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Old 02-27-2006, 01:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default [2006-02-27] BlackBerry, Facing Closure, May Add Camera, Music to Fight Palm

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BlackBerry, Facing Closure, May Add Camera, Music to Fight Palm

Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- BlackBerry founder Mike Lazaridis is preparing to add cameras and music players to the most-popular handheld computer to match Palm Inc.'s Treo and Motorola Inc.'s Q phone.

While Research In Motion Ltd., the maker of the Blackberry, is negotiating to settle a five-year patent battle that may shut the service, a bigger threat may be competition.

"There's a lot of room for new stuff'' in the BlackBerry, Lazaridis said in an interview at his headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario. "Adding multimedia technology is inevitable.''

Research In Motion said last week it's in talks to end a patent dispute with NTP Inc., a sign a resolution may be reached before a court rules on halting service in the U.S. Consumer surveys show BlackBerrys, whose features are limited to e-mail, mobile-phone and day-planning features, are losing cachet.

More than 602,000 Treos were sold last quarter compared with 645,000 BlackBerrys, narrowing a gap that stood at 150,000 in the previous quarter. Competition may erode BlackBerry's market share to 50 percent in 2010, from 71 percent now, FTN Midwest Research analyst Ben Bollin said. A report last week by consumer researcher Brandimensions showed BlackBerrys had lower "buzz'' rating among consumers than Treos.

"They are putting themselves smack into competition, doing the stuff Nokia and Motorola like to do,'' said Deutsche Bank's Brian Modoff in San Francisco, who rates the shares "sell'' and said he doesn't own them.

Shares Gain

Shares of Research In Motion gained 6.5 percent on Feb. 24, rising $4.52 to $74.05 in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading, after U.S. District Judge James Spencer in Richmond, Virginia, didn't immediately decide to end the service. While NTP denied that settlement talks have begun, the share gain signals investors are optimistic the dispute will be resolved before Spencer issues and injunction on BlackBerry service.

The stock has gained 12 percent this year as shareholders bet the case will be resolved without any shutdown.

Research In Motion said it has technology to keep the service running should the court order BlackBerry to cease U.S. service until the patent dispute is resolved. The technology though would take about 2 million man-hours to implement on each device, Research In Motion lawyers said.

New Features

Lazaridis, 44, is personally leading a team of more than 1,000 engineers to develop new features and simplify the devices to woo small businesses and consumers.

A theoretical physics enthusiast who tests BlackBerrys himself, Lazaridis keeps his office in a different building to finance-focused co-CEO James Balsillie.

Lazaridis tapped Gareth Hughes, a former Motorola engineer from Scotland, to run the plant, which has enough space to churn out as many as 5 million Blackberrys a year.

One device takes an hour to go from a bare circuit board to a finished BlackBerry. A tester presses each button of every BlackBerry to ensure consistency at the end of the production.

Lazaridis has his team tucked in one corner of the factory, in a hidden production line where engineers test new products and features. Visitors are forbidden.

"The manufacturing plant is really a research plant, because engineers can walk over there at any time,'' he said. "I want engineers working on new products, not flying across the globe figuring out why one plant is having a problem.''

Small Businesses

The small-business market is outpacing the growth among the government and large corporate customers that spurred Research In Motion to 4.3 million users as of November, Balsillie said. That market also may present a bigger challenge.

"It's the fastest growing part of the company,'' Balsillie said. "The tricky part is that transactions are in tens of thousands of retail outlets, so it's a highly diffused retail market that needs heavy support.''

Balsillie, 45, a triathlete, is in for the long haul. He sent staff to train workers at retailers and mobile-phone companