RIM Reveals BBX Disappointment at DevCon

Today, Research in Motion officially announced BBX. BBX is the culmination of their legacy OS merged with what QNX has been building for the past year or so.

The developer conference that RIM hosts, DevCon, takes place over the next few days in San Francisco and then moves to Asia and Europe in the following months. New devices, new endeavors and anything new to RIM is normally announced at the event. So far, BBX has been the most ‘exciting’ thing. No new smartphones, no new tablets, and most certainly no devices running BBX have been discussed thus far.

So, what makes BBX so special? For starters, it’s a completely new platform — except it’s already on the PlayBook, which was an abysmal failure in comparison to other tablets. Okay, well they now have new development environments! HTML5 with WebWorks, Adobe Air, Native C/C++ and an Android Runtime. Even if developers don’t flock to using “web technologies” for their apps, you can surely rely on the vast Android Market, right? Before you do that, be sure to check out what will and won’t work with their Android Player  — almost nothing useful will work as it should.

What did RIM do properly? They announced they were abolishing some of the barriers to start developing for the platform. You no longer need to register to download the SDK. You no longer need to show ‘notarized papers’ to start developing. Leave the credit card in your wallet, it’s now free become a BlackBerry third party developer. That’s right, previous to today, you had to create an account, identify yourself and fork over cash before you could write a single line of code with their tools. If anybody was wondering why RIM was having a hard time attracting real talent, wonder no more!

RIM plans to use BBX to provide unification to their smartphones, tablets and other embedded devices they have in the works. BBM is there, push notifications are there, and their now-defunct proprietary communications backhaul  is there too! Everything you love (and hate) about BlackBerry is basically going to stay the same for the foreseeable future.

If RIM plans on gaining back the confidence they lost earlier this month, they will have to pull out all the stops over the next 2 days. We can only hope that the Waterloo-based company has an ace in the sleeve before they end the game.

RIM Reports Q2 Results: Revenues Down, Only 200K Playbooks Shipped

Research in Motion just announced their Q2 FY2012 results for the quarter ended August 27, 2011, and they seem to indicate just what everyone suspected.

Its revenue in the second quarter dropped to $4.2 billion, down 15% from the last quarter and down 10% from Q2 2010. Its net income has dropped to just $329 million, less than half what it was in the last quarter.

Blackberry smartphone shipments dropped to 10.6 million, while Playbook shipments were just 200,000. It’s very likely that this number is the number of Playbooks shipped to retailers, and not actual sales. Compared to the sales of the Apple iPad, this is a laughable figure.

The results have been much lower than expectations. Investors have started dumping the stock already, with $RIMM down more than 18% in after-hours trading.

Rumors suggest that the Blackberry Playbook may soon be going the HP Touchpad way. Blackberry is banking on its new OS 7 devices to boost sales in the next quarter, but that seems to be a remote possibility for now. It seems that RIM’s future depends on the success of the QNX platform that it plans to launch in 2012.

You can download the earnings release for Q2 FY12 here – Research In Motion Reports Second Quarter Fiscal 2012 Results

BlackBerry Playbook Gets A Software Update; Adds Some Nifty Features!

RIM (Research In Motion) has started rolling out a new software update for its first ever tablet the Playbook. The new software update brings some performance enhancements and stability improvements.

The update also includes an updated Facebook book application, optimized for the Playbook. With this update, Playbook users can also charge the tablet whilst it’s fully powered off. The tablet will also display an error if an incompatible charger is used to charge it.


RIM has also added a small but handy power menu, when a user taps on the battery icon. The power menu provides users with options to shut down, restart or put the Playbook on Standby mode, along with a brightness slider.

The update also brings in-app payments support to all Playbook compatible apps. RIM has also updated the developer tools with support for in-app payments.

Aside from the changes stated above, the video call quality has also been tweaked, with support for TURN (Traversal Using Relay NAT).   Some additional language support for the tablet has also been included.

Sadly, this update does bring the much awaited Mail app to the Playbook. Until the next update arrives, Playbook users still need to use their BlackBerry handset to sync mails between these RIM devices.

Blackberry Playbook Now Available for $499

The Blackberry Playbook, which was announced months ago, is finally available for purchase. The Playbook has been priced at $499 for the 16 GB version, $599 for the 32 GB version and $699 for the 64 GB version, just like the iPad 2.

The Blackberry Playbook was made available to many reviewers a week back, and most of them didn’t like it very much. Though it is a very good attempt, it just can’t beat the iPad 2 yet. The iPad 2 is not only bigger, but also offers about 65,000 apps, while the Playbook offers almost none.

Blackberry Playbook

Without a native calendar, email client or the promised Android app support, currently, it’s not a very good option. However, with some updates and more apps, it should offer a good alternative to the iPad 2.

The user interface is very good and fluid, and it excels at multi-tasking. Here’s a hands-on video of the Blackberry Playbook at CTIA 2011.

The Blackberry Playbook come with a 7 inch capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. It has a 1 GHz dual core processor and 1 GB RAM, and comes with a 5 MP primary camera which can record 1080p video and a 3 MP front-facing camera for video calls. It offers Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS support as well. Now only if it had a lot of great apps, it would be worth the price.

Apple to Dominate the Tablet Market for Years to Come

A recent research report by Gartner pointed out that Android was likely to be the most dominant mobile operating system in the next 2-3 years, and would command almost 50% of the market worldwide by 2012.

Today, Gartner released another report which says that it won’t be that dominant in the tablet space. Apple’s iOS platform (which runs on the iPad and iPad 2) will be the dominant tablet OS for years to come. The iPad and the iPad 2 are the most popular tablets yet, and despite several attempts, Android tablets haven’t been able to make much of a dent in its sales.

Even with the launch of Android Honeycomb, the prospects of Android don’t seem to be very bright. The iPad currently commands an 84% market share worldwide. By the end of 2015, its market share is expected to drop to 47% with Android grabbing most of its share.

Android currently has a 14% share which is expected to grow to almost 37%. By 2015, webOS is expected to have about 3% and QNX is expected to have almost 10% of the market.

Compared to smartphone penetration, Google is expected to grow slower in the tablet space, mainly because Google will be trying to maintain greater control on Honeycomb to offer an optimal, uniform experience across all devices.

Check out the worldwide tablet research report by Gartner.

RIM PlayBook Will Run Android Apps; But You Should Not Get Excited About It

RIM announced its tablet, the PlayBook, back in September last year. The PlayBook is based on QNX Neutrino microkernel architecture and is powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor.

Late last month, rumors popped up on the Internet that the PlayBook will be capable of running Android applications along with apps made for it.  Today, RIM has confirmed that the PlayBook is capable of running Android apps as well as BlackBerry Java apps.


The company will launch two optional app-playerswhich will provide run-time environment for BlackBerry Java apps and Android v2.3 apps. The company will also release the tablet’s native SDK so as to allow developers to start making apps for the tablet OS.

Now, this piece of news may have got a lot of future PlayBook customers pretty excited. However, there is a very big problem here. The PlayBook will provide a run-time environment for Android apps made for the mobile version of the OS (Gingerbread/FroYo), and NOT the tablet version of the OS (Honeycomb).

This means that the Android apps may not run properly, may appear stretched out and pixelated and will not be able to make use of the extra real-screen estate offered by a tablet. Until and unless, an Android app has been made keeping in mind both the tablet and the mobile version of the OS, users will face the above said issues.

Ultimately, users who will be using Android apps on a regular basis should buy an Android Honeycomb based tablet, and NOT the PlayBook.