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Old 12-08-2010, 09:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default RIM's BlackBerry hits a technical crossroad

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From CNN and other sources:

San Francisco (CNN) -- Three things became clear by the end of Research in Motion President Mike Lazaridis' time in the spotlight at a mobile tech conference.

For one, he's quite fond of Canada.

No surprises there; his Waterloo, Ontario, company has made a number of key acquisitions in its homeland. Lazaridis also declared RIM "the largest technology company in Canada" three separate times in a speech Tuesday at the D: Dive into Mobile conference in San Francisco.

Two, the BlackBerry maker is focused on the corporate and worldwide markets. "We didn't go out and try to make BlackBerry a consumer device," he said. "It crossed over on its own." Yet for some reason RIM keeps running ads about surfer dudes and cool young people using its phones.

And three, RIM's fixation on a certain type of computer-processing technology may be the reason its smartphone innovations have slowed to a turtle's pace.

RIM has placed a great deal of focus on something called multicore processing, Lazaridis said during the closing event at the mobile conference. That refers to the idea of having separate chips work together on number crunching -- and it's a driving force for the Intel processors in many laptops.

Sharing the load between multiple cores, as it's known, is a smart way to curb battery drain. But this method isn't common yet in smartphones because the technology hasn't quite caught up to the tiny gizmos.

The PlayBook, a 7-inch touch-screen tablet RIM will release in the next few months, relies on this multicore concept. It helps the software achieve, as Lazaridis pointed out, snappy responses and optimized battery life.

Lazaridis demonstrated the gadget on stage and for a smaller crowd afterward, swiping through applications and launching ones such as Facebook. He still didn't have an answer for questions about pricing, battery life or launch dates.

RIM acquired a Canadian company, called QNX in April, which makes a multicore-compatible operating system. That QNX software powers the PlayBook and will drive future multicore smartphones from RIM, Lazaridis said.

Whether such a smartphones will be called BlackBerry is unknown. Lazaridis identified what he sees as three distinct product categories: communications devices like the BlackBerry, mobile computing platforms like the PlayBook and smartphones.

It's a bit surprising that RIM's co-CEO doesn't consider the BlackBerry in this instance to be a smartphone. (Earlier in the fireside chat, he said: "We invented the smartphone.")

How could that be? Well, the BlackBerry has lost its edge in that realm of fast-improving phones, including Android, iPhone and now Windows Phone 7.

But it's still great for tapping out long e-mails, and the batteries last a long time. Despite attempts at touch-screen, multimedia-centric phones with the BlackBerry Storm and Torch, RIM has been lambasted by critics for making slow and clunky products.

Meanwhile, better-reviewed smartphones rely on other types of technology. Apple developed a 1-gigahertz processor called the A4 that powers the iPhone 4 and iPad. The Nexus S from Google and Samsung Electronics uses a snappy, 1-gigahertz chip called Hummingbird. The BlackBerry Torch has a sluggish 624 megahertz at its heart.

"We chose to bypass the megahertz arms race," Lazaridis said. "What we decided was we needed to get to multicore processing because what we realized was these devices are using a lot of power."

So the plan is eventually to tailor a version of the tablet system for a smartphone that can meet RIM's rigid technical standards. That's the opposite of what Apple did and what Google is doing.

"Our competitors have taken a smartphone operating system, and they're trying to upgrade it into a tablet operating system," Lazaridis said.

While RIM will be relatively early and seemingly competitive in the tablet space next year, the company still has a long way to go before catching up with smartphones.
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: RIM's BlackBerry hits a technical crossroad

I've always had the sense that RIM has its idea of the smart things to do and will do it, and the question of what sells is sometimes secondary. I think I was getting that understanding when reading about what was then the new blackberry maps and RIM's concern about bandwidth shortage one day, and hence their focus on data efficiency. This about RIM going a different road wrt dual core and so on adds to that sense I have.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: RIM's BlackBerry hits a technical crossroad

Quote:
RIM acquired a Canadian company, called QNX in April, which makes a multicore-compatible operating system. That QNX software powers the PlayBook and will drive future multicore smartphones from RIM, Lazaridis said.
....

