Tag Archives: Blackberry

Mobile World Congress 2013

It is that time of the year when all eyes turn to Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress (MWC).

The MWC is where the major mobile devices are revealed.

Some of the companies that will be showing their wares:

Samsung will be launching their latest Galaxy phone after MWC. But they will be introducing two Galaxy tablets: 8- and 10-inch versions. Both will come with Android Jelly Bean.

RIM will be making the best of a badly needed opportunity to show off their latest wares: the Z10 and the BB10 BlackBerry smartphones.

ZTE is the one to watch: this industry outlier is rumored to be introducing a mobile device that runs on the new Mozilla operating system!

Author: Susan Hallinan

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Hope, Change, and Whining in the Mobile Arena

As we all keep heading back to the cloud-services buffet line to fill our plates with streaming music, document collaborations, and photo sharing, our glasses of data––once advertised as bottomless––are leaving us thirsty. Mobile devices––the smartphones and tablets of the world––make the cloud-service buffet line seem so much cooler, more powerful, and more useful, but what does the future hold? Three stories from the past few weeks help us read the tech tea leaves.

RIM
From execs going nuts on international flights to just poor long-term planning, the struggling Canadian former tech giant has had it rough. For a seemingly stagnant company that once paved the way with mobile email, calendars, and contact functionality from a mobile device (the BlackBerry), recent news of a well-received new device might be the fair-weather forecast RIM has been waiting for. Before you slam RIM and its loyal hoard of CrackBerry zombies, remember that the company was once innovative––that innovation in the marketplace can lead to better devices for us, the consumers. During the BlackBerry developers conference, alpha-stage BlackBerry 10 devices were distributed to developers to kick-start app development. Check out the video below:

 

Mobile Interactions: Change Your View
Change how you view your mobile customers (if you even know they exist). Custora, a mobile-commerce analytics start-up, posted an interesting infographic showing the different purchasing habits of mobile customers. From device stats to analysis of mobile versus non-mobile customers, the message is clear: Know your customers and study their habits based on their mobile identifiers. Those identifiers will lead you either to enhance their experience or to fine-tune your strategy.

Wireless Whining
Rumblings (think “wahhhhhhhhhh!”) from the mobile carriers and their Washington lobbyists about the future of our airwaves and the portions that wireless carriers claim they need in order to support our new and growing thirst for mobile data are creating a controversy. It’s a battle between developing new technology and the “easy way out,” snatching up more spectrum to protect revenues and control the marketplace. The New York Times reports that the now dead-in-the-water deal between AT&T and T-Mobile was purely about access to spectrum, or more of the radio frequencies that we use to pass voice and mobile data through our smartphones. All in all, technology seems to be a logical solution––one in which the use of spectrum-neutral techniques could make the spectrum-licensing and -dividing model obsolete––but it would require the big mobile carriers to reconfigure their networks.

Author: John Carew

Hurricane Googorola

Breakwater Light
Just like high school jock envy, those who fall short of Apple’s greatness want a piece of the pie. On Monday, Google announced its bid to purchase Motorola Mobility for a mere $12.5 billion, merging the search-engine giant with a leading handset manufacturer. Apple’s exclusivity with AT&T for the first few iPhone generations created a unique relationship between “distributor” and manufacturer. As the legend goes, AT&T and Apple negotiated to create a unit that would function on the existing network, but the exclusivity made a boatload of cash for both parties and propelled the iPhone into the market. Others were left building competitive devices that would be measured against the functionality of the iPhone. The current leader over the past 12 months has been Android, trailed by some other strong contenders that have entered the market. The common factor for all is that a software developer––be it Apple, Google, or Microsoft––is handcuffed by the negotiations with both handset manufacturers and the carriers who will distribute the millions of phones.

