Research In Motion will be hosting their BlackBerry World conference next week. We expect RIM to launch their new Smartphone and also unveil new OS BlackBerry 6.1.
When RIM acquired QNX, we expected them to announce QNX based handsets by at least mid 2011. RIM has already released their QNX based tablet PlayBook. And despite the negative reviews that it gathered, RIM sold more than 100,000 PlayBooks in its initial week of availability, according to Wall Street Journal. RIM has indicated that Smartphones based on BlackBerry 6.1 will be made available only by end of this fiscal year and that it does not have QNX based Smartphones to showcase at the BlackBerry World Conference next week.
All we can gather from this is that BlackBerry 6.1 won’t be based on QNX RTOS, but will just be a major enhancement over BlackBerry 6.0. Apparently, we’ll get to see QNX based handsets only next year when BlackBerry announces BlackBerry 7 or 8 which kind of surprises us since BlackBerry eventually plans to move to QNX and yet continues to work on their previous OS.
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.
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 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.
When it comes to Blackberry leaks and news about Research in Motion, it’s normal that folks at Boy Genius Report (BGR) are behind it and today is no different. BGR has gotten a hands-on with the leaked Blackberry Bold Touch (Dakota) and posted up some device pictures for your viewing pleasure.
As you can see above, the Bold Touch sports a 2.8capacitive touch screen with a resolution of 640×480 pixels paired with an industry-standard QWERTY keyboard and optical trackpad. It has just under 7GB of internal storage backing a 5MP camera and NFC support. It’s rumored to be shipping with OS 6.1 and bringing a host of new features including mobile hotspotfunctionality, a new BlackBerry Messenger interface and polished development framework that brings supports for geo-location, augmented reality and access control.
As well as sporting a new thin design and an entire metal encased bezel, the Bold Touch is the slimmest Blackberry to date – measuring in at just 10.5mm. Rumored to be announced at Blackberry World, being held in Orlando Flora this coming May, the Bold Touch should be available for consumers by late July. From the pictures shown, the hardware has yet to be branded with the Boldmoniker and still looks a bit unpolished. The camera flash module is boxy and doesn’t seem to flow with the rounded design language of the rest of the device. Chances are this is the Blackberry that a lot of users have been pining for a portrait device that brings the features of a touch screen with the tactility of a physical keyboard.
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.
The Blackberry PlayBook; a 7 inch tablet from RIM will be out soon. The tablet was featured at the CTIA 2011 and I got a good chance to play around with the tablet.
I must say that I was pretty impressed with the tablet and definitely look forward to it’s release next week. The interface is fluid and smooth. I addition to that, the tablet is a multi-tasking powerhouse with live widgets that will continue to play in the back while you launch other applications.
For example, if you are playing a video and switch to another app, you can still view a live feed of it in the apps panel. The same goes for games, emails, and practically every app.
To know more about the feature take a look at the Blackberry PlayBook hands-on video I shot at CTIA 2011. Click here or here if you can’t watch the videos.
RIM rolled out its next generation mobile OS for some BlackBerry handsets the BlackBerry OS 6 – quite some time ago. However, many users who own a carrier branded BlackBerry handset have to wait impatiently, until their network operator releases the OS6 update.
Today, TELUS has started rolling out the BlackBerry OS6 for the TELUS branded Curve 9300 or the Bold 9700. Yes, nearly 6 months after it was officially released by RIM. The latest version of the BlackBerry OS will bring with a host of new features including a faster web browser.
The UI of the OS has also been spiced up, including a new revamped home screen, so as to make the OS look modern. The new OS now also features a universal search capability.
BlackBerry OS 6 also comes pre-installed with a YouTube client, new camera modes and a revamped music player for a better multimedia experience. The new OS is also much faster and stable compared to its predecessors.
BlackBerry Curve and Bold handset owners can find the steps to update their handset to OS 6 here.
The Android platform has been growing at an unprecedented pace and has already been the number one smartphone platform in the world since a few months. It had also overtaken iOS in the US and going by the latest data from January 2011, it has now edged out Blackberry to become the number one smartphone OS in the United States as well.
According to data from Comscore, Android now has a 31.2% share of the US smartphone market. RIM follows in the second place with 30.4% and Apple takes the third spot with 24.7% share. This data doesn’t cover the effects of the iPhone 4 now being available on Verizon, but I doubt that will change the overall picture much. Android is still growing at an insanely fast pace, and at the expense of Microsoft, Palm and Symbian. Despite the launch of Windows Phone 7, Microsoft has actually lost share.
Nielsen’s data shows a similar trend – Android has a 29% share which is way ahead of iOS and Blackberry both at 29%. With more impressive Android devices coming soon, Android will soon dominate the market by a huge margin. Even Apple’s marketshare has been cemented by its loyal fans. With the support from Nokia, Microsoft’s marketshare is expected to rise at least a bit in the coming year. The smartphone wars are going to be very interesting.
The Boy Genius Report is currently reporting that RIM is poised to port Blackberry Messenger over to iOS and Android devices. RIM has held Blackberry Messenger (BBM) in high regards as a tool to instantly and securely chat with friends and co-workers through Blackberry devices, exclusively. A huge push in marketing BBM to consumers went off in 2010 and it would seem RIM is now taking it to the next level. Many users love Blackberry Messenger due to the fact that it’s carrier-independent, has read/replied/delivered status and is completely free of charge once there is an internet connection, RIM is hoping to build out this BBM user-base by offering the service on Apple’s iOS devices as well as certain Android handsets.
Offering a minimally functioning client may persuade users to jump ship to Blackberry devices in order to get full featured capabilities. Users of third party devices would either be charged a one-time fee for the application or a re-occurring fee to use the service. This would seemingly allow RIM to dominate “mobile IM” market by allowing cross platform communications built atop their industry leading infrastructure. For this to be successful, RIM needs to bring the same experience that many Blackberry Messenger users rave about, but entice users to want more and to purchase a Blackberry device in order to really experience the capabilities of the service.
There is no word on when this will be available nor what terms it will be available with, as this is a rumor — but with the state that RIM is currently in, it’s very plausible.
The technology blog, BGR, reports that the first BlackBerry tablet is all set to be launched on April 10th 2011. The tablet, called BlackBerry PlayBook will be sold at retail locations for $499. Recent speculation about the features BlackBerry PlayBook will include, has increased its anticipation and the most recent announcement about it being able to run Android apps in addition to the BlackBerry apps has also surprised users.
However, a new war front started brewing today due to significant similarities between PlayBook’s OS and the WebOS that Palm introduced back in 2009. HP’s director of product marketing for their TouchBook commented that “there are some uncanny similarities” between the two OSs. Research In Motion, the makers of BlackBerry, have also issued a response to HP’s comment, explaining that “we set out from the ground up to define a user experience that we felt would delight our customers, and we landed in a place that may look like other competitive devices”.
RIM has recently been heavily criticized for not being innovative enough with its products and if the new PlayBook follows the same course, it may very well be the last nail in RIM’s coffin. The company, which at one time created world’s most popular smart phones, is struggling quite a bit to compete with iPhone and Android phones that give users more power and features. Moreover, with every technology company trying their hands on creating a tablet, the competition in this newly created niche is already fierce with no room for mistakes.
Canalys, an independent analytics firm, has disclosed that Android is now the highest selling mobile operating system in the world. According to its analysis, the total shipment of Android handsets jumped from 20.3 million units in Q3 to 32.9 million in Q4 2010. Contrary to what you might expect, Symbian, the previous leader in the smartphone segment, also saw an increase in the number of units shipped, and climbed from 29.9 million units to 31 million units. However, considering the rapid growth experienced by the entire smartphone industry, Nokia has little to brag about.
Besides Nokia, other players who have reason for disappointment are Research in Motion (RIM) and Microsoft. Windows Phone 7 arrived too late in the quarter to make its presence felt. On the other hand, RIM continued to struggle to compete against the accelerating onslaught of Android devices. Although mid-range devices like Curve helped RIM to overtake Nokia in Latin America, it ended up shipping less than 15 million handsets.
Apple ended up in the third spot with 16.2 million shipments, and posted healthy growth rates. The availability of iPhone on Verizon is expected to help Apple in closing the gap with Symbian. However, for the moment, Android simply looks insurmountable.