Why RIM needs to push BlackBerry 6 out before June 7

BlackBerry WES 2010 April conference where BlackBerry 6 was unveiled

Competition in the mobile space has been intensifying ever since the iPhone truly revolutionized the mobile realm, followed more recently with the Android mobile operating system developed by Google that has recently seen record sales.

Research In Motion, the maker of the popular BlackBerry enterprise centric (turned consumer friendly) messaging device has traditionally enjoyed a competitive edge (and arguably still does) over other platforms with its superior messaging capabilities, mainly seamless push e-mail and PIN messaging with BlackBerry Messenger.

RIM has traditionally been focused on developing handsets that are geared towards enterprise with an efficient and functional operating system that is designed to serve its primary purpose: mobile messaging, e-mail, and notifications.

 The threat is that now other mobile devices offer push notifications, and a slew of many other features that are highly attractive to consumers (and enterprises) such as with respect to multimedia and gaming, something the BlackBerry still doesn’t do very well.

Some limitations of the BlackBerry operating system that RIM needs to fix include the ability for applications to have access to external storage, something the iPhone is able to do. This feature alone, for example, would allow GPS navigation applications such as Garmin to store maps on external storage, thereby allowing consumers to use the application without requiring cellular connectivity. This feature alone would prove most useful for people who travel often due to prohibitively high data roaming costs.

RIM is also working on improving Internet browsing on the device with a newly built mobile browser that is based on the same webkit technology used in the iPhone. Unlike the iPhone, BlackBerry, along with Android phones, will get Adobe Flash support by the end of this summer, as confirmed by Adobe.

Another BlackBerry limitation that needs to be fixed is to allow streaming (at least via WiFi) of better quality YouTube videos. Currently, as the BlackBerry OS compresses data, YouTube video quality is poor, compared to a near perfect viewing experience on other platforms.

Due to these limitations, among others, of the BlackBerry operating system, it is becoming increasingly more difficult for the average consumer to keep their BlackBerry.

It is true that the business market is more lucrative than the consumer market for RIM, but as smartphones become more affordable for average consumers and more people begin to adopt them, the consumer market is arguably just as important today.

RIM recognizes these threats and has launched its App World app store for developers to publish a variety of applications for consumers to download for a fee (some for free). The problem is that there are just not as many apps to choose from compared to other platforms such as the Android marketplace and the iPhone app store.

In fact, the applications found on the BlackBerry platform aren’t as comprehensive (especially the mobile gaming apps), and do not offer as much to consumers as do popular apps (such as augmented reality apps, GPS apps, gaming apps) found on other platforms, namely the iPhone.

People argue the iPhone is not good for business, and right now, they are probably right. RIM still holds patents that make the BlackBerry an excellent device in a business environment; such as patents relating to administrative controls IT managers can push to devices via BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

However, BlackBerry Enterprise Server remains very costly, and as competing platforms offer messaging capabilities nearly on par, again, it is becoming increasingly difficult for smaller businesses to adopt the BlackBerry today.

RIM recognizes these threats and is set to introduce BlackBerry OS 6, a completely revamped operating system that will bring visual enhancements, RSS social networking notifications, among other interface enhancements.

To date, we have only seen a small promotional video (embedded below) put together by RIM that showcases the new operating system. But, judging from the video, it seems the new OS is more about eye-candy and insignificant tweaks that will not include fixes to key constraints outlined above.

A RIM official recently said in an interview the company blocks application access to external media due to security concerns, but is considering the capability later on. At this time, it is unclear if the new OS will support better quality YouTube streaming.

As Apple readies its next-generation iPhone device that will include iChat and video conferencing, which is rumored to be unveiled on June 7, RIM should roll out its new operating system to entice consumers to stay with the platform before people make the switch to the new and highly anticipated iPhone.

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Chris is a graduate from the Art’s program at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. He is very passionate about photography and art. Write to [email protected]
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  • moonlight42

    We are involved in the mobile development industry, specializing in developing apps for the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android. For more information, please look at our link: http://bit.ly/daiFc9

  • Loreto

    having a blackberry for personal use, i don't even see much value in BBM these days – so what if I see when a person reads the message (it doesn't actually mean THEY read it)… + it doesn't actually lead to a quicker response….

    the BB is good only when u have messages, but it is not a phone to keep u entertained…and most people don't always have important messages/conversations all day, we need a funner phone! … Hello iPhone!

  • Asham

    u guys want an even bigger reason why u should ditch ur BB for iPhone?

    = Skype finally allows VoIP over 3G… while Skype for BBs rn't even available (with the exception of Verizon only) – no 1 in Canada can use it, let alone over 3G

  • Asham

    oh and here is the link


  • Justisceftner

    need a better bb than the bold this yr when! When! WHEN!!!!!!!!

  • Justisceftner

    need a better bb than the bold this yr when! When! WHEN!!!!!!!!

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