Let’s cut to the chase––Google wants patents. The hurricane of patent lawsuits over the last few months points directly at the problem. Google’s potential purchase of Motorola Mobility has created excitement since it already manufactures smartphones and has been doing so for some time with debatable success (depending on what measure one uses). The proverbial R&D and patent drag race has bumped the ante up considerably. As Gizmodo pointed out on Tuesday, there are losers everywhere. Innovation is what drove us to where we are, and these patent wars combined with the dismal economy worldwide and bleak future predications could stymie the very momentum that got us to this mobile-enabled, always-connected place, for better or for worse.

If the techie masses rose up in revolt, forming a Wi-Fi-enabled, smartphone-wielding protesting mob, lighting their way by the glow of the Zippo lighter app, there would be little media coverage. Chants of “free our patents, free innovation” would not ring throughout the nation. Protest signs adorned with words written in courier and those archaic, round shiny disks our parents call CDs would not attract TV cameras in droves. Would Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert side with the byte-obsessed nerds and join their ranks on the National Mall or dispatch a senior correspondent to compile a sequence of geek- and social ineptitude–based jokes? Let’s go with, umm, doubtful.

With the market left to its own devices, what may happen? If Google sinks its teeth into Motorola Mobility, maybe we will see the tide turn in the smartphone sea. The good news is that Apple gave the market a huge, delicious taste of an intuitive user interface and higher-quality handsets, and since we like the taste, the competitors are fighting tooth and nail over the tech/patents that will help them stir up some new waves. Those same waves that foster innovation are destroyed as they smash into the breakwater that is the patent lawsuit disaster. At least the Verizon, HTC, and Samsung ships have all given safe passage to the deal since it may reduce the choppy waters caused by the incoming patent hurricane.

Future predictions on the horizon…
Apple buys RIM. Yes, we feel faint as well, but would the scent of BlackBerry destroy the feng shui of Apple’s proposed new Cupertino digs? The keyboard clicking would be a disturbance, at any rate. Microsoft buys Nokia. We agree––it’s like your friends who shared an apartment for 10 years finally getting married. HP splinters webOS to accelerate Palm OS–like separation. RIM refused to get off the recliner and answer the doorbell as the chimes incessantly rang with innovation calling again and again. Now it is faced with a declining market share and what some consider grim expectations of acquisition.)

Author: John Carew
Photo credit: Diver227

Rules of Mobile Mayhem: Things to Remember as You Plan a Mobile Presence

I recently came across a video of poet and storyteller Rives presenting his poem “If I Controlled the Internet” at TEDSalon 2006.

My, how things have changed in 5 years. 2006 was pre-iPhone, back when the likes of RIM were still on top and Apple was clambering for market share while expanding its retail presence. With the recent news of RIM’s planned layoffs to “reshape” into a company better fitted to handle the upcoming release of new BlackBerry handhelds, changes in the marketplace over the last 5 years have muddied the waters for organizations hoping to market their products or services.

Utterly Orange has previously covered the difficulties associated with mobile marketing or application development due to the complicated marketplace, and there are some lessons to be learned. Consider these concepts as your plan your mobile presence:

#1 Innovation Wins
RIM is dying, slowly losing market share point by point, and it has no one else to blame but itself. It provided a functional product with marginal innovation. RIM geared its product toward business use, ignoring consumer-side impulses.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg, or in this case, the smartphone or the mobile functions? Mobile functions cover a broad range of features, from mobile applications to mobile-friendly websites to carrier-side, location-aware services that tie in with SMS. We know that the analysts and cell carriers planned the growth of the mobile market, and the proof was in the ramp up to the bigger and faster mobile data connections we sort of have today, but was it the smartphone or the pipes that came first? Answer: iPhone. Yeah, yeah. We hear you––the iPhone isn’t the answer to every question, but user understanding and subsequent adoption is a tremendously large part of the success of a new product. Add some level of innovation to the mix, and you have a recipe for massive growth––or at least it has looked that way over the last 5 years with the iPhone and iPad. Now both devices were and are not perfect by any means. Both have critical features that are still missing, and some design and user interface choices give the edge to some of their competitors.