Quote:
Meanwhile, better-reviewed smartphones rely on other types of technology. Apple developed a 1-gigahertz processor called the A4 that powers the iPhone 4 and iPad. The Nexus S from Google and Samsung Electronics uses a snappy, 1-gigahertz chip called Hummingbird. The BlackBerry Torch has a sluggish 624 megahertz at its heart.
First off Apple did NOT develop a Ghz cpu called A4 ... Apple purchased a company called Intrinsity whom co-developed this with Samsung [the latter using the product, all licensing went to intrinsity]. Apple simply gave it a marketing NAME ... just like they did with the PowerPC "consumer" cpu from the Motorola-Apple-IBM collaboration; G2/G3/G4/G5. You all remember those RISC cpu's that where very efficient with code for years until Intel and AMD caught up with lower cycles per thread processed for more power/efficiency? Odd how are mobile cpu's for smartphones and tablets run in RISC based cpu's and not the CISC based like our desktops/laptops/servers do today.

So when other company's from those widely hated in the press use a cpu that is powerful its either "developed" or "uses" - even if they purchased the technology by buying a company that developed it, just the same as the hated company "RIM". I guess its just too much that a Canadian company has something better in the next revolution of mobile computing than the current ooh's and aaah's in the smartphone realm.

To be honest I really think either Dan Dodge or that guy that showed off the PlayBook to boygenius should've been interviewed to highlight the PlayBook at AllThingsD - DipDive.

I'm actually hoping that an eloquent seriously powerful, robust in build quality, and very slim, along with the BEST power efficiency in battery life USING that power comes from RIM using QNX/Flash/C++/Java/etc and blows the competition away next Summer 2011.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: RIM's BlackBerry hits a technical crossroad

Thanks, I didn't know the history of those features.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: RIM's BlackBerry hits a technical crossroad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jagga View Post
....

I'm actually hoping that an eloquent seriously powerful, robust in build quality, and very slim, along with the BEST power efficiency in battery life USING that power comes from RIM using QNX/Flash/C++/Java/etc and blows the competition away next Summer 2011.
Keep hoping. I don't think RIM is going to pull it off. Laztarded seems a bit out of his league in this new feature rich smart phone market.
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:34 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: RIM's BlackBerry hits a technical crossroad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jagga View Post
....



First off Apple did NOT develop a Ghz cpu called A4 ... Apple purchased a company called Intrinsity whom co-developed this with Samsung [the latter using the product, all licensing went to intrinsity]. Apple simply gave it a marketing NAME ... just like they did with the PowerPC "consumer" cpu from the Motorola-Apple-IBM collaboration; G2/G3/G4/G5. You all remember those RISC cpu's that where very efficient with code for years until Intel and AMD caught up with lower cycles per thread processed for more power/efficiency? Odd how are mobile cpu's for smartphones and tablets run in RISC based cpu's and not the CISC based like our desktops/laptops/servers do today.

So when other company's from those widely hated in the press use a cpu that is powerful its either "developed" or "uses" - even if they purchased the technology by buying a company that developed it, just the same as the hated company "RIM". I guess its just too much that a Canadian company has something better in the next revolution of mobile computing than the current ooh's and aaah's in the smartphone realm.

To be honest I really think either Dan Dodge or that guy that showed off the PlayBook to boygenius should've been interviewed to highlight the PlayBook at AllThingsD - DipDive.

I'm actually hoping that an eloquent seriously powerful, robust in build quality, and very slim, along with the BEST power efficiency in battery life USING that power comes from RIM using QNX/Flash/C++/Java/etc and blows the competition away next Summer 2011.
Very interesting article, very informative. Thanks
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Old 12-28-2010, 10:59 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: RIM's BlackBerry hits a technical crossroad

I hope RIM stays competitive. The Android and iPhone are definitely giving them a run for the money. I guess the biggest draw for those two are all the apps and the coolness factor, which Blackberry had a few years back. I know that at the place I work, the best bet for RIM would to be a rugged business phone, without the high price. Maybe even a rugged tablet, because it is hard for the tech guys to use the keyboard sometimes. Anyway, without the competition, I would think that the smart phone market would stagnate, like the PC market.
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:06 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: RIM's BlackBerry hits a technical crossroad

It's funny cause now they're saying it has trouble with battery life, so the whole multi-core didn't work out in that respect. heh



BlackBerry PlayBook said facing battery life problems

The BlackBerry PlayBook might be facing significant battery problems that has led to a slight delay, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu heard from sources. The tablet in its current state allegedly has battery life of just "a few hours" where the Galaxy Tab often gets six and the iPad 10. It may need re-engineering and could even demand a heavier battery, negating much of the weight advantage of a seven-inch tablet.

