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.
No one's heard a peep from RIM about the possibility of a third iteration of the BlackBerry Storm line of touch screen smartphones. But here we have a fairly convincing shot of what is apparently just that. The new handset will apparently have a slightly larger 3.7-inch display, 8GB of built-in storage, and possible a mobile hotspot feature.
The phone will most likely be a Verizon release and could hit stores by the end of the year. This would fit with the previous release schedule, and would give RIM time to get the new BB6 operating system on the phone. This possible Storm 3 has an optical trackpad, which is different from previous Storm models. RIM did not include the click screen SurePress technology in the recently released Torch, but it is unclear if the Storm line will continue to use it. Does this handset interest you at all?
Verizon and Research In Motion (RIM) jointly announced the upcoming availability of the BlackBerry Curve 3G on Verizon's network. Sales will begin on September 16, 2010 (this Thursday) for just $30, albeit after a $100 mail-in-rebate and new two-year service agreement.
The newest Curve will ship with a "stylish new design," 35-key full QWERTY backlit keyboard, dedicated media keys, 512MB flash memory, microSD/SDHC card slot with support for up to 32GB memory cards, built-in GPS with support for geo-tagging and location-based apps, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, camera with video recording, and various other odds and ends, all of which you can view here.
On the OS side, the BlackBerry Curve 3G will come with BlackBerry 5 and Verizon/RIM ensure that it's also BlackBerry 6 ready, which is expected to ship in the coming months.
Come late November, AT&T will become the first wireless carrier to offer BlackBerry's Torch 9800 smartphone in different colors, or so it's been rumored.
If what we're hearing turns out to be true, you can expect AT&T to add red and white versions of the 9800 to its lineup, giving potential buyers three colors to choose from (black being the other). Other than the color scheme, everything else about the new models will remain the same.
It's also possible that these new color options could show up a bit earlier, perhaps in the middle of November. No word on whether or not other carriers will also receive the same color options.
A new report from Gartner Research claims that Google's Android operating system will grow rapidly in the remaining months of 2010, passing both Apple and RIM. If you don't follow the smartphone world closely, you could be forgiven for forgetting Nokia is still number one worldwide. While their phones are rarely offered by US carriers, the market in other nations often encourages users to buy unlocked phones. Those are often Nokia handsets.
In late 2009, Android had only 3.9% of the market - Apple had three times more. Google is expected to hit about 17.7%, which will clobber Apple's iOS, and just edge out Blackberry. While iOS is still growing, Blackberry has been falling. The tepid response to the Blackberry Torch isn't helping matters.
Android has spread to all US carriers, and more manufacturers are getting in on the fun. It's impressive to see Google come from behind so quickly, especially considering the state Android was in before the release of the Motorola Droid.
We can think of several items that should be included in the ultimate spy kit, most of them fake, but totally awesome gadgets conceived by Hollywood. Out in the real world, however, it's those pesky BlackBerry devices that hav the United Arab Emirates in a tizzy.
Starting October 11, the UAE will block all BlackBerry email, messaging, and Web services so long as authorities are unable to access the encrypted data. Doing so will effectively hamstring about 500,000 local subscribers and have BlackBerry toting tourists thinking twice about their travel destination.
The reason for the hard stance has to do with concerns over espionage and fear of information sharing. Dubai's police chief, Lt. Gen. Dahi Kahlfan Tamim said the restrictions are also "meant to control false rumors and defamation of public figures due to the absence of surveillance."
The UEA isn't alone here. India has given RIM 60 days to allow authorities to monitor BlackBerry traffic, while Saudi Arabia has concerns of its own, though did allow services to continue last month following "positive developments" in talks with RIM.
Early estimates of sales of RIM's new Blackberry Torch are in, and could spell bad news for the company. Both RBC Capital Markets and Stifel Nicolaus have said AT&T only moved 150,000 units during launch weekend. Certainly it's better than nothing, but RIM was in need of a hit, and this is looking like just another Blackberry launch.
We've gotten used to a new phone being in short supply at launch; think iPhone 4 or Droid X. RIM may have been seeking that sort of impact by hosting a press conference with AT&T prior to the phone's release. Reviews of the QWERTY slider have been tepid so far, with many complaining that the new Blackberry OS6 feels poorly implemented.
With options like the iPhone and Samsung Captivate on AT&T, consumers might be walking right past the Torch. Have you laid hands on a Torch? How do you feel about it?
One of the Blackberry’s number one selling features has just turned into a major negative, at least if the trend overseas continues. The hallmark of RIM’s success has always been its push notification and messaging services that are unmatched in the wireless industry, unfortunately, RIM also put itself in a position where it was handling all of the messaging traffic going across the network. This allowed them to offer unmatched end to end encryption, but has also now become a tempting target for governments wishing to snoop on the private data of its citizens, and RIM is co-operating.
According to notes obtained by the Wall Street Journal, negotiations between Research in Motion and India on July 26 set the framework for unfettered access to all messaging services, including those offered by third parties such as Gmail. RIM issued a statement on Thursday in an attempt to reassure its customers that it was negotiating with foreign governments "in the spirit of supporting legal and national security requirements, while also preserving the lawful needs of citizens and corporations." It is unclear if RIM is still willing to relocate servers to government run facilities upon request, but it seems they are willing to do whatever it takes to avoid getting shut down.
Either way it appears as though governments will soon have the right to eavesdrop on secure communications sent over a Blackberry, let’s just hope it doesn’t open the floodgates.