Twitter and Foursquare had no competitors before each started as a tiny start-up. A creative idea coupled with a powerful, functional mobile device helped expand the adoption of both applications. Regardless, the bar was raised with the release of iOS and its intuitive features. Innovation won and keeps winning as judged by Android’s taking top seat as the leading mobile operating system.
Keep innovation in mind as you consider the right mix of mobile functions for your marketing (and communications) efforts. Providing something new or innovative captures attention and stands out from the tumultuous sea of marketing attempts that users deal with every day via multiple mediums.

#2 Do It Right
Google “failed mobile marketing.” You will find hundreds of examples from the blogosphere, media, and trade journals of failures in mobile marketing. From the ever present QR that points to a company’s non-mobile-friendly homepage to “follow us” with the bird and blue F slapped below all new advertising and marketing collateral, failed use of new mobile functions is prevalent.

Do it right, meaning hire the right people or look at the leaders and users of these mobile functions inside your organization to help you get oriented. None of these mobile functions are inherently complicated. Once you begin to hone your ideas, you may want to bring in stronger firepower, but leverage your resources––whether they be inside or outside––to get the key people up to speed on what constitutes the successful use of these powerful mobile features and avoid what could be an #epicfail.

The disadvantage of waiting to enter the mobile arena this late is that so many have already created mobile functions that are totally awesome. Users know what to expect and can sniff out amateur efforts quickly. Missing the mark on the execution of a mobile effort can spell long-term negative effects for your brand.

#3 Follow the Data
Good news: the Internet gives you a lot of data about your customers. A well-set up website can give you insight into how your customers interact with your existing web presence. Dive deep into the areas of your analytic platform that provide details on mobile traffic, network properties, and browser capabilities. For example, mobile traffic can give you an idea of the percentage of users who access your website via mobile browsers.

Additionally, use existing contact points to determine how existing users interact with your web presence. Ask them their preferences. Remember, users with mobile devices are looking for an intuitive, easy-to-use mobile function that makes their lives easier or simplifies an existing process that they complete with your organization. If you are considering developing a mobile app and can’t decide between iOS, Android, BlackBerry, or some flavor of Windows for smartphones, spend some time in your analytic platform and look at the device types used. Follow your data to make an innovative mobile function and do it right.

One more thing. Take a risk. Twitter was a risk, as was Foursquare, but the risk was taken and now they both are successful products. The overhead required to make a mobile function will vary dramatically, and the recession doesn’t help when scouring for some extra cash, but it’s still the Wild West in many ways. The risk could be wildly successful and bring your product or company to the forefront of the market.

What is your first step (or next step) in expanding your company’s mobile presence? Let us know your thoughts or questions via a comment and join the conversation.

Author: John Carew

The BlackBerry PlayBook: Strong Potential, Weak Execution

Here is what you need to know about the PlayBook:

Wi-Fi Only
The first version of the PlayBook will be Wi-Fi only, with a 3G/4G model coming to market “later this year.”

Email, Calendar Apps
Out of the box, the PlayBook will not support native email and calendar apps without using the email and calendar apps on your BlackBerry. The PlayBook uses an app called BlackBerry Bridge, which uses Bluetooth to connect the PlayBook to your BlackBerry, allowing you to access email and calendar apps as well as the Internet through your phone.

BlackBerry Bridge App
According to an update posted by Engadget on Tuesday, AT&T said it is “…working with RIM to make the BlackBerry Bridge app available for AT&T customers. We have just received the app for testing and before it’s made available to AT&T customers we want to ensure it delivers a quality experience for our customers.” Translation: It is not available for you to use immediately if you purchased a PlayBook and already have an AT&T BlackBerry.

Android App Compatibility
One of the strengths of the PlayBook was supposed to be the ability of its new QNX operating system to support Android apps. Support for Android apps will be available “later this year,” according to RIM.

Desktop Syncing
Compared to what BlackBerry owners are used to, there is no desktop-syncing function available at launch.

Author: John Carew