Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Thoughts On Blackberry World 2012, BB10 And The Future For Research In Motion
Months ago when the Playbook 2.0 update hit and the keyboard/case thing finally was outed or when the Blackberry London Hardware leaked, i said i still believed in The Playbook, B10 and RIM having a future. Or a one last chance.
After having watched the most important 30 minutes of video and read around 10 pages of BW2012 briefings. I can still say it. Not only that, i would even add that they now got a very good chance.
It looks actually very good. And it does comes off as an evolution of The Playbook OS. While that one was a clear riff off WebOS with a bit of BB7. BB10 pulls off also from both Windows Phone 7.5 and a little bit of iOS5.
With the single most innovative thing being the virtual keyboard. It is intriguing and fresh. Yet still markedly Blackberry. To do so RIM has opted for a skeumorphic design to it that is more over the top than the one from the iPad Virtual Keyboard. You are basically seeing a Virtual Blackberry Bold Styled Keyboard. They added visual cue response feedback to the keys that is more pronounced than the ones from iOS or Windows Phone. And the autocomplete or word undoing got a little bit of Swype to it. Took RIM 5 years, but i think they finally nailed it. With some inspiration help, but hey.
After the keyboard, there is really a lot of emphasis on the camera software. That happen to have a very Photo Gallery alike PhotoFusion feature they call Time Warp Photo. That let you edit faces in photos by letting you choose a previous take. All by using a dial gesture. Neat, but not something they will get to keep exclusive for long.
Finally they want to be clear that the wireless streaming to devices you can do in The Playbook or via PlayTo or AirPlay is something that will come to BB10.
On The Future
RIM only got one more shot. one last call to battle. And if there was guy that can take them to come out alive of it. It does looks like Thorsten Heins is the one to be able to do it.
The moves they did and are doing for BB10 on the development platform, programs, incentives, etc. Is everything they could have done and everything that should had been done 2 years ago.
When it comes to the strategy. There is really only 5 things i can see Heins doing right now and for the coming 18 months:
1.- Retain current Blackberry fans
2.- Regain previous Blackberry fans
3.- Continue to push on the emergent markets where they are winning or they still got big openings thanks to all those Symbian/Blackberry users about to choose their first or second Smartphone.
4.- Aim and push hard for new smartphone users in North America.
5.- Don't let the development platforms unattended even for a second.
One thing i would like Heins to do is not try to promote and market by confrontation to Windows Phone/iOS/Android. They have tried twice already and they have been utter disasters. But i already now that on that front they are hopeless as that "Wake Up" stunt they pulled in Australia in front of a Apple Store was of their doing.
Their battle slogans and war marketing is ridiculous and futile against corporations they cannot outmaneuver or outspend or outsmart. This is not 2006. Eh, anyway. That is that.
Now, as the first device hardware i would like to see BB10 on, i would definitely go with the Blackberry London design. It interesting, pretty and dare i sayBold? Yeah, that one would do good.