Shared publicly  - 
Wish me well, RIM is calling in half an hour

Research in Motion, you know, the folks that make the Blackberry, aren't too happy with me. Why not? Because I keep pointing out to them that developers have deserted its platform. In the past week I've visited 25 startups (which explains why I haven't been so active on Google+ or Twitter lately) and only a couple of them have supported Blackberry in any way (and even those two admit that Android and iOS are way better choices for most developers).

I just don't see how RIM turns around this lack of developer support and, to me, that dooms them to falling market share, falling profits, and many many deep problems that most of us call "a death spiral" for a company.

Now, we've seen that companies can pull out. Apple, back in 1997, was in much the same spot, except Apple didn't face two strong competitors who were battling each other.

Most of these developers say it's a no brainer to build apps for iOS first, then Android. Some say the other way around. But when you ask them "what else?" then the answers are a lot less strong. MIcrosoft is even struggling to get developer support, with about 2% marketshare against Android and iOS. But Microsoft is in a stronger position than RIM is.

I just don't see how most of the world's "pro" development shops (I.E. the ones that are venture backed) will support more than Android and iOS. They just don't have the resources to do that. And if they did I don't see why they would support four OS's. That just doesn't seem to be a smart business decision.

So, what's my advice for RIM? Punt and go with Android. It'll be interesting to see what they say about that advice and whether or not they let me discuss their answers in public.

So, if you are a RIM fan, tell me why RIM has a future, even without developer support?

And don't answer that they have great marketshare in some weird market like Africa or Brazil. That's true, but only because they are giving away SMS and data plans for near nothing. That won't save them because it's like having a chicken without a head. It will run around the yard for a while and look "alive." But it still has no head and eventually Android figures out how to match the pricing in those markets too and then the chicken stops running around the yard.
Aaron Bird's profile photoHamid Marc Afsharieh's profile photoBrett Chandler's profile photoHessel van Tuinen's profile photo
Ian Stacy
I totally agree with every word in this post. Consolidate and migrate to Android and it'll be good for both RIM and the Android OS.
I would like some RIM phones and free service on an extra line. That's about the only thing that could have me consider developing for the current line of BB's
"So, what's my advice for RIM? Punt and go with Android. "

Yes, this times 1000.
It would be nice if everything came to a standardized platform.
Max Woolf
They'll probably be calling you on an iPhone.
I even considered the possibility that RIM would adopt Android to work with their hardware. Will never happen, their management is so stupid and short sighted that they'd go down in flames out of spite.
Would love to see RIM open up to Android! (hell, I don't even use my Android devices; but I'd still like to see RIM do it). Oh, and don't forget RIM has even weirder market share in Indonesia. The pattern here: emerging market. That's the kind of market RIM's products appeal to.
Yup, I've been saying they should go android for over a year now, they can still be secure, use RIM's other techs, and have BBM.
An experiment: set up a working iOS development environment and build the simplest possible app. Then set up one for Android. Then set up one for BlackBerry. Guess which two take less than an hour, and guess which one takes so much time that you might find yourself throwing your device out the nearest window?

Late last year, BlackBerry had a developer conference in San Francisco. Tickets: around $1000. The night before, they had a pub night for local developers (I was one). They gave away conference tickets, and BlackBerry Playbooks if we actually turned up. So, dutifully, we turned up and got our tablets, and everyone I knew who got one tried to build something for it. It was like pulling teeth, if pulling teeth is like opening the puzzle box from Hellraiser. It's the product of old-school, restricted thinking, and cannot survive.

I gave my Playbook to my mother, who finds it useful for occasionally looking something up on the web.
I really want RIM to pull out of their slump, especially as a Canadian company with ties to a former employer of mine, but they would really need to step it up if they want any chance of being a viable platform for developers, and end-users.
brazil? just for teens looking for BBM. here Android and iOS rules.
Tell RIM to use Android on their devices. Good advice.
Programming for BB is difficult and nitpicky. Even when companies want devs making apps for BB they end up dropping the projects half the time (in my admittedly weak experience) because it becomes a productivity sinkhole. And forget about porting to BB from Android....
I have a Blackberry Torch, and have had to have it replaced, and I still have problems with this one. It's a crap phone, and Blackberry in general is getting no support from any apps. Hell, I don't even have the option to get a Google+ app for this phone!

I feel like I might have a cool phone if it were 2005, but no, this phone is lacking entirely. The only thing I like is having touch, qwerty, and mousetrack pad thing. Otherwise, this phone is ugh.
They are transitioning to BlackBerry 10 for smartphones - this will make it much easier for developers to support BlackBerry in the future. C++/QT/Android/HTML5/Game Engines (Marmalade, Unity, etc), it will be easy for them to get on BB10.
Good luck, to RIM i mean, summed it up pretty well there - yes they can still turn things around like you mentioned and if they do it will be a great story, but if not it will be a series of disappointing stories...developers go where the market is.
Punt with Windows 8 or a sale to MS makes more sense.
Our niche iOS app, Winery Quest Pro for exploring California wine regions, is more than enough trouble to develop and maintain. The Androidians don't want to buy apps and maintenance and development costs are much higher than iOS so we won't develop for Android. Not a chance we would develop for RIM or Microsoft. There are lots of niche developers who don't want to contribute their time and money to RIM and MS customers, or even Android customers.
They make great hardware and while I enjoyed using the Playbook the lack of apps destroyed the experience and no one wants to fuss with Android apps on a non-native device....pull a Nokia and stay in the game
My next-door neighbor now works for RIM in Toronto, good guy and most will say a good product. Hoping they can iterate efficiently and agree that forcing devs to support a third platform is a too-tall order. I also hope they're not too proud make some sweeping changes.
You should let them know that RIM is in the #deadpool
One problem... my 13 year old has a blackberry and I LOVE that she has it because surfing the web and using apps is cumbersome... keeps my bills down. That thing might as well be a flip phone. A bejeweled flip phone.
Make sure you ask them all the tough questions!!!!! Good luck!
They should port BBM and the BB Network to other devices and become a software provider. If they must make a phone, they should make a hardened phone, on Android and WP7, with insane talk-time battery-life. The few hold-outs I know who keep their BB do so because they can use them as their all-day phone in the field.
Great, now I'm picturing some poor Crackberry running around a yard and face-planting by the wood-pile.
They have to evolve to a two-prong strategy- keep their own stuff going but then yes, move to Android. Or they will just fade away.
Good luck, what a wonderful opportunity for them to hear you views and to improve their product. You conversation will afford them actionable information. Thank you for helping all technology to be better!
I agree with the sentiment, ”punt and go with android”, that's really the best option... Only option.
They need to be able to answer the question "what is Blackberry going to do that Apple and Android can't do better?". There might still be an opportunity for them, but they can't do an inferior job at the same thing.
Just don't let them try to sway you with a developer scholarship program or contest. One of those "best apps get money from us" programs. That might attract short term apps but it won't last. Developers won't build for RIM until they have: better tools and hardware, a better OS platform, a better marketplace with exposure, and an attractive target market. 
Oh the Wah-ness.
Evolution means adapt or die.
I am by no way a RIM fan, but I think their one saving grace might be their new developer tools which allows one to cross-compile to a RIM executable. Granted, that all relies on if a developer can be bothered to port it, but aside from setting everything up, it is pretty trivial to get everything working.
I'd say punt, and go Windows Phone instead. RIM primarily made it in the business environment, not consumer devices.

Microsoft still has a lot of reach into corporate environments and that may be their saving grace in the short term. If RIM could have a great device that seamlessly works with Exchange, has enterprise-level security and also works with Office natively... they may have a shot.
I'm Canadian so I have a bit of "root for the home team" thing going even as I've watch RIM screw up over and over again. I agree that adopting Android is probably the only thing that could help them at this point. I wouldn't completely abandon their BES trojan horse, but would instead roll that into a native secure environment inside of an Android base that sensitive organizations can still use. Think embedded Good Technologies. Otherwise I think they are pretty much doomed. It would probably also help if they had a turnaround focused board, and competent management too.
+Robert Scoble At this point with BB10 ~6 months away they aren't going to be interested, but if RIM can make it easy enough to port apps to and if the devices actually sell in some volume, I think developers will take advantage of the opportunity. Right now it looks bleak, but RIM is putting everything they can into making it easier to get apps onto BB10.
The only way I see RIM pulling out of this at this point is to invent "the next big thing." That might be via going with Android but baking in some of RIM's well respected back end stuff like BB messenger or secured email to focus on the corp market. Or it might be by actually inventing the next big thing in mobile/tablet.

