An edited version of this post, a joint effort of Henry Dyer and Nicolas Weninger, might hopefully make its way into my school student magazine.
Now, it is no unknown fact that many people, mostly students, in the UK have Blackberrys. This is possibly due to their “superior” email client, their “fantastic” Internet browser, their “wonderful” plastic keyboards with tiny keys, their “sturdy” design of plastic, or possibly, and we may be clutching at straws here, possibly, it is Blackberry Messenger. Alternatively we’ve gone mad (or in Henry’s case, madder…)
Before we go into a vaguely typical debunking (especially for Nic) of all the points above, plus a few more, lets diverge into more positives of RIM, Research in Motion, the makers of the Blackberry phone, as well as some other things. like thin air (check the product list of RIM. Yep. Blackberrys And crap (the Playbook. More about that later).
WHAT? A positive! Yes indeed, for the first time in Nic’s writing history, he is listing all the positives of a company he resents.
Oh. Just dropped a hit there, if not a fairly obvious one, but just in case you did not notice, we both RESENT RIM, and for good reason too, like Sony and Microsoft. (although not Henry so much)
Moving back to the positives, RIM is actually very much like Apple, apart from the fact that they suck. They have refused to license the Blackberry OS to another manufacturer (ever seen iOS running on anything apart from an iDevice, and being sanctioned to run on it? No. Us neither.) they build their own hardware (well, Asians build them) and they run an integrated system, like BBM and the specialized email servers. This has proved to be a useful tactic for many companies, including the likes of Palm, yet a bit risky if not executed properly – Apple themselves have always ran an integrated system, like the AppStore and MobileMe. (at least, at the time of writing…) When iCloud or whatever nonsense they’re calling it comes out, it shall in fact be running in part on Microsoft Azure servers and Amazon web services, so Apple are surrendering control of their new fancy system, in Henry’s opinion.
See what we’re hinting at here? If not, here’s an even more subtle hint…
Lets cast our minds back to when RIM was the alpha-dog, the big boss, making the phone that everyone wanted. They almost came up with mobile email and instant communication. The Blackberry was a mobile revolution, long before people worried about Apple. *clap clap*.
Now let’s take a look currently. The Blackberry has fallen into third behind iOS and Android. RIM is on the verge of being bought and their Blackberry PlayBook tablet launch was a complete and utter failure, to be discussed later. To put it bluntly, RIM is the new Microsoft of mobile. They even bought tat. No, really. – http://tat.se e? 🙂 (get the pun?) (Oh yes, Nic. We’re keeping the smilies.)
Before you start emailing, tweeting and/or commenting like there is no tomorrow (We know how the Internet reacts to these things!), let us explain why we say this. We’d like to start with their “superior” email client.
Take a look at the Blackberry client, now the iOS one, now possibly even the Windows Phone one (SHOCK, HORROR. OUR EYES!). Which is better, and by better we mean which has more oversight? Which is easier to use? Which has the functions available without the need to go into a separate menu? If you still answer Blackberry, then you are either just a fanboy/girl, or you are just plain wrong. That damn menu button, you have to press to get all the functions, is a pain! Compared to Apple, where the system is simple and easily accessible immediately from the home screen and toolbar, where a lot of functions are reachable very quickly, Blackberry are trailing in the dirt, 40 kilometres behind.
Moving on to the Internet browser. Let me just say, we have tried one. For the sake of being creative, let us introduce Joe. Joe is a hardcore Blackberry user all the way, but he still owns an iPod touch. Lets imagine that Joe needs to look something desperately up for his homework. He has no computer available, only the Blackberry and the iPod touch. Which one does he whip out, assuming there is Wi-Fi? You guessed it, the Blackberry. Only joking! Did you really believe that it is easier to browse on a 2” screen with only a trackball? Let’s not forget how long it takes to turn on Wi-Fi on a Blackberry. Menu button>settings>connection Settings>Wi-Fi>on = Drag. iPod: Settings>Wi-Fi>on = Idiot proof. And if you’re nefarious, like Henry, you jailbreak it. Drag down on menu, press Wifi. Done.