"[This is] likely why [RIM] pushed out its launch to the May 2011 quarter," Wu said, referring to the March to May timeframe. "Keep in mind that QNX wasn't originally designed for mobile environments but rather for devices like network equipment and automobiles where battery life isn't as much [of] a constraint."

RIM is making "good progress" on the tablet, but developers are still uncertain both because of the split between BlackBerry 6 and QNX (BlackBerry Tablet OS) and because of the poor state of BlackBerry App World. There are "simply not enough apps and users" to help generate money, the analyst said, and it wasn't certain the tablet would fix the problem.

Wu maintained a pessimistic view of RIM's initial sales for the PlayBook and that it might move just 700,000 of the devices in all of 2011, well below the one to eight million others are estimating. A lack of content beyond the Amazon MP3 and Kobo deals, such as apps and videos, may hold it back where Apple's iPad thrives on the elements the PlayBook currently lacks.

RIM hasn't had an opportunity to comment on the alleged problem. It has already said that it would start shipping the PlayBook at the end of its current quarter, which ends in February, but that revenues from sales wouldn't come in until the quarter starting in March. Regardless of timing, a reduced lifespan if real could significantly hurt the PlayBook's chances at success. Battery life has been a cornerstone of the iPad and has been considered an important aspect of any tablet, since the device can always be on-hand where a netbook or notebook usually needs to be plugged in.
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Old 12-29-2010, 05:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: RIM's BlackBerry hits a technical crossroad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooper View Post
It's funny cause now they're saying it has trouble with battery life, so the whole multi-core didn't work out in that respect. heh



BlackBerry PlayBook said facing battery life problems

The BlackBerry PlayBook might be facing significant battery problems that has led to a slight delay, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu heard from sources. The tablet in its current state allegedly has battery life of just "a few hours" where the Galaxy Tab often gets six and the iPad 10. It may need re-engineering and could even demand a heavier battery, negating much of the weight advantage of a seven-inch tablet.

"[This is] likely why [RIM] pushed out its launch to the May 2011 quarter," Wu said, referring to the March to May timeframe. "Keep in mind that QNX wasn't originally designed for mobile environments but rather for devices like network equipment and automobiles where battery life isn't as much [of] a constraint."

RIM is making "good progress" on the tablet, but developers are still uncertain both because of the split between BlackBerry 6 and QNX (BlackBerry Tablet OS) and because of the poor state of BlackBerry App World. There are "simply not enough apps and users" to help generate money, the analyst said, and it wasn't certain the tablet would fix the problem.

Wu maintained a pessimistic view of RIM's initial sales for the PlayBook and that it might move just 700,000 of the devices in all of 2011, well below the one to eight million others are estimating. A lack of content beyond the Amazon MP3 and Kobo deals, such as apps and videos, may hold it back where Apple's iPad thrives on the elements the PlayBook currently lacks.

RIM hasn't had an opportunity to comment on the alleged problem. It has already said that it would start shipping the PlayBook at the end of its current quarter, which ends in February, but that revenues from sales wouldn't come in until the quarter starting in March. Regardless of timing, a reduced lifespan if real could significantly hurt the PlayBook's chances at success. Battery life has been a cornerstone of the iPad and has been considered an important aspect of any tablet, since the device can always be on-hand where a netbook or notebook usually needs to be plugged in.
Don't assume too much.

They = some industry publication referring to statements by an analyst. Even the publication uses the word "might". And RIM hasn't commented...or if they have by now, I haven't seen it.
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: RIM's BlackBerry hits a technical crossroad

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Originally Posted by aiharkness View Post
Don't assume too much.

They = some industry publication referring to statements by an analyst. Even the publication uses the word "might". And RIM hasn't commented...or if they have by now, I haven't seen it.
Yeah put people listen to 'them' which means anything 'they' say changes the minds of the general people.