But quite frankly, given their track record the last few years of not even being able to keep their own OS current and viable on the ever changing mobile world, I don't give them a high probably of doing either. So far all they've proven is that they're very at shooting themselves in the foot.
It's always the hardest moment for a corporate entity to admit they are wrong/outmaneuvered and realize that they couldn't control the messaging on it. I agree with you completely, punt and go with Android.
Very simple...RIM need to 'open' its platform and have the developers take over...change their entire business model and go open source....
+Jim Lai Damn, no way I can write an app fast enough to qualify for the free tablet. It's the only way I'd consider owning one at this point.
The switch to android was foreseeable when they allowed android apps on there tablet. It's just a matter of time.
+Evan Adnams Sad indeed- I'm curious (and worried) how many jobs might be lost if they were ever to fully go under. While concerns that +Robert Scoble addresses are valid and should be discussed- we shouldn't never celebrate the downfall of a company like RIM when jobs and people are on the other side.
RIM's strength has always been server side. Going Android would allow them to be inter-operable with other android devices. They should pull an IBM and move their business model more heavily to a service based model with industrial strength product to supplement. Focus on BES, not the phones.
A tough question is "what do they do well"? They were founded on Exchange integration, which is no longer unique or even in interesting. Keyboard phones? Yawn. BBM? Pffft. They're too far out from coming up with a killer OS in time to save them. They could compete on cost. They could buy a low end carrier and give away ad subsidized phones. Other than that...
Don't know the future for RIM but they are an impt part of the Canadian tech sector. The company does much to seed other businesses in Canada. Through the Perimeter Institute much is done to support physics ed in Canada.
How about Playbook development? Is there more action there? RIM appears to also have a parallel strategy of picking and choosing native apps among the most popular categories and integrating them out of the box. They probably believe that many of their users don't want to be bothered by the bazaar-ish App stores. Ask them about that!
Having been a Blackberry user for about 4 years (now with Android) I think it was a beautiful phone. It was a great professional phone and one I still recommend for friends who need a great, long-lasting, fairly simple yet powerful device. I also recommend their latest curve flip phone for users who miss the old "flip" which I'm proud of RIM for bringing back. I think the Blackberry management and name itself says a lot. I enjoyed the Blackberry service. Simple, professional and exactly what a professional needs. Someone who's in the office or on-the-go and needs to look something up here and there has it on their Blackberry. I would have held onto my Blackberry Curve a bit longer instead of leaping to get the HTC EVO 3D.

I also think that Blackberry offers an amazing device and features for government employees. I was shocked to learn that the US Government had severed some contracts and moved to Android and Apple. Have we seen the last of Blackberry? I hope not! They need something genius to rebrand their name, but that certainly doesn't make them useless. Mind you, I'm not too familiar with the tech/ development terms so I excluded that from my point, but I hope you can see some beauty at RIIM. Just an old Blackberry customer who occasionally misses their Curve device and great customer support.

EDIT: I have more problems with my Android apps than ever on my Blackberry - and then a freshman in college, I used my phone for everything!
+Robert Scoble I don't think that RIM has a bigger market share here in Brazil than Android and Iphone. At least you see more Android phones and Iphones out there
Currently,RIM (BES) have the most secure platform in regards to encryption. That will always be a major consideration for businesses looking to kit out their workforce with mobile devices and know that they can be more secure than the current Android OS or iOS devices.

I personally use an HTC, but I don't use it for business. I know that in terms of usability, most will prefer the Android or iOS devices, but in terms of security, RIM is still ahead. I do agree with you though when you sat that they should go with Android, but also bring the benefits of their security as well. Android could use that.
There is no sense in developing for RIM today when they're going to throw away their entire OS in a few months. The specs for the new OS haven't even been announced, so you can't develop for that.

And even if it were launched today, I doubt that it could ever be as robust as Android or, for that matter, Apple, given Google and Apple's head start, development resources and underlying technology base. RIM's based in a city that doesn't have a strong tech base so they don't have the volume of high quality candidates for architects and devs of a Google or Apple, consequently, it would be tough to predict that they would have the team that could build a better" OS. Finally, they never understood all the network externalities that it takes to make a platform succeed (e.g., "Developers").

If I were RIM, I'd just go to Android and seek to add value on the periphery while they still have some semblance of a reputation. I can't see a business path for RIM if they roll their own OS that would be any different than Palm's.
It's not just apps that is dooming RIM. Even their hardware is not good enough. If they decide to go with Android, then that means they would be going head to head with Samsung and the others, and all are better than RIM in terms of hardware.
Another thing about Apple is that they had a core group of customers that were fanatical about it. That and some great apps like Photoshop. Microsoft porting office to it also helped
Couldn't agree more with your advice for RIM to "punt and go with Android."
I am probably the closest there is to a developer and RIM fan, one reason is because I am Canadian and I wish to support them.

But country aside, I was recently in a large crowd waiting to get into a classical music concert in Toronto, and counted the devices I saw. I would say it was pretty evenly split between iOS, Android and Blackberry. I didn't see any Windows phones at all. I was also surprised to see nearly as many Android tablets as iPads. It was split around 40% to 60%, respectively. I saw no Playbooks or Windows tablets.

That said, my third platform would be Blackberry, and not Windows phone. I recently developed an app for Blackberry and I was not impressed with their developer site's organisation. I don't think RIM stands a chance with their current direction. At very least they should make a couple Android phones for experimentation. I believe it would be in their best interest.
I'm not a RIM fan, although I had a couple of Blackberrys and liked them. I think your advice is right on the money. My company is putting together an app that uses the P2P networks to connect artists with their fans. We already have to put together versions for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac, why would we try to do it for RIM, too?

RIM helped change the mobile market and we all need to give them credit for that. But they are so far behind right now that switching to Android is the only way they are going to catch up.

Have fun on the phone call!
+Robert Scoble and that's only one of many oversights. Hope the call goes well, and I hope they heed your advice! They need it.
I would love to see RIM head towards Android. That said, simply attracting developers to develop for for their platform wouldn't save them, particularly not with the price of apps on AppWorld. Before you can start charging for premium apps you have to get a decent user base. In the past RIM was so focused on a business platform that many consumers didn't bother with their products because there was nothing 'fun' for them with their phones.
In order to first get developers over, the developers have to see that there would be a profit into developing. But until RIM regains customers they won't have that profit margin available to developers. RIM can't get more users without providing more apps, in particular free apps, that would attract people from Android or iOS platforms to use Blackberries.
Even on the business platform RIM has been losing, enterprise servers are fading and the functionality they provided like syncing in the past can be done on their competitors, sometimes even easier than with the blackberry desktop software, and with more features in a phone, or platform.
A RIM device with Android would be really badass, but there is no way RIM would go for it.
RIM should just skin Android (like Amazon did), add their BIS functionality, and call it a day. They would open the doors to the apps and still have their hardware & business differentiation, problem solved.
+Robert Scoble I commend you. Stand up for something, or you will fall for anything! We must do what feels right for us, personally and professionally.... No matter the risk.
Why is it hard for developers to create apps for Blackberry? PhoneGap can be used build apps for it and 6 other platforms. In addition, you can use C++ and Air. If Blackberry cooperated with Xamarin, Mono could be running on it as well. PhoneGap is the easiest tool for creating multiple platform apps and it follows the "fail fast, fail early" paradigm.
+Peter Vogel unfortunately our tech sector is pretty weak right now, especially with our important big names imploding (RIM) or imploded (Nortel). Honestly, I don't see much hope left for RIM, which really sucks. The best thing they can do is cut their losses and try to float themselves with Android or WinPhone on their devices, and strengthen any unique traits they still have.
+Robert Scoble I agree it's a long shot... and I did mean waiting for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

I know iOS has made huge inroads in the enterprise, but has Android done so at all? I haven't heard of Android being adopted by large enterprises anywhere. At least MS and RIM still have somewhat of a foothold already in the older/cheaper companies that don't upgrade often.

