Today at CES we got our first look at Blackberry's Playbook Tablet, and color us impressed (the "screensaver" mode, in particular, looks amazing). Don't take our word for it though, check out this awesome device in action in the video below!
Ruh roh, Shaggy. If what we're hearing from news and rumor site Fudzilla turns out to be true, Research In Motion's upcoming PlayBook tablet could have a tough time taking on the iPad, Galaxy Tab, and every other slate. According to Fudzilla, battery life woes are proving to be a thorn in RIM's side.
"Apparently, the issue stems from the adapted QNX OS that powers the new PlayBook tablet along with the fact that the OS was never really optimized for battery life," Fudzilla explains. "To address this issue the engineers at RIM have had to adapt, refine and build new routines at low levels to allow the OS to only sip the battery power to extend battery life. Optimizing battery life isn’t an easy thing to do and takes significant time and work."
This isn't a death knell for the PlayBook, and most agree the device holds a lot of promise. But don't rule out a delay, either. The last thing RIM wants to do is push out a half-baked tablet to go up against competing slates boasting 6-10+ hours of battery life.
You might not have heard of the Astonishing Tribe (TAT). But if you carry an Android phone, you are enjoying their work. TAT designed the pull down notification bar that makes Android notifications so efficient. TAT has developed user interface paradigms for numerous companies, but now they will be lending their expertise to a single company: RIM. That's right, the BlackBerry UI might be getting a lot more awesome now that RIM has acquired TAT.
On the RIM company blog, the company CTO David Yach said he was "excited" to have TAT joining RIM to work on both the BalckBerry Playbook and smartphones. This is great news for fans of the Canadian smartphone maker. While their business functionality has always been solid, a dated UI and lack of consumer features would be liabilities going forward.
This does, however, mean that Android will have to soldier on without TAT's UI prowess. How do you think this will affect the BlackBerry interface going forward?
Reports earlier in the day seemed to make it pretty clear that BlackBerry maker RIM had reached an agreement with Indian authorities regarding access to their encrypted email system. The word was that India would get access to encrypted BlackBerry user data if a lawful request was filed. But now RIM is calling those claims false, according to All Things D.
RIM has been in talks with India for the last few months, but says it has no plans to make changes in its security practices at this time. It's been a sticky situation for RIM, which has always tried to adhere to the lawful access laws in all the countries it does business in. Additionally, providing the encryption keys is mostly impossible in the first place, meaning a special system would need to be placed in India for authorities to have access.
This doesn't mean there won't be an agreement. It could be that a government minister just jumped the gun, and RIM will end up capitulating soon enough. How do you think RIM should deal with these ongoing data requests?
The hits just keep on coming for RIM as Dell has apparently decided to encourage their employees to use phones the company actually makes. The Wall Street Journal reports that about 25,000 Dell employees will be moved to devices like the Windows Phone 7 equipped Venue Pro, and various Android handsets. Like most business decisions, this isn't just about keeping up appearances. The move will let Dell eliminate their Blackberry servers, saving about 25% in mobile costs.
Dell is in talks with T-Mobile to purchase phone plans in bulk for employees. The Dell Venue Pro runs on T-Mobile's AWS 3G band. RIM for their part is not amused, calling the change an attempt to get "Free publicity". RIM would contend we have cunningly fallen into their trap. A RIM spokes person went on to say he expects Dell to lose money in upkeep costs.
You can't blame Dell for looking to use their own products now that they actually have some. Companies without mobile products might not be so quick to leave, but the market is shifting. Could this be just the start of enterprise finally ditching RIM?
Market analytics firm NPD has just finished culling the last quarter's data, and the results are great news for one search company out of Mountain View. Apparently, the Android operating system is now far and away, the fastest selling mobile platform for smart phones. In the third quarter, Android took a 44% share of all sales, Apple took 23%, and RIM only had 22%.
Just as startling as the current numbers, is the change from last year. Android was at a mere 3% in Q3 2009. Blackberry was at 45% and Apple was at 39%. Clearly, Android is taking off like a rocket, and the competition is feeling the hurt. RIM's once massive sales are slumping as users finish out their contracts and move to other platforms. Apple might not have taken a big hit, but the platform's growth has effectively been stopped.
Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S, Droid X and Evo 4G have been big sellers. Do you think a Verizon iPhone would turn the tables on the little green robot?
Apple has been breathing down RIM’s throat for quite a while now. But with the latter not doing enough to hold onto its lead, it was always just a matter of time before Apple leapt past RIM in the global smartphone market.
Interestingly enough, while Strategy Analytics’ report only reinforces Apple’s own claim of having overtaken RIM – an assertion RIM quickly rubbished, its shipment estimate is slightly greater than Apple’s.
RIM is now free to bathe in iPhone’s slipstream, until even Android leapfrogs its flagship Blackberry smartphones, or until it stages a remarkable comeback.
Ballistic has released another "Hard Core" case, this latest one designed for BlackBerry Curve 8500 and 9300 owners. The Ballistic HC offers five layers of protection, which according to Ballistic makes it the "most technically advanced rugged case on the market."
"The Ballistic HC provides unmatched protection for consumers and we are thrilled to make it available to our loyal Blackberry customers," said Adam Stubin, Vice President of Business Development, AG Findings. "With Blackberry dominating 31 percent of the cell phone industry, the release of our Blackberry HC case represents massive growth potential for the Ballistic brand."
The five layers consists of an inner rubber layer, rigid structural frame, outer shock absorption rubber, removable outer silicone rubber shock-absorption layer with connector plug/seals, and a screen protector.
The Ballistic HC will be available in both black and gray at AT&T stores (and online) for $50.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs sure ruffled some feathers with his statements on yesterday's earnings call. RIM is just the latest to respond to some of the assertions Steve Jobs made. RIM CEO Jim Balsillie posted a rebuttal on the RIM blog that covered a few points. First, Balsillie contended that a 7-inch tablet will work for consumers just fine. Jobs claimed the users would have to "sand down their fingers to around one quarter of their present size" to use a 7-inch tablet. RIM also reminded us that their PlayBook will have Adobe Flash support.
RIM's other beef with Jobs revolved around the Apple claim that they had passed Blackberry in sales. Balsillie claims that Jobs was comparing a time they knew BlackBerry sales would be weak, leaving out the higher demand month of September in RIM's numbers. We may have to wait to see if an outside group can compare overall sales from the same period to settle this. In the meantime, we await the next company to launch a counterattack at Steve Jobs.
The rumors have been swirling for months that BlackBerry maker RIM would be launching a tablet device. Today at the RIM developer event, that rumor became reality with the introduction of the BlackBerry PlayBook. This device will sport some serious specs and an all new RIM operating system based on the QNX system.
The PlayBook will run on an ARM Cortex A9 dual-core CPU, 1GB of RAM, and will have a 7-inch 1024 x 600 capacitive touch screen. There will be both HDMI and USB ports, with the former capable of full 1080p output. In the camera department, we're looking at a 3 MP front facing, and 5 MP rear facing sensor. There will be A/B/G/N Wi-Fi, but the PlayBook will be capable of Bluetooth tethering to Blackberrys for internet connections as well.
This new QNX-derived OS will have slick webOS-like app switching, and a WebKit browser with Flash. In teh media department, there will be support for MP3, AAC, and WMA for audio; video support comes in the form of H.264, MPEG, DivX, and WMV. No exact release date or price was given. Just that a launch was expected in the coming weeks. A mention was made of working with developers, so hopefully, we can expect some sort of app ecosystem here.