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How Research In Slow Motion can get on the Fast Track Again


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NASDAQ:RIMM stock chart with volatility as at September 29, 2011

Demonstration of how Apple’s FaceTime works on iOS devices, which is now also supported with Mac computers.
Source: CNet

Demonstration of Skype for BlackBerry, only available in the U.S. for Verizon customers. International users are not able to use the app to make VoIP calls or chat with Skype friends.
Source: CrackBerry, via YouTube

Adobe engineer demonstrates how developers could use Adobe Air to create a single code base for applications that can be used to run the apps on multiple operating systems.
Source: Adobe, via YouTube

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RIM’s overhauled BlackBerry Bold 9900, includes capacitive display and keyboard.
Source: RIM, via Bloomberg

The Ontario-based BlackBerry maker, Research In Motion LLC (RIM), continues to disappoint investors, as sales and free cash flow to equity significantly declined in the pervious fiscal quarter as a direct result of still not having released a competitive device more than a year after Apple launched its iPhone 4 – in fact, Apple will announce the next generation iPhone next Tuesday.

Investors largely blame top management for being too slow to innovate coupled with a corporate structure filled with intermediaries and lack of accountability that works counter-intuitively in facilitating efficient information flows, decision-making, and innovation.

Despite the significant downturn, the company holds over 2,000 patents, and is the market leader in providing enterprises with the most secure mobile communication and management infrastructure. However, competitors are now able to offer many of those core BlackBerry features in their own products with a better user experience and on a more cost-effective basis.

But, it isn’t too late for RIM just yet.

Here are some of the most important things RIM should consider to remain a going concern.

1. Take back control of your own platform:

Apple has been criticized for being notoriously controlling over what apps work on its iOS platform to the point where competitors have raised anti-trust concerns.

Although being too controlling might not be a good thing (and Apple isn’t as controlling today), at least it provides a very consistent user experience, but the same cannot be said about the BlackBerry user experience.

For example, the U.S. telecom Verizon reached an exclusive deal with Skype to make the Skype VoIP/chat app available exclusively only to Verizon BlackBerry customers. As a result, millions of other international Skype/BlackBerry users do not have practical access to Skype (even in Canada) because of the exclusive deal reached between Skype and Verizon in the U.S. – this would have never happened with any Apple product.
As another example, after you’ve restarted your BlackBerry, have you ever noticed new app installation icons (like mobile commerce app Zoom on Telus) on your menu? That’s courtesy of your carrier that has pushed the apps to your device after reaching a deal with the app makers, in the process re-arranging your menu configuration. Even if you delete the service books, after another restart, those apps re-appear. Could you opt out? No.

2. Focus on the user & innovate

One thing Apple really understands is consumer wants, and as a result, people are willing to camp out in front of stores to buy new Apple products.

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Verizon Wireless iPhone Announcement Confirmed February Launch


Update: Verizon has announced the iPhone, and it will launch on February 10, 2011, with the company accepting pre-orders starting on February 3. The iPhone model is slightly tweaked with buttons on the left side of the phone being pushed slightly higher, likely to address the antenna issues with the early models. All other sides look  identical to the AT&T version. There are some differences between Verizon and AT&T plans: Verizon is not offering consumers early phone upgrades, no global roaming, and no ability to simultaneously use voice and data features, as AT&T customers could. The company is expected to offer unlimited data for about $30 per month. The Verizon iPhone also offers hotspot support for up to five devices at the same time to share an Internet connection. The AT&T version does not, but applications for jailbroken iPhone devices are already available with even fewer restrictions. The Verizon iPhone does not come preinstalled with any third party applications, only traditional apps from Apple. It also does not have any branding to indicate the phone is from Verizon, rather, only Apple logos are on the device, just like you’d normally expect from any Apple product. The Verizon iPhone is operating on iOS 4.2.5, likely an OS that includes some tweaks for the CDMA version, without really any other differences except under-the-hood technical additions. When Verizon president and chief operating officer, Lowell McAdam, was asked about users not being able to simultaneously use voice and data, he replied, “people place different emphasis on things…they will make those sorts of tradeoffs,” he went on to say he couldn’t be happier at being able to tell people the iPhone is simply now available on Verizon. Mr. Seidenberg also said the company isn’t going for the Long Term Evolution network for now, just to get the iPhone working on its network ASAP. When asked about possible attenuation issues, he said there was sufficient time to make changes, and he expected the phone to work great on its 3G network. Despite the announcement, the Verizon stock (NYSE:VZ) is trading down about 20 basis points in mid-day trading.

According to people familiar with the matter who leaked information to The Wall Street Journal, Verizon wireless, the largest telecom carrier by the number of subscribers, tomorrow will announce that the company would carry Apple’s popular iPhone smartphone.

According to sources who spoke to The Wall Street Journal, an iPhone compatible version with Verizon networks would launch by the end of this month.

Reports also speculate that Verizon is preparing to provide unlimited data plans to entice consumers.

A significant number of iPhone users have long complained of poor reception associated with the AT&T network.

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Apple iPhone could come to Verizon in 2011 with new LTE network


Apple’s popular iPhone smartphone has been sold exclusively through the telecom AT&T in the U.S. since the very first generation of the device that launched about five years ago.

Five years later, the latest iPhone 4 is still only available on the AT&T network in the United States, but that could change as soon as next summer.

Apple has not built an iPhone that supports the CDMA network standard, the same standard used by the biggest telecom in the United States, Verizon.

Verizon chief executive Mr. Seidenberg told investors today that his company had no plans to launch Apple’s iPhone 4 in the near future, but expressed his favor of carrying the iPhone in the future.

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Google starts selling Nexus One in Canada


Google begins shipping Nexus One in Canada, Verizon version soon expected, smartphone war intensifies

Google today announced the availability of its flagship Nexus One smartphone on the AT&T network and on Rogers Wireless in Canada.

The company is offering the Nexus One directly to consumers for use on either of the two networks for $529, without any telecom subsidy in sight at least for now. There is no comment from the two carriers as to whether or not they would subsidize the device.

The Nexus One is currently offered exclusively through T-Mobile in the U.S. priced at $179 on a two-year term.

Google originally announced it intended to offer a version of the Nexus One for use on the Verizon network by spring 2010. Reports today indicate the Verizon version could launch on March 23, 2010.

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BlackBerry Storm 2 announced with review


BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion Inc. (RIM) has officially unveiled the new BlackBerry Storm 2, the successor of RIM’s very first touch-screen based device.

It is expected RIM will be announcing availability in the coming days. The phone should head to Verizon first in the U.S. and later in the Europe from Vodafone.

The Storm 2 will feature basic enhancements compared to the first-generation Storm. RIM has enhanced the SureType text-entry to only electronic-based, and there will now be no moving parts. The memory has also been doubled to 256MB of flash memory, and there is now 2GB of on board storage. The device features GPS, a 3.2MP camera, and now includes 802.11 b/g WiFi.

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Verizon Sells 1M Blackberry Storms, Q4 Profits Up


Verizon has just released Q4 results. The Blackberry Storm contributed to higher profits, with an impressive 1 million Blackberry Storm units sold. Analysts were expecting about 500,000 units sold. Verizon also reported 1.4 million new subscribers added during Q4. Verizon CEO and Chairman Ivan Seidenberg said “Verizon has shown that it is able to compete effectively in this economic environment,” Verizon posted $24.65 billion in total revenue and $1.24 billion in net profit in 2008. The Blackberry definitely Read the full story

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