With the updates to OSX it's now a race between Apple and MS for the PC - Tablet - Phone integrated experience in the workplace. Apple is moving backward upstream from the phone and MS has become complacent using it's strong desktop presence.
Jim Lai
I'll add that with BBX, RIM dropped Java, meaning that a large existing code base of BB apps won't port over. (Maybe they weren't happy with Oracle's latest licensing terms.) Not every app can go the way of HTML5, and porting to native C++ is a stumbling block.
all the best .. hope they take your suggestion ...
Developers DO lead but its business force that take us there... - we need a place and platform to make it happen, so the featureset and reach leads us to it. When the Featureset is wonky and hard to manage, userbase is fragged, screen is maybe too small, App store is discovery-crippled, response to touch is poor, then some other platform effort will superceed the less feature-rich platform and we end up in Android and IOS first. Heck i am moving to WebApp as much as i can as step 1, since a proof-case is buildable, then if it works out, extend it. if a build for RIM is 50 hits/day then the 5000 hits/day IOS solution gets the resources from us.
Adding to RIM's woes is that companies that have been loyal to RIM are starting to pursue other options. Even the GAO reported recently that the government would become less reliant on Blackberry and start shifting more of its orders to Apple and Android based companies. I've spoken with some executives at large fortune 500 companies this last month that also indicated they are looking into no longer using Blackberry. Industry surveys have confirmed this trend of considering now what was once taboo in the enterprise world of adopting the iOS or Android platform. This becomes part of a vicious circle as developers are less interested in producing for this platform, so users abandon the platform and as more users abandon the platform the developers have even less incentive to work for it.
Exactly what i've been thinking of from the past few years, since the time when Android was announced.

They should just drop their useless OS, take Android, customize it, make BBM for Android and iPhone, and make better phones.
Then automatically they'll be the part of the largest mobile OS market share. :D
Also, they gotta make BBM free, looks like they are facing tough competition from WhatsApp, Google Talk, Facebook Messenger and others...
They can still earn by innovating on their Push Mail Technology which many businesses still use today.

A simple plan, that I'm sure RIM will never understand and follow. :P
Simple. They never stopped making great hardware (build wise) and we have not gotten a chance to play with QNX yet. It could potentially be the savior.

I have a Bold 9930 and I'm obsessed with it. There is a market for people like me who need their phone to be a communication machine and not a toy. I've owned the first 3 iPhones and an EVO, and at the end of the day, when you want to message....the Blackberry is king because of it's keyboard.

I agree that it can use some more apps and developer support, but those of us who want a device for work, they're doing a great job.
I was at an event this week, discussing the future of mobile. It was passionate, forward thinking, inspiring & fun - the only fly in the ointment (on the panel) the RIM guy, their culture just hasn't changed. I'd like them to rise to the challenge... but not sure if they can. I have to agree with what you have to say Robert.
I've made this comment before, but why not go with WP7? Android is already so jam-packed with phones and brands competing for attention (Galaxy/Droid/Evo etc), whereas WP7 branding is relatively open (with only Samsung and Nokia being the "big names," and even then...). It seems like RIM could make a bigger splash with WP7 versus becoming "yet another" Android handset maker.

(Disclaimer - I've used Android for the past year and a half, and I currently run a Galaxy Nexus. I think Android is really, really great - I'm talking here more in terms of what RIM should consider if they want to survive.)
+Robert Scoble absolutely, and your intellect is most impressive. Glad to be able to follow your posts.. A girl like myself could learn a lot from you. Thank You!
As a Blackberry user, I don't see the point in BBM. I think text messages are a way better way to communicate than BBM. I think BBM is just...inconvenient, at best. Personally, I deleted my BBM app.
They really do have an interesting hold on the business market. It's weird but also makes sense. A lot of large businesses HATE those data consuming apps and phones that use them. Blackberries to me are like Microsoft PCs. They're not flashy or sexy but they get the basics done and they get them done efficiently and frugally enough to keep the bill-payers satisfied. I'm not saying they're not in trouble but I don't think they're completely off the table either just because developers aren't drawn to them. While a lack of apps does keep a big giant market away from the Blackberry, it's precisely that gap that makes them attractive to others.
+Randall Maggard So...why do you still use BB then? What does it offer that Android/iPhone doesn't at this point?
And the title should have been "Wish RIM luck" rather than "Wish me well", because if RIM doesn't listen to your advice, then they are surely going down....
I think RIM's problem has less to do with their OS and more with the company itself. RIM doesn't compete. They simply release these outdated, overpriced products and expect people to buy them... as if the Blackberry brand alone is some silver bullet to ensure continued growth.

That being said, I think RIM simply needs to start being more competitive as a whole. If part of becoming competitive involves using Android, so be it. If it means making their crappy OS awesome, that's even better. In either case, Blackberry needs to stop searching for silver bullets. They need to start making better products than everybody else. That's what put them in first place so many years ago, after all.
+Robert Scoble We'll have to wait and see, but the fact that they're making Android apps very easy to port over is a huge step, IMO.

Can't ignore it.
+Alex Jukl I am willing to bet 90% of it is because their job. I know thats the case with most.Most companies uses BB and issues them to their employees, so they have to use them. Its not like their is an option.
I agree that development for BB suck and deploying apps for Android and iOS does give you a wider audience but the competition there (in Android and iOS) is far more. So unless your app is totally awesome, it would be hard for it to gain traction. That could be one reason why developers might want to go for BB or WP7. Besides, the leaders among app in Android and iOS are well entrenched and it would be really hard to gain traction, let alone displace them, no matter how awesome your app is. That's another reason for developers to consider BB and WP7. It's not always wise to go for the biggest and most lucrative segment in any business because those would also have the highest amount of competition. Sometimes, its far easier to target the fringes, gain market share and then go for the big guns. And that's what BB (and WP7) should appeal to developers.
+Robert Scoble I would be really, really surprised if MS didn't offer RIM a similar deal. MS needs to catch up in this space, quick, and if they could get a (still fairly) big name like BlackBerry on board with a Nokia-style deal, and have RIM start pushing out WP7 BlackBerrys ASAP...I would think that would drive help both parties.

Also, wouldn't WP7 on BB mean that MS could instantly capture the chunk of the market that RIM still holds on to? It would still be a minority, but it would at least be stronger.
I got in on the free playbook for apps offer both last year and this year. They have vastly improved their development process over the past year, especially for native. I made a game with engines and libraries that are very polished and functional on the PB (cocos2d-x, OpenAL, Box2D, libxml2). When I have looked at porting this game to iOS and android, it looks like a big hassle. PB dev in native is practically like desktop development, which I find really nice. It's almost like they're targeting the open-source crowd, especially the ones who like to develop in linux.

As for their potential for success, I totally agree with all of the statements here. Public opinion of them is poor, and developers don't really know about their tools. I have little hope that they will succeed, but I will be sad if their platform goes away because development on it is so nice.
I must be the only one who still enjoys real multitasking on my BB, I also have IOS and Android, that said I must be old fashioned ;)
Haven't RIM started accepting Android Apps already? It seems like a great plan.
+J. Alan Atherton So, if it came down to brass tacks, and you could develop for only one platform...would you choose BB? Or would you choose Android or iOS, which would be more successful in bringing in larger revenues for you as a developer? I think that's still the biggest issue's not enough that PB is nice to develop for.
QNX+TAT+superb browser+support for Android apps are all good. They improved the site for developers as well and are working hard to attract developers. Wish the devices with BB 10 were not delayed though. I wish RIM to succeed, personally prefer BB 9900 to other devices. I think what might help them is coming up with a radically new form factor.
Some weird market like Africa or Brazil?
I'd say this is where they could make a kill. Good, inexpensive phones with good service and reach for this untapped market, which by the way is bigger that the US market.
They should just get out of hardware entirely and create an enterprise "blackberry business suite" than can be easily deployed across both ios and android. I think it's the best option available.
Here in Honduras, the Blackberry Smartphone is the most popular, for the cheapest plan for 30 USD a Month you get an 8520 and unlimited data... i said this because my sister have one... the reason is that popular is the BBM, the problem with iOS they give the iPhones at highly month fees, for The iPhone 4S you have to pay like 59 USD a month! for two years... if you want one unlocked yo have to pay more than a 1000 USD is ridiculus, the problem with Android is that Operators (Claro and Tigo mainly) are shy about android! basically all reduce to 10 phones and of course 50 USD a month for a Galaxy S and the first one!. RIM in weak economies is a good alternative. I hate RIM because is a so outdated and antiperformance platform, i love Android, nut here is Epiclly expensive
+Robert Scoble Not 100%, but if there's a machine that does more of the work I don't see why a developer wouldn't take the time to fix it properly.