I know for a fact that battery life is something that is worked on but never finalized until near the end of the device rollout.

The issue for RIM is they're more like a sleeping bear. Everyone talks down about losing market share, having underpowered hardware and not showing competitiveness.

Mix that with Lazaridis and Balsillie and their track record of providing useful commentary or interviews, and you've got tons of people who see the fate of RIM equal to what happened to Nortel.

The aim for battery life is a typical 8-10 hour day. If they dont follow through on the full day battery and around $500 starting price, then it will be another "RIM fails to impress again" story.

Wait and see. RIM isn't saying anything, and it's really all just speculation.

In short, yes I agree with you
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:16 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooper View Post
Yeah put people listen to 'them' which means anything 'they' say changes the minds of the general people.

I know for a fact that battery life is something that is worked on but never finalized until near the end of the device rollout.

The issue for RIM is they're more like a sleeping bear. Everyone talks down about losing market share, having underpowered hardware and not showing competitiveness.

Mix that with Lazaridis and Balsillie and their track record of providing useful commentary or interviews, and you've got tons of people who see the fate of RIM equal to what happened to Nortel.

The aim for battery life is a typical 8-10 hour day. If they dont follow through on the full day battery and around $500 starting price, then it will be another "RIM fails to impress again" story.

Wait and see. RIM isn't saying anything, and it's really all just speculation.

In short, yes I agree with you
RIM did respond and it's in the news today. Search of course and you'll find, but long story short is RIM says reports are based on pre-beta models with no power management, and units will ship on time.
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:57 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: RIM's BlackBerry hits a technical crossroad

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RIM did respond and it's in the news today. Search of course and you'll find, but long story short is RIM says reports are based on pre-beta models with no power management, and units will ship on time.
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Saw that just now. I love it!


"Any testing or observation of battery life to date by anyone outside of RIM would have been performed using pre-beta units that were built without power management implemented. RIM is on track with its schedule to optimize the BlackBerry PlayBook's battery life and looks forward to providing customers with a professional grade tablet that offers superior performance with comparable battery life."
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Old 01-02-2011, 06:01 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: RIM's BlackBerry hits a technical crossroad

I've seen this posted in the Toronto Star. The BB, for a period of time, became much more than a phone. It became a damn fashion accessory, it was "So cool" to have a BB. - I always found this stupid and I still find it absolutely mind numbing to see young teenage kids with BB's. Yes, I get the argument (but it's got a keyboard)...but wow, when I was growing up, a cell phone was already showing off, but no, everyone's got to have a BB.

I, for one, don't mind RIM hitting this solid wall. Fashion geeks are all after the iPhone, leaving BB customers are people who use a smartphone for just that - work. If you're an investor, I can see why this might be bad news....but for me, it's about time...
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Old 01-04-2011, 09:44 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: RIM's BlackBerry hits a technical crossroad

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I've seen this posted in the Toronto Star. The BB, for a period of time, became much more than a phone. It became a damn fashion accessory, it was "So cool" to have a BB. - I always found this stupid and I still find it absolutely mind numbing to see young teenage kids with BB's. Yes, I get the argument (but it's got a keyboard)...but wow, when I was growing up, a cell phone was already showing off, but no, everyone's got to have a BB.

I, for one, don't mind RIM hitting this solid wall. Fashion geeks are all after the iPhone, leaving BB customers are people who use a smartphone for just that - work. If you're an investor, I can see why this might be bad news....but for me, it's about time...
Having a blackberry was 'cool' because you could e-mail on it and it had a full keyboard.

They were not that stylish.

iPhone and BB are for different users, just like iPad and PlayBook will be.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:26 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: RIM's BlackBerry hits a technical crossroad

Quote:
Originally Posted by vliou View Post
....The BB, for a period of time, became much more than a phone. It became a damn fashion accessory, it was "So cool" to have a BB. - I always found this stupid and I still find it absolutely mind numbing to see young teenage kids with BB's....
Does it being a fashion accessory some how preclude your reasons for using it? Do the teenagers that use it some how effect your ability to use a BlackBerry for your purpose?

Not sure why the social status of other users, or thier reasons for using the phone would ever effect you.
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