Posts Tagged ‘blackberry’

Corporate Change & Strategy and the Blackberry Bold 9780

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

This is one of an occasional series of blogs that look at my latest techie toys.  More than 2 years ago I bought the original Blackberry Bold 9000 and it is was widely regarded as the best ever Blackberry, and was certainly the best phone I ever owned.  It was a big step forward and like many trend-setting devices, RIM found this difficult to follow up and as a result I have not upgraded despite the seductive charms of the iPhone and android offerings.  All the subsequent new phones from RIM were minor changes and, in my mind (and that of many aficionados) none represented a significant improvement.

What I wanted was, first and foremost, a very good phone (so iPhones antenna problems were a serious issue for me) a first class communications device and then a means of accessing the web on the move.  I waited a long time for the new Blackberry slider (called the Torch) as it seemed to offer a wonderful package, a much bigger sliding, touch screen and a real keyboard.  When I looked at it I was put off by the shape of the keyboard which wasn’t as user friendly as the the traditional blackberries and the sliding arrangement felt a little unbalanced to me and the new operating system (version 6) seemed very odd.  I freely admit that I might have got used to it if I had plumped for that. 

Yesterday I opted to try the 9780, the 3rd Bold.  They have made it smaller and, at present, I feel that I wish they hadn’t!  It is very handy but I never found the old one too big and the smaller size is affecting my typing speed  but I suspect I’ll adjust.  However, many original Bold fans think they should have kept the form factor the same.  The screen is very bright and clear.  This version is an upgrade of the 9700 and doubles the memory, upgrades the camera to 5 mg (mine was 2mg and the 9700 3.2).  They have upgraded the video to 640×480.  One of the most important changes is this operates on version 6 firmware and they have streamlined the user interface and much improved the web performance.  2 years ago I was thrilled just to be able to access the web on the move.  Now expectations have moved on and Apple & Android deliver almost home speed mobile net access and that is what we need/want. 

The call quality is good and the reception excellent as ever.  When you live in the depths of Surrey you need every half bar of reception you can get and this phone will pull a signal where others can’t.  Another thing that RIM do supremely well is the neatness of their programing; I was able to swap all my data, software and settings from my old phone directly to the new one.  It took half an hour and worked flawlessly.  If only swapping computers was this easy!

It is interesting to observe that at a time when everyone who is anyone has an iPhone, the Blackberry seems to be considered strangely cool and the phone youngsters are all switching to (everyone in my family has one, and so have many of their friends).  They are also cheaper to buy and and run than the iPhone. 

RIM are doing some very interesting things now, and we will see their playbook (their tablet rival to the iPad) coming out in the next month or so; it will use an entirely new operating system QNX, which will ultimately be the basis of their next generation of phones.  They can’t compete with Apple and Android in the high specs or apps arenas but are still doing well financially.  They have been quite clever in in not blindly following the higher and higher spec route as this is one reason why the battery life of their rivals phones are so poor.  They aren’t focusing on just being able to move huge amounts of data but on processing it efficiently in order to reduce the packet size.  It is an interesting to watch 3 such successful companies competing with such radically different strategies.  Apple focusing on design and user experience, but high price and closed systems, Google on open access and a more geeky platform, and RIM who traditionally have focused on the corporate market and security and efficiency, now realising the importance of the consumer.  It is an interesting exercise in Change and corporate strategy.