I'm not denying that they need apps to be more succesful. I'm with you. I just do believe that QNX could end up being attractive, RIM still makes great hardware, and there is a market for the business user, even if it's small.

I was a Project in Vegas earlier this week. The vast majority of that crowd owned iPhones, however there was a huge percentage (I'd say 25% easy) that owned a Blackberry, most being the new Bold.

They're not dead yet. They're still growing year over year, and making money. They're losing market share. But in a world where you change your phone every 2 years, that isn't something that's impossible to get back.
Would like to hear how your call goes. I give RIM credit for making it easy for Android devs to port their apps to QNX/BB10 but not sure that will be enough.
I kind of like the idea of Apple buying RIM whole-hog and leveraging their enterprise reach to in turn slam the door on Android getting any kind of foothold there. Apple is making great strides in enterprise space, but acquiring RIM would lock that up real quick. Not much hardware/OS synergy though...would make it tough.
This NY times article explains how Apple is making an entry into the Enterprise arena. This article was based on the Forrester survey.

With over 20 percent of all workers using an Apple device at work, and over 40 percent of higher income workers, there is increased pressure for the IT department to accept and work with IOS devices. The same is true for Android.

None of this is good news for RIM.
And sorry about the mistakes... this keyboard sucks xD
+Robert Scoble Beyond the development angle, corporations are moving away from Blackberry as a preferred device. I spoke with someone at a very large firm that told me that their IT department was telling everyone to get off Blackberry. I just think that the momentum swung and they missed it.
+Robert Scoble, not sure if you are aware but the QNX platform that has been developed on the Blackberry Playbook and is releasing in its first 2.x release next Tuesday DOES run Android apps that have been repackaged/signed for the BB platform (which is coming on the Blackberry 10 Smarphones in several months). This may be a half-'punt', as they are indeed abandoning their old platform and adopting a purchased one (QNX) but with support of Android applications that developers can easily adapt and sell on the Blackberry Appworld.

Personally I love my Blackberry as a communications device. Apps are more appealing on iOS and Android, and yes even WP7; however, I want my smartphone to deliver calling, texting, and email before the fluff services that apps provide. RIM hasn't lost sight of this.

I think they are in a better position than Apple 1997, and internationally I think they have maintained a much stronger brand loyalty than they have in the US and even their native Canada.
They should develop apps for other android phones and the iphone. Their real benefit right now is secure email that the corporate world (mostly) trusts. If they made premium secure email apps for other platforms, and charged for them, they could still corner the corporate world. They need to do it before decent alternatives come out though.
They can't just dump RIM. If they kill their established platform with their corporate customers, they might as well just close up shop. RIM has never dealt with a consumer culture, only corporate managers who effectively made the decision for everyone in the company. Back in the day you got a blackberry because that was the corporate mandate and it's only recently that Apple and Android phones can meet the standards that were imposed by corporate IT. Their best bet would be at this time to develop a separate wing to try to woo new customers while maintaining their current core.
I've been thinking for a while that RIM should adopt Android and write a Blakcberry APP (encrypted email/ BBM/Enterprise config) so they can continue to sell Enterprise services and integrate new users on Blackberry Internet Service email. I used to be a huge fan of Blackberry, and I held on until last year, but from what I see there is just no comparison to Android or iOS.
+Robert Scoble I think that if they actually released an OS which consumers like better than Android and iOS, developers would have no problem supporting it because that's where the money would go. I acknowledge that this is a stretch, though.
one reason is that the touch keyboard still sucks. there is nothing that beats the BB QWERTY keyboard. I miss that on my android phone :)
+Robert Scoble "RIM has best of breed HTML 5 support in new platform."
I can vouch for that. I'm surprised often at what sites load on the PlayBook and work very well. TweetDeck, for one.
+Andrew Carr At this point, any viable solution is going to be a stretch. RIM needs to take some bold action and have a bold plan to avert the inevitable. With over 90 percent market share going to IOS/Android and all the future indicators looking bad for RIM, it's time to put up or shut up.
+Robert Scoble but the OS isn't their strength, its the BBM/BES. If they can make it work with android, they still have a place in the business world. It might not be as the center stage anymore, but they can ensure their survival.
+Rob Colbert The only wrinkle with HTML5 is game development absolutely sucks with it. For simple games it may be barely usable, but for really polished, good games C++ is still the champ.
RIM needs to just abandon making hardware and sell their software as a service to enterprises that want a sandbox enterprise mail application on iOS and Andriod devices. Work on a Mobile Device Management software that can manage their current legacy BB's and also manage iOS and Andriod devices.
+Robert Scoble to me the only way is that they push web-like development for native-apps (that is, the stuff hp/palm was doing). That would be important because today devs must learn how to code for iOS. Then, they have to do the same for Android. Then, for WinPhone. Then... then they would not like to learn another "way" - so you are correct - but... BUT if that way is the currently emerging web-like way to code native apps (html+css+javascript, that is what they seem to be following) they could have a chance, becuase there would very little to learn, so less time, so less money to spend.
+Euro Maestro Pretty much. It also isn't very encouraging that they pretty much have said that switching to Android would eliminate their business. That is so wrong that it's almost hilarious, because thousands of people choose to give Android manufacturers their money over RIM every day. It's also hilarious because whether RIM chose to make their existing OS better or to go with Android, it doesn't matter as long as they remain competitive and focus on making better products than everyone else.
RIM's biggest problem right now is RIM. Android isn't going to fix that.
If RIM could polish a small set of really nice hardware running Android, I bet they could find their wings again. Quite a few people would love to have an Android phone with a battery that lasts a couple of days. I was forced to get a BB for work, and opted for the 8250. Same screen as my Nexus One, but lasts 3 days. The keyboard is awful, though. I long for SwiftKey.

+Robert Scoble do you think Windows Phone 8 might have a chance if it's as integrated with the future Windows OS many of us will have to be using? Even with minimal support now, if MS pushes HTML5 apps hard, then maybe there's some potential...
How do they plan on keeping android from taking more market share? Will they do anything besides BB10? Microsoft just tried that and its failing.
I was forced to use Blackberries for years by my company.. I went through at least 7 of the phones (and I don't treat them badly), they are counter-intuitive to use (try setting up a POP email account on a blackberry) unnecessarily complicated (try combining duplicate contacts in your addressbook), slow as molasses, the app selection flat out sucks and the camera in them sucks too. I gave up my free Blackberry and pay $100 a month for my droid and don't regret it for a second. I hate to see a Canadian company tank but RIM needs to really get its act together and make a product that people actually want to own or they are doomed doomed doomed.
There is already an Android Runtime for Playbook.
I was with BB from 05 till Jan 2012.. I could not take it anymore and went to the iphone. I should have done it a long time ago.
RIM just needs to remember there are a limited number of Dev's with limited resources. They need to address this as a priority. e.g. Easier porting of iOS/Android apps would help and using web standards for new apps. Cash incentives would also help.
Moving over to Android would probably alienate a number of RIM customers but would make the software a commodity in that the handset would end up becoming the differentiator. Might lead to some innovations.
Microsoft is way ahead of RIM due to their Windows software integration across platforms.
(And my wife is upset you calling Brasil a weird market...)

