. We jokingly considered broadcast students to be shallow people who only wanted to be on TV, while magazine students and their high-falutin’ big words and surfeit of adjectives were just artsy hipsters. To us, the people who were “print by choice” were the only real journalists.

As funny as those youthful days now seem, it’s doubly humorous to see a large company adopting that same sort of borderline immature stance in its marketing. If you follow the smartphone field, you’ve probably recognized that I’m talking about Research In Motion’s “BlackBerry by choice” campaign. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on October 30, 2012 in RIM


Nokia prepares push as big boys loom

Windows phones: they’re different, but no one’s buying.

As numerous analysts have pointed out, this week could make or break Nokia as it shows off its new Windows Phone 8 devices at a press event in New York. “Make” is actually a strong word - “stave off death” is probably more appropriate.

The storied Finnish cellphone maker, in partnership with the software giant, is benefiting from some good timing in light of the big setback handed to Samsung by a court two weeks ago. With the court siding with Apple in that epic patent dispute, Samsung and other phone manufacturers using Google’s Android operating system are likely to be slowed down in the near term, at least in the all-important U.S. market.

That gives Nokia, which essentially put all of its eggs into Microsoft’s basket last year, a window of opportunity. Wireless carriers are now especially inclined to push Windows phones, to prevent Apple and perhaps even Android from gaining too much power over them.

So far though, Nokia and Microsoft have failed to spark the imaginations of the buying public. Windows phones, despite promising a very different experience from iPhone and Android devices, have captured less than 4 per cent of the global market, according to Strategy Analytics. That’s compared to 17 and 68 per cent respectively for the two rivals. (BlackBerry, by the way, has plummeted to just 6 per cent, according to IDC.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on September 4, 2012 in apple, Google, microsoft, mobile, nokia, RIM, samsung


RIM’s future isn’t with BlackBerry

Research In Motion finally pulled the trigger Sunday night, with the BlackBerry maker announcing that co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie were stepping down. Chief operating officer Thorsten Heins is the new CEO while board member Barbara Stymiest takes over as chair.

As the saying goes, it’s too little too late.

While investors and analysts alike have been hankering for a change in leadership at RIM for some time now, Heins isn’t exactly the new blood they were hoping for. The German native, who has 20 years of experience at electronics conglomerate Siemens, has been with RIM for the past four years.

While the BlackBerry maker rose to great heights under Lazaridis and Balsillie - at one point it was Canada’s most valuable company - they also oversaw its tremendous fall from grace over the past few years, a spiral that went into overdrive in 2011. Having someone who The Globe and Mail says is their hand-picked successor at the helm isn’t exactly much of a change.

Stymiest, the well-respected director who has been pegged for the chairperson’s role for a while now, has also been with the company since 2007. Investors looking for fresh opinions and directions aren’t likely to get it from the new leaders. Heins even said as much - “There’s no need for me to shake this company up or turn it upside down,” he told the Globe. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on January 23, 2012 in apple, Google, microsoft, mobile, RIM


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