Next on the agenda, the “sturdy” physical keyboards. The problem with these things is the fact that you have one set of controls, and nothing else. On any touchscreen phone, the developers have the freedom to implement any controls they wish. Also, the fact that you actually have to use both hands and put effort into actually pushing a button is annoying. For example, Nic cannot touch type. He never could, and he never will be able to, but he can type unbelievably fast on my iPhone with only his thumb. Joe, on the other hand, types day and night on his Blackberry. He is also very fast, but using two hands. The second you force him to use one hand, its slow. Henry, on the other hand, types at an inhuman speed whatever he’s using, but that’s just because he’s speshul. Now, imagine if Joe was typing on a touchscreen, without the need to put effort in to pushing keys.
Then the whole thing about failure rate comes up. If Joe’s Blackberry keyboard breaks, which is more likely to happen, he will need a new phone. If Joe’s iPod keyboard has a glitch, no worries, reset, update, restore is the method to fix it!
As a side note, the Swype technology on the Android system can make you type three times as fast!
Now we have reached the biggie. BBM. Do you know how much it pains us to see someone saying on Facebook, “JUST GOT A BLACKBERRY! BBM pins please!” It’s not the fact that they get exited over a juvenile service, which offers what many have done in the past and it’s not the fact that we’re perceived as jealous. It’s the sole fact that the sorry fools do not know how much they will regret getting a Blackberry!
Let us explain. BBM is juvenile in our opinion, but nonetheless, useful. SMS services are expensive, slow, unreliable and the carriers can charge a ridiculous amount, so in that sense, it’s useful. The only problem that exists is that BBM is basically the only selling point of the Blackberry. People are buying Blackberrys without informed decisions: the iPhone is getting iMessage (granted, a less cool name) in September and Android has a whole host of apps available, including the Facebook Messages app (US only for now). Do not go buying a Blackberry just because it has BBM, wait a few more dammed weeks [at the time of writing] for iOS 5!
Good, we have the bulk out the way, now to the nitty-gritty! Developers, developers, developers, to quote the monkey (click the link and you will get it). These people are a vital component to the success of a platform. Apple embraced them, so did Google and Microsoft, but RIM has no interest: look at the Blackberry AppWorld; it sucks! Limited controls, lack of screen real-estate and the impeding doom of the platform are not exactly the best way to attract developers! Then the fact that there are so many devices with different components, input methods (especially with the new crap they released) and screen aspect-ratios, it becomes almost impossible to support all devises, plus, most do not know that an AppWorld even exists! Developers, developers, gone.
And how could we forget the PlayBook? The wonderful, successful PlayBook. Sounds like some kind of “inappropriate” toy, right? Well, it was, but not in that sense!
Aside from launching with close to zero apps on the AppWorld and a flawed OS, guess what it was lacking? Come on, guess, we dare you! Was it a browser, a music player, a camera, a calendar? No.
It launched with no email client and BBM. Yes, we are dead serious.
RIM, the inventors of mobile email, did not build an email client into a brand new tablet! What on earth was going through their tiny, miniscule minds? Then, no BBM, the selling point of the Blackberry brand. How can one trust a company that make such short-sighted decisions, we ask you, how?
Lets forget for a minute that after 6 months since release, they still have not updated it, lets forget that it cost millions in R&D (research & development) and lets forget the crappy build quality. Lets just consider that this 7” tablet is a direct competitor with the iPad, and it costs the exact same amount. A joke. Even the Samsung Galaxy Tab is better, apart from the fact that selling them in Europe is now illegal, thanks to more patent drivel.
So there we have it, a 1400 word post on RIM, the longest Nic’s have ever written. Looking back at the post, we know that this will hit a nerve in hard-core Blackberry users, but we ask you to consider these arguments when considering buying a Blackberry, but what do we know? If you feel that no other phone will do, go nuts! Who are we to tell you that you cannot get what you want? We have purposefully left the business side out of the argument, as that would require another 500 words and most employees cannot decide the phone they receive from the company, but we can say, as will as most of the sane tech bloggers, that the RIM stock is falling and there is no longer a way to avoid the inevitable acquisition of RIM. Hence, we believe that RIM is on the rim.