RIM can fix this. They just need strong leadership.
RIM has a very slim chance of survival, but not without developer support. What attracts people to Android and iOS is the amazing selection of apps and many of those apps are free. RIM not only has falling developer support, but a good majority of the apps in their store are paid apps that just aren't really good enough to pay for. If they want to survive, they are going to have to completely revamp their entire platform. That means more advanced phones, more advanced API's, more support for new technologies like HTML5, better hardware, and an absolute kick-ass developer platform led by an absolutely kick-ass evangelist.

The problem is, I don't think RIM actually thinks it needs any of that. They try to be 'cool' here and there but seem to still be stuck in the 'business user' mindset. The best thing RIM could do is lay off 60% of its platform people and hire passionate young people who are driven to create something amazing and give them nearly unlimited space to do that. Look at what Microsoft did with Bing. MSN Search was horrible, inaccurate, and largely irrelevant. Microsoft took talented people and said 'go for it, we'll watch' and they created something amazing. RIM could do the same but they probably won't.
24 Shares and 160 comments. So why is this "hot" on Google+?
RIM needs to remember what they get paid for. BlackBerry server and secure communication. Ditch the hardware and make some apps that work with the BES servers so many corporations have and they will still be relevant. All people associated positively with blackberry is email and BBM. could you imagine how great a BBM app for everyone device and secure email app would do?
I can bet you all these BB-haters were once BB users, fine RIM got cocky, but Apple and Android users are just going through an apps happy phase... How long will that last!?

Wait till Apple and Android viruses start making appearances, due to non-encryption etc. See then what happens...

Anyway BB till I die!
+Robert Scoble thanks for the summary of the call Robert. I hope what RIM does with BB10 will get the people like you and the startups you talk to interested in the BlackBerry platform
I couldn't have said it better myself +Robert Scoble you hit the nail right on the head. But then you are far from alone in this viewpoint, so it's not surprising.

As a former BES administrator, I personally will not me sad to see them go. Yet may enterprises still seem to want to hang onto it. I agree that is RIM is survive they must have active App development going on. You are probably right that they should just adopt Android as a base OS. That's not to say it has to be a stock flavor of Android though. Seems like they could customize Android to make it work with BES if they gave it some effort.
Phones like the SGSII Galaxy Nexus and, to some extent, the Galaxy Note are popular because of the increased screen space, BB keyboards eat into that space... They shouldn't rely on their keyboards... As the market has shown people prefer screen over keyboard...

HTML5 won't work for them either because as stated Android and iOS will do it better.

And MOST Android apps being able to run is not going to do it... It will always be "that one" app that doesn't run on BB that the user is going to need... Linux has faced this for some time now... So many would switch if only QuickBooks or Photoshop would run on Linux... It's always that one that will kill the deal...

Flip to Android, or at least test the waters...
I just use my Zack Morris phone
+Roger Brown You're right I had the BlackBerry Pearl... But left because Apple did it better... Apps are not a phase its a new era... Users saw it, BB CEOs did not... new CEO, still doesn't see it... Oh well...
+Robert Scoble I was a very early Blackberry beta user, back when it was a paging device. Moved off to Android 2 years ago and have been surviving without them. Sorry to say I shorted the stock a year ago now. They struggled with showing users a good experience with Web content, their apps weren't anything to write home about and hard to research. Unless they go Android or WM they are out of the game. They can do incremental upgrades all they like, but all the folks I know in my circles who live in the Enterprise space and made Blackberry what it was have moved on.
I dislike Blackberry devices, and RIM is in deep trouble. However, I really hope they get back on their feet and someone lead the phone industry again or else my city will be in deep trouble (Kitchener/Waterloo).
What are they going to do, +Robert Scoble , bleed on you? RIM is like the Black Knight. #lovemontypython
David C
I realize Android is the best option, but considering RIM's user base, a move to Microsoft makes more sense to me. While iOS and Android are both increasing their corporate market share, RIM still dominates and a marriage with Microsoft could help them maintain while getting a much needed creative push from MS. 
Blackberry is now Suckberry, I use to have a Blackberry, had to replace it 3 times, got tired of it now I have a better phone, will never go back to a blackberry
Have not read all the threads here but the notion of adopting android might work (although not sure if it's neccesary) but for me (as a developer and user) it's the shear number of devices they have that drives me away. Android vendors are guilty of the same thing. If RIM can boot all devices and come back to just 1 smartphone and 1 tablet device on a solid OS and API/SDK with a well thought out UI they would have a chance again, IMHO.
I think there are still a huge number of people who never use apps (my wife being one of them). She has an android, but I don't think she has ever been to the app store. She just uses email and text and phone. Sometimes she uses the browser. There are alot of people who couldn't care less about apps and who would buy BB just bc it's what they have always used for security or for BBM. I know you talk about apps being the future, but I don't think that many people are keen on apps in general. Sometimes I find you visit tons of startups that, frankly, I would never download their app bc I feel I would never use it and it would just waste space on my phone...

I could agree with you on the points you've made. However there is (one) strong side in their technology, although not solely related to the BB OS. Based on my knowledge and experience, their way of pushing emails and other content (security/compression/features) are so far unmatched (at least to a certain extent). But I agree with you that they have to make some radical changes...
Sadly, I had to finally give up my BlackBerry. My carrier did not have the phone I wanted, and the phone I wanted still didn't have the apps I needed. I'm on Windows now- and hope that Microsoft won't make the same mistake RIM has made by falling behind.
Point noted +Robert Scoble, html5 if done right, could drive that dependance away, especially from having to download apps which are taking up alot of MB these days, leaving less space for vids and music. That said, RIM and MS should rather be pushing for more html5 apps... I love the youtube and linkedin html5 sites.
RIM Blackberry for Enterprise is an excellent communication platform. As a phone it works better than most and the battery lasts all day. Email, Schedule, Contacts and Tasks sync well and you don't have to sync when viewed. The data usage is less than other platforms saving money. Blackberry messenger works very well as a secure form of communications. I like the fact I can flatten a Blackberry from halfway around the world if it's lost with confirmation. All in all it's a great phone.

I'm annoyed because there are a hundred different models all with various quirks and limits. Sprinkle in some really awful models (Storm, Pearl, ?) and add to the fact that there is a terrible and limited choice for addon apps hence no innovation and you have a problem.

What can they do to fix this?

0) Keep moving to the Linux platform you keep promising.
1) Pick three consistant models, hell even one if they feel brave.
2) Standardize the charger maybe even make it water tight and magnetic plus reversable.
3) Hire a team of internal RIM developers to write the interface for popular apps, for free. (this is what you did in the old days, remember?)
4) Hire another team to build a simple, easy to use consistant Development kit and publish it for free.
5) Create a virtual PBX that does not need an expensive software back end to be installed.
6) Allow for an Android or Apple emulation mode to use their apps
7) Answer your damn phones, stop going to giant offsite meetings.
Quick point, if Android wasn't free this discussion would be very different!
RIM has some young followers and a reasonable corporate base. They are losing these fast so they need to make a move yesterday. I agree they should go android and build BBM for all platforms. Make a play in the messaging arena with some seriously cool features. Oh and come up with a device different than what we are seeing from Android and Apple. They won’t win by playing the same game.
+Robert Scoble Believe it or not, I'm not a huge Windows Phone app user, but the ones that I do use seem to work quite well. The phone came with quite a few already on it. I especially like the native Office and Xbox offerings, and the built-ins with Bing that Android and Apple make you have to buy. But BlackBerry didn't even have those- and the ones they did have would freeze up and break half the time.
I have a P1000 galaxy tab only because BB tablet not available at the time... But the bl@@dy thing freezes frequently and is getting slower by the day... I'm gonna throw it against the wall one if these days... As for Android not confirming ICS for my tab, sux! But what do you expect from free things...
+Robert Scoble To me, as a developer, asking me if I would support BB is like asking me to create a website compatible for IE6
I look at the market and I see iPhone with a market that you can charge good sums of money for your quality apps and I see Android as the standard platform for the forseeable future for most people, i.e. bigger number of sales but smaller margins.
My first ever 'smartphone' was a blackberry pearl. I loved the phone then. the keyboard was great for typing, email, txt all easy to use but the OS was getting dated. The apps in general were lacking. It was just a good communication device. If that's what you want it is a solid device. But as phone and multi-media converge as one device Blackberry was somewhere still in 1980's.

My BB trackball broke and at that time the first generation of Android phone came out. I decided to switch and have never looked back.

My friend who was a die hard BB fan got the Torch and he hated that phone with a passion. It was frustrating to use and that wacky click that they thought was such a 'great' idea so not so great. The phone got no support and no updates. He has since moved to Android loving it.

Even as they do move towards android their hardware is so lacking compared to HTC, Samsung...etc that unless they pull a rabbit out of that hat they will eventually fade into oblivion.
Reminds me of that Microsoft Evangelist who came out with a successful IOS app and quit to work on it full time.
+Robert Scoble +Alec Saunders I was a BB user for 4 years (my choice, not limited by my company). Loved the phone. I recently switched to Android (Nexus), not because of Apps but because I couldn't find a BB with same hardware quality. I have a BB playbook and I love it. I have used Android tablets (crappy), HP touchpad and I-pad, but like the playbook the most. QNX has a great UI. If they can work on that and come out with some great phones (hardware quality) I would go back to them in a blink. IMO majority of the apps on the iOS and android market are fluff anyway.
RIM had "security problems",
which meant they actually had the only secure device.

They miserably failed to capitalize on that, and turned it to a downfall.
"opening" security of their devices to a few countries (just to keep their markets) was a sign that they will have unsecure devices for all countries, and thus they can't be trusted anymore. Sad.

Extremely poor management.
Yeah. It's pretty obvious to everyone but RIM.
They must move to Android immediately and then differentiate themselves with unique hardware, and a group of nicely integrated business applications that do Enterprise mobile better than Apple or vanilla Android. Then, if they are smart, they'll swallow their pride and license those apps to other vendors like Samsung and HTC who can then sell things like "the new Samsung biz Pro with Blackberry" and so on...
It's the ONLY way RIM can survive.
I can't help but mention that BB has a 70% market share in South Africa, mainly due to affordable BIS (uncapped browsing)... BBM and usable apps (even if there are few). BB has options whereas Apple has 1 new phone, which gets replaced every year and most our term contracts are 2 years long. Also data isn't cheap like in first world countries, so having to constantly purchase data for browsing on Android and Apple products dont make sense... So BB for non-first world countries for years to come.
Better designed devices and a better platform for developers to use as a playground. Their current OS offerings were good back in the day, some were considered excellent but they didn't decide to move forward to the next best thing and keep innovating. BBM can only go so far you know. I think they need to completely retool their OS it jump on the Android bandwagon. Could be interesting for them. Maybe make it like MIUI but way more secure.....and what's a Playbook?
Monday morning QB here but RIM could have been a major player if their Playbook ran the same OS as their phone so apps could cross-load. Failure to do so spoke volumes to just how poorly they understood the market.
Their commercials are a bit lackluster as well. They tout the capabilities of the phone, and lets be honest; those capabilities are industry minimum-standard for smartphones these days.

Hey!! Pay attention to me because I do the bare minimum.
I remember RIM my grani told me about them, when i was a little boy.
I am disappointed the number of companies who had blackberry apps, and dont.. see sky+ for example, my bank, list goes on.. Blackberry are still a popular phone, why give up on it like they do
The company I work for develops apps for our product and we are seriously considering dumping the BB app. It's too difficult to develop. It has been the source of much frustration around the office. iOS and Android are no problem.
BB user here... I have had one for so long, but it looks mighty lackluster compared to current technology. If RIM chooses to ignore your advice, then I would politely recommend the next version be code named the Ostrich. Mountain Lions devour Ostriches while they bear their heads in the sand
BlackBerry should cut back all the nonsense and make only 3 phones:
1. Keyboard.
2. Touchscreen.
3. Flip-up.

You can go down with the ship if you want but Android or Windows Phone is going to be where it's at.

Make a pre-paid phone for $39 bucks or less.

Be darn sure the sales person at the Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and whatever store knows about your phone. Completely. Take control over how it gets displayed in-stores.
im just gonna go to piney branch park
+Robert Scoble - That may all depend on the person as well. Sure you will have people that will buy the product that everyone uses and has all the commercials, but in my wife's case, she really didn't care. In fact, she has an android mostly bc I chose it for her. That being said, I felt it may have been a mistake, bc she hardly uses it for more than email and text and she likes the keyboard. In the end a cheap phone with good email client and text client was all she needed (sounds like a BB device to me).

In general, it just comes down to individual preference. Some people may be interested in apps and phones, and some may not care. I still think that some people may want to stick with BB bc they don't need the apps and are comfortable using BB devices. That being said, if RIM continues to avoid be relevant, then they will ultimately fail.
Lets see how BB does in BRICs countries, this will determine BB's future, NOT just the US and Euro. By the way best selling phone in the UK in Jan was BB.
+Robert Scoble I don't think going with Android is a smart move. RIght now the only US target segment that RIM has any hold on is for business customers. Because of security issues, business IT divisions don't support Android. Switching to Android would lead RIM to lose the only vestige of market share they still have.

Honestly, I don't know where they have opportunity in the US market anymore... but trying to take on the non-premium segments (a poor man's smartphone) as others have hinted may be the best option. This is essentially what they've become anyway - might as well embrace it and try to become a low-cost provider of pseudo-smartphone hardware.
sad to say I got given a free BlackBerry touch about a year & a half ago it was that poor I put it in the bin & got my very old Nokia back out. I have update my phone since & so has the other 9 people at my office who also got free BlackBerry's. They just seem to loss there way as a company
I didn't need to visit 25 startups to know this, but yes I agree ;)
I think that everyone agrees that at this point that Blackberry is behind in the game. The problem is that you can't catch up by following others. Look at Nokia, Blackberry is headed down the same path Nokia is/was. They rode Symbian too long and then when no one wanted a Symbian phone anymore they started rolling with Windows Phone 7. That's not going to get them back to where they were. If you want to shoot ahead of your competition you must change the game. The iPhone was a game changer. Android was too. It stood on the shoulders of Apple iOS, but by letting other phone manufacturers use it for free, it was a game changer too.

Blackberry needs to roll out a game changer. Selling their devices with Android installed like +Robert Scoble suggests, best case, would bring them up even with other companies selling Android phones. They need to not only make the move to Android but they need to develop their own version of it that adds serious enterprise functionality (what Blackberry's known for) yet keeps its compatibility with the Android Market and its app ecosystem. I think that could carry them back to the position that they used to hold in the market.
With Android's customizability, RIM could take their strengths like BBM and corporate services, build them into their own customized version of Android, and unlike HTC/Moto/Samsung skins that contribute really nothing valuable to Android, RIM would have an outstanding product.
The word 'Blackberry' elicited quiet snickers this morning at a multidepartmental meeting.
I don't think your comments were negative without foundation. RIM is migrating to become RIP. Too late to save. Poor management and relationship with developers.
Why would I give those ex-billionaires free advise? Answer: I won't.
I can't agree with RIM going to Android in their Playbook. Maybe their smartphones, but not the Playbook. It's too much better than what Android has or Apple has in the way of tablets. The BB OS system in the Playbook is the best system available today for user convenience and operating functionality. It has the best multitasking/app switching system there is.

As far as the BB OS on phones, I believe there is more room for improvement. But certainly not so bad as to kill the system. If RIM stays it's course, I think the latest moves concerning the Playbook will pay off. It's just too sweet a system to not pay off. All that is needed is to get it into the hands of customers long enough for them to become familiar with it and they will be hooked. The way to do this is take a indefinite loss on the system so that it will build up marketshare. A $199/$249/$299 price point will likely provide that marketshare. Then later on, once enough people have the system and more and more developers are turning to it, they can introduce a non-loss system.
Maybe their time has passed: maybe their strength in the emerging markets and youth markets will keep them going until they can get something brilliant out of the door. A slightly improved chance of bare survival doesn't seem to me to be a good enough reason to give up and lose themselves in Android. Death before dishonour!
My stupid Android tablet just froze for the 3rd time this evening.... Useless!
BlackBerrys make up 3,3m of the 7,5m smartphones in use in SA, the research has found. However, only 15% of the 53m cellular connections in SA can be attributed to smartphones.

That BlackBerry controls the SA smartphone market is not surprising, Strategy Worx says. “More significant is that the number of Windows Mobile 6.5 devices still outnumbers the amount of Android devices and, despite all the hype, the iPhone accounts for only 4% of all smartphones in SA.”
One of the reasons why I hate RIM is because they always make phones with tiny screens. I would never buy a phone that has screen smaller than 4 inch. People love phones with giant screens, RIM CEO is too dumb to realize that.
Strategy Worx says BBM has emerged as one of the largest mobile social platforms in SA behind only MXit, which currently has 10m active users.

Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Foursquare and emerging social platforms such as Path and Google+ do not appear to be affecting the popularity of BBM, MXit and WhatsApp Messenger – they appear to be used in parallel at this time but will become more significant as they develop in 2012.  — Staff reporter, TechCentral
Today I'm selling my BB Torch strictly because I want better apps! RIM: You can do better...
As a developer I am looking at Android and Windows Phone. Blackberry isn't even in the picture. Not sure how they are going to save themselves. I think they'll have to go with either Android or Windows Phone to save the company.
+Alec Saunders Loved your discussion today, cant wait for new playbook 3G (OS 2/3) and BB OS10 Bold/Torch.
Our BES server is complete shit, and my BB world edition 8710 is the worst phone I have ever used. It never notifies me of VM's and its battery and power management and function are just the worst i have ever seen. I can't make a call for 20 minutes WHILE IT IS PLUGGED IN until the battery charges more? You won't take calls or receive emails after the battery goes low until i manually turn the radio back on? YOU SUCK, and now that my company has revised it's policy on personal smart for use to access company data, I am ditching the POS.
Rim has something that droid and iOS does not and that's a secure close network. If rim figures out how to use that to its advantage it might make a comeback...
I lost faith in BB since the outage. Also it's so far behind in hardware and software.

Thinking of the outage RIM has a server centre in Slough, UK. I can't help but think of Slough the poem by John Betjeman;

Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
It isn't fit for humans now,
There isn't grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death!
Come, bombs and blow to smithereens
Those air -conditioned, bright canteens,
Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,
Tinned minds, tinned breath.

Mess up the mess they call a town-
A house for ninety-seven down
And once a week a half a crown
For twenty years.

And get that man with double chin
Who'll always cheat and always win,
Who washes his repulsive skin
In women's tears:

And smash his desk of polished oak
And smash his hands so used to stroke
And stop his boring dirty joke
And make him yell.

But spare the bald young clerks who add
The profits of the stinking cad;
It's not their fault that they are mad,
They've tasted Hell.

It's not their fault they do not know
The birdsong from the radio,
It's not their fault they often go
To Maidenhead

And talk of sport and makes of cars
In various bogus-Tudor bars
And daren't look up and see the stars
But belch instead.

In labour-saving homes, with care
Their wives frizz out peroxide hair
And dry it in synthetic air
And paint their nails.

Come, friendly bombs and fall on Slough
To get it ready for the plough.
The cabbages are coming now;
The earth exhales.

Either that or could a stuxnet virus be released at the damned company?

Right I'm off to bed.
They have to get their act together or they going to be in trouble .
After iOS and Android, the next thing developers are focused on is HTML5, because they’re looking for a solution that will let them target multiple handset vendors, not just one.  RIM has, hands-down, the best implementation of HTML5 in mobile today. 
Can you relay a message to them from all of us, just to clear the air and make sure they fully understand? Yes? Good. Here goes: WE DON'T CARE ABOUT RIM.
Go with Android?? Good grief. Why do folks keep thinking that Android is the savior? I dont see how that is the fix.
+Ugo Nwokolo because Android is an open-source platform that RIM doesn't have to develop, and already has a large market share and developer base maybe? Good grief, are all your opinions this well thought out?
"So, if you are a RIM fan, tell me why RIM has a future, even without developer support?"
2 words: +Mohamed Mansour - employed by RIM, he is a rock star here on Google+ and is an awesome community contributor. Tell RIM to talk to Mohamed, and to take his advice.
I had a bold, I switched to an andriod, but I miss the ease of the blackberry. I could reply to a text super fast and not have to wait for anything to load. I liked how I could type in a name and the contact list would come up. It is by far the easiest interface to use. They fell behind when 3G came out and they were using edge. That's what killed it for me.
..and if you need a good keyboard why not just buy a foldable bluetooth keyboard to use only when you need it but then typing blindly...
Making phone hardware & software is hardly the only revenue stream for Apple, Microsoft, and Google. No matter how low their phone market shares are (looking at you, Microsoft), they have a shot at building up their app libraries simply by remaining stubbornly in the game...indefinitely, if necessary.

RIM, go invest in new tech fields. Find your Xbox, iPod, Final Cut, YouTube, Google TV, Apple TV, or whatever. While you're still a profitable company and have the luxury of exploring diversification.
I suffered a Blackberry for 2 years and RIM gave me nightmares... :-(
Palm, and Blackberry has HUGE competitive advantages over their time, and could have easily retained the lead... but they got complacent (like other industry leaders ((AOL, Yahoo, IBM)) and soon RIM will lose it's leadership advantage in this market...

Capitalism works because it rewards the innovators, and disruptive technologies. If you are going to stay complacent, they you deserve to lose.
the RIM platform is sliding into the tar pit. They can either reinvent themselves or go extinct. Choice is theirs.
Thought they were out of business already
And it's not just the platform that is broken for developers, have you tried their tools? That IDE of theirs make Visual C++ 1.5 from Windows 3.0 look modern. Takes forever to load, constantly crashes and doesn't even have feature parity with Visual C++ 1.5 from the late 80's
IMO, RIM's biggest appeal has been to the business sector. For the user the BB is easy to use, fast and has a global reach. For Andoid/iOS, where in the world your phone works depends on your cellular provider. Often you have to swap out SIMs or even phones. Don't have to do that for BB. Additionally, for the Enterprise, managing the phones, and deploying apps securely is pretty simple to do for BB and is an all in one solution. Building apps for the BBB is the long pole. If they can make BB development easier (read cheaper) then they have a shot. By comparison, building for Android/iOS is relatively easy, but for an Enterprise to manage devices and deploy apps securely ONLY to their users is the long pole and typically involves a third party solution. Businesses do not want their business apps distributed in the public market; they want to do it in house as easily as they do for their BB footprint. Sure you can deploy over the air/over the web but then you have to deal with app upgrades, push notifications and security - none of it is trivial. RIM offers an all in one solution for hardware/software and device management. Make it as easy to develop BB apps as it is to develop iOS/Android and they will keep the enterprise market. Figure out a way to allow devs to build for BB and port to iOS/Android and ALSO manage those corporate devices with their enterprise manager and I think you will see RIM own the "niche" Enterprise market again.
Tell them they should switch to an android based OS derivative, integrate newly minted open source web OS glam and drop it on some sexy hardware. It's not magic, but it does need to work at least as good as other android phones to be competitive...
I have always been a huge BB fanboy. Its sad they were on the top of the world, but they stuck their head too far up their own butt and lost it all. The only way they are going to be able to give it an honest try is to ditch their own OS switch to the Android.
Android is a horrible choice for RIM. Windows phone is the far better option. It's marketable for RIM, who's been traditionally Microsoft friendly for businesses, to go with the platform. The blackberry is a phone that needs a renewed business push and Microsoft needs that reassertion of being the first option for all businesses. Going with Android would only demonstrate that RIM is dragging its feet and directionless, going with the generic option just to stay afloat.

With Windows phone 8, Nokia and RIM can be the leaders in phone hardware that provide a significant third option over iOS and Android, while also being extremely attractive options to the consumer and business markets by integrating with the Windows 8 push, which is a meld of the two platforms together in order to usher in a far more ubiquitous experience that only Apple has provided thus far.

Google and the Android platform are lazy options that do not provide the significant branding and market leverage to keep RIM afloat and if they want to avoid being the next Palm, they must take the steps necessary to bolster Microsoft as the platform of choice for the consumer and business markets. Microsoft will need them as much as they need Microsoft, and if either of them want to beat Apple, they have to demonstrate the power and capabilities that many hardware companies working with a far more unified approach to the user experience provided by a trusted software company will yield far better results than trying to do everything internally on a platform that's oversaturating the market with far too many revisions and custom builds, that do very little to attract the consumer and too much to lock in company propriety.

