Posts Tagged ‘BlackBerry’

BlackBerry OS 6 gets previewed, continues consumer push

I’ve never quite understood why Nokia’s Symbian gets so much flack for having an outdated UI while BlackBerry is let off the hook. In my book, RIM’s OS is equally old fashioned and despite years of maturity still looks a bit, well, unfinished in parts, with text hard aligned on certain setting screens and a kludge of drop down menus at times. But that’s set to change with the upcoming Blackberry 6, which got a tasty preview on video today.

What’s shown seems very consumer-focused too as the company continues to break out from its core base of corporate users and build on the success of BlackBerry Messenger amongst teenagers and other non-suits, as well as Facebook integration and a slew of consumer apps.

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7digital launches in the US, BlackBerry music download store provides the splash

Like many British acts, UK-based music download service 7digital is hoping to conquer America. Today the company announced that its 6 million plus strong MP3 music store has opened its doors in the US, with tracked offered from Universal Music Group, Warner, EMI, Sony and an array independent labels.

To coincide and spearhead 7digital’s US launch, the company has also released the BlackBerry MP3 Music Store application for RIM’s latest range of smartphones (BlackBerry Bold, BlackBerry Curve 8900, BlackBerry Tour, BlackBerry Curve 8520 and BlackBerry Storm).

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Adobe Flash seen running on Palm Pre – Netbooks, MIDs, and other smartphones also set to win (iPhone aside)

Adobe has long talked up its ambition to have Flash running on all manner of screens, not just the humble PC, and today the company got a lot closer to walking the walk not just talking.

Through the Open Screen Project, Adobe was already known to be working with smartphone platforms from Palm (WebOS), Nokia (Symbian) and Microsoft (Windows Mobile), along with a raft of content providers, chip makers and consumer electronics companies. Today, the company added Google and Research In Motion to the list, with relation to Android and Blackberry-powered smartphones respectively, leaving Apple’s iPhone as the odd one out regarding planned support for full Flash (or any Flash support at all).

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Palm Pre aiming to be THE Facebook phone – social networking still mobile's killer app


(Credit: Jamie Gonzalez via twitpic)

I’ve written many times before that social networking, and Facebook in particular, is the killer application for mobile phones. It’s what’s driving take up of mobile data and the adoption of higher end so-called smartphones. The mobile networks have taken notice and jumped on the social networking bandwagon, heavily promoting access to Facebook as a key feature, and handset makers are doing the same.

RIM has been targeting consumers with an ad campaign that features the Blackberry’s Facebook application.

Ditto Apple with the iPhone.

And there’s INQ, a new entrant whose first device, the INQ1, has been dubbed ‘the Facebook phone‘ based on its deep integration with the social networking site.

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BlackBerry address book integrates Facebook, apes Palm Pre's "Synergy" and INQ1

blackberry-facebookA new version of the Facebook for BlackBerry application has been released that offers better integration with the social networking site. Two standout features: a user’s friends list is kept in sync with the handset’s built-in address book – Facebook avatars show up as called ID, for example – and notifications from the social networking site are “pushed” to the phone’s home screen. Other features offered, not all of which are new, include:

  • Send/receive message or wall posts, pokes and friend requests.
  • Update your status, view and comment on your friends’ status.
  • Share photos from your BlackBerry smartphone with tags/comments and post to Facebook with just one click.

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BlackBerry App World launches as RIM's consumer push continues

blackberry app worldAlready entrenched in the corporate world, it’s no secret that Canadian handset maker RIM harbors serious consumer ambitions, an area it sees as most likely to produce future growth. Case in point is the company’s recently released ‘BlackBerry Storm’, an all touch screen affair that arguably puts video playback and other consumer features ahead of ‘corporate’ email, which has long been RIM’s ‘bread and butter’.

Today’s launch of ‘BlackBerry App World‘, the company’s answer to the iPhone’s App Store, provides even greater evidence of a consumer push, with apps for Facebook, MySpace and Instant Messaging, currently dominating the “featured apps” list.

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Internet TV news: BlackBerry, Blockbuster and TiVo, Netflix on PS3?

A few Internet TV-related stories have been doing the rounds over the last few days that I’ve not yet had a chance to comment on. Here’s a quick catch-up.

BlackBerry to launch video download service

blackberryvideoResearch In Motion is close to launching a a full-episode television service for the company’s line of BlackBerry smartphones. An official announcement could come as early as next week at CTIA, reports NewTeeVee. Interesting tidbits include:

  • It will be an unlimited monthly subscription service for a fee
  • Once a user orders a program, the content will be downloaded in the background over Wi-Fi
  • Multiple broadcast and cable networks have licensed content for the service

As NTV notes, utilizing WiFi rather than 3G to deliver episodes to the phone enables RIM to bypass carriers, while at the same avoiding the inconvenience of side-loading content via a PC (iTunes style). Obviously it would be preferable to offer both options – WiFi and 3G – but that would likely mean sharing revenue, something that RIM, like Apple, is keen to avoid. As it stands, any direct paid-for content offering from RIM won’t sit well with carriers who still insist on owning the customer.

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If buggy smartphones are the "new reality", here's some free advice for handset makers

It’s an honest yet unwelcome admission: rushing devices to market with buggy and unfinished software is the “new reality” in the smartphone space, RIM’s co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie tells the Wall Street Journal. When the company released its iPhone competitor, the Blackberry Storm, it met its Black Friday deadline by “the skin of their teeth”, only for the device to be widely slammed by critics for its many software glitches, most of which, RIM claims, have now been addressed by a firmware update.

RIM’s story isn’t an isolated one. The majority of smartphones that I’ve tested over the last year, admittedly some were “pre-production” models, had issues with the software on which they run on. The problem should be addressed in a forthcoming software update, I’m almost always told, and more often than not it is.


And there lies the biggest problem.

While “release early and release often” might be the new smartphone reality, timing is everything. Here’s some free advice for smartphone makers…

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Who has the most to fear from Palm's "New-ness"?

Pandora CTO Tom Conrad put it best: “I can’t think of much that’s harder in the world than building a modern, mobile operating system and integrating it with a fantastic piece of hardware”, he tells Palm Info Center.

We see companies take a swing and miss at this time after time – I really think Palm has hit a home run on this one.”

And Conrad should know.

Not only has his company ported its music streaming and discovery service to over 40 different handsets, “everything from J2ME and Windows Mobile to the iPhone”, but Pandora was also chosen by Palm to get an early hands-on peak at the webOS and Pre and begin bringing their app over to the company’s new platform.

At the same time, Conrad rightfully reminds us that Palm is still very much the underdog. Of course, underdogs should rarely be underestimated.

On that note, who should have the most to fear from Palm’s “New-ness”?

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HTC launches first true iPhone competitor just as Apple is about to take its phone to next level

htc touch diamondIt’s about time. Well, sort of.

Taiwanese smart phone manufacturer HTC launched the Touch Diamond today and, as expected, it’s small, sleek, sexy, very iPhone-esque, and promising.

Unfortunately for those of us in the U.S. or Latin America, the Diamond will not be available until the second half of 2008. If you’re in European markets, the phone begins shipping in June, followed by Asia and the Middle East.

As you know, much has been said about the iPhone since its launch last June. Ever since then, any phone released by any manufacturer is compared with the iPhone.

But so far, no one has come close to the iPhone’s design, interface, usability, user experience, and overall satisfaction, although Nokia’s offerings are popular. One “phone” promised to take on the iPhone, but the so-called Gphone, running Google’s mobile operating system Android, hasn’t been released by any manufacturer yet, it isn’t expected until the fourth quarter, and is completely untested in the market.

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