Android will be the end of the Blackberry and RIM. Period. 
Yeah, nothing says a winning horse like Windows on your phone. MS hasn't been a phone contender for years, and not even IT geeks can be bothered to use them. It's a nonstarter. They'd be better off with WebOS, which people are at least interested in. Not, you know, a lot.
RIM going with WP7 leaves them in almost the same position... Nobody wants to support it... Market share isn't much better... except they'll have to abide by all of MS rules...
I had a blackberry curve that in 6 months lost the os 3 times, froze every other day, dropped apps every now and then for no reason. Tried to get help from rim to no avail several times. Got time for my upgrade and went to iPhone never had not one issue. In fact the only thing I don't like is the chord isn't long enough. That's it. 
RIM and Microsoft are investing hard in open web standards to fight off the devices that rule the market, the larger of those running Linux.

Would anyone believe 3 years ago that this sentence will ever become a reality?
I tried to develop for RIM once. What a waste of money that was!
Also the platform was crap..
i think its just about focus. really RIM should point out its security and easiness not about the apps. forget your competitors. go back to basic. and the most important thing that RIM don't have is they EXEC don't hear what thier own developer say. maybe from the inside is better.
Yeah, that would be smart, and they could sell bbm for non bb users.
I think BlackBerry's strengths are its utility, meaning physical keyboard, efficient data usage, reliable push email and BBM (including message-read tracking), physical call and end buttons, and enterprise management through BBS.

The BlackBerry security model alone, granting apps specific permissions and blocking others (even if it halts "nosy apps"), is years ahead of what iOS or Android offer, where a user must either grant permissions requested or not install the app.

Even that recent incident where a concertgoer couldn't silence his iPhone's alarm was avoidable on a BlackBerry, with its sound profiles and the ability to silence different alerts at different times. (It also helps that BlackBerry phones have removable batteries, unlike Apple products and newer Droids.)

But my praise for BlackBerry is a little like a fleet manager praising a truck's reliability, utility and durability, while car-show enthusiasts are clamoring excitement, performance, luxury and change. So as a techie, I can see why consumers aren't as "hot" for BlackBerry. But, when you switch away from BB, there are still practice features you miss.
What's a blackberry, seriously, no one wants to give me an answer. Isn't it that fruit that looks like a raspberry?
+Kyron Weaver, that is more properly called a Boysen Berry. It is often called a black berry, however in the part of Canada I grew up in Black Berries are much more like Blue Berries.
The Blackberry device is the first major "Smart Phone". A google search can tell you far more than I can...
It does seem like Blackberry is very weak compare to other major smartphone OS from a developer's point of view and they definitely need to work on that. However, I use my blackberry mostly for email and text because I honestly don't have the time to chase after the latest apps. Blackberry helps me to get the job done.
I have problems with both, actually. BBerry is a more reliable phone signal for me, but less reliable and more difficult browsing capacity. Not a good camera at all. iPhone great camera, bad call quality, aesthetically groovy. When I travel, I'm BBerry got a signal on Pt. Reyes in California last week and my iPhone didn't. Happens all the time.
I am seeing a lot of people mentioning BBM as a positive for Blackberry... Having limited experience with BB, what makes their messenger so worthwhile? Isn't it just about the same as Google Talk?
Why wouldn't developers develop for QNX? Its just Adobe AIR, which is a beautiful and fast dev environment. If you develop for Playbook, you're already developing for BBX.

In terms of developers, they follow the money.
+Robert Scoble having built few popular apps for iOS and Android, we decided we should investigate building something for BB, it took days to just set things up and build basic skeletons, our prototypes failed miserably exhibiting terrible user experience and apps that did not work well on many popular BBs. I discussed this with few RIM employees at conferences etc but I wasn't getting any good support nor any vision on what devices we should target, so we abandoned the project.
Later on we thought we should try to get some high profile contact inside of RIM to see if we can get some help figuring things out. Being Canadian, I have few friends who work there so I contact one (who is actually a product manager). He was eager to help and started asking around, the problem? well he did even get a response himself! I pinged him again few months later and he still had the same problem. The mobile world now is a fight of echo-systems, if you don't empower developers let alone your own product managers, you simply have no future.
This was when BB had 25+% market share, I will definitely not waste my time on it now that it has less than 9% market share and dropping.

Also, they tout HTML5? both QNX and BB7 have the worst support compared to iOS and Android. Most of the web apps we build have to be tweaked on ends to work on them, even if you get it to work on QNX it doesn't mean it would work on BB7 (and vice versa) they are not even compatible with their own devices!
Thanks for this update Robert that has absolutely no bearing on my life whatsoever.
Three thoughts:

1. Android hurdles: RIM seems to be stuck in old-business thinking. They want to court Android developers, but instead of focusing on making it easy for developers, they fill their app submission process with hoop after hoop after hoop to jump through. Instead of embracing their compatibility with Android apps, they want Android developers to remove any mention of Android, which just adds more hoops for the developers to jump through. That kind of pickiness might be afforded to a company that is dominating its market, but for a company in RIM's position? Circling the wagons only works when the things you want to protect are already inside the circle.

2. Submitting apps: I recently submitted two apps that I made for free with Compared to the instant gratification of the Android market, submitting an app to the Blackberry store is a real chore. I think RIM will need to work on their submission process if they want developers to continue submitting apps after the free playbook offer has ended. There are some parts of the submission process that are especially confusing and intimidating to indie developers.

3. Hardware keyboards: The hardware keyboard became a useless feature for me the moment I started using Swype. At this point I would reject any mobile device with a hardware keyboard for being needlessly encumbered. I wouldn't want to give up any screen space or battery capacity for one.
use swype/slide instead of keyboard. Make easier for apps developement for developer even for novice people. Give the user a free limited cloud storage. Forget flash and go for html5. Give the option for easy update of os in any hardware.
Pretty much just pickup the Android and start afresh?
Africa and South America ain't weird markets. Those markets have been sustaining RIM for some time now. I do agree with the write up except for making those markets sound insignificant. The cheap android phones are not enough for them to dominate the African market. Androids are not supported with cheap internet data plans like you have for blackberry and that is a major deciding factor for smartphone success.
I always enjoy your interviews on Varney & Co and they got this stock on their Death Watch list stating the same exact thing you mention... lack of app development. Guess you need to tell RIM the truth... which isn't always easy to hear.
+ Robert Scoble MSFT executives also told QNX guys that they will put them out of embedded device business.That didn't work out well did it? Mobile phones are not computers.Apps are just one of many factors that goes into buying a phone, unlike PCs where apps are the only reason for usage.We shall see, let's not get too carried away by US example.In UK you pay 50 GBP for Iphone 4S compared to 15 GBP for a curve 8520.Similar dynamics exists all over the world.
I've used them all, and for business use, the BB with a keyboard is still the best device. There is no way I can respond to 200+ emails a day tapping on a piece of glass.

So, yea, I carry two devices.
Why do people always point to BBM as a killer app? There are 500 chat apps out there. RIM what a joke
+Robert Scoble Do you have an update with your RIM conversation? I'd love to hear their response.
But +Robert Scoble , so many pundits (not you) used to say in 2010 when the nexus one came out that Android never stood a chance, would never ever take off etc... that most of us have become wary of "never ever".
Your post is following the conventional wisdom that has devalued RIM stock by 80%, but it misses a couple of important points. First, QNX, with its Android player, allows Android devs to quickly prepare their EXISTING apps--in many cases with no re-coding at all--and sell them in the BB App World. Presumably, if those devs see success, it may move them to build a native app.

Secondly, there's a different demographic among BlackBerry users; typically more affluent, more professional. That may be eroding, but it's still there and SHOULD prove more attractive. Hopefully, as the app ecosystem improves for BB, some of that market can be won back.

There's a third "wild card", if you will, in TAT's Cascades UI components, of which we've only seen demos. But if it even comes close to living up to its hype, it could be a game changer.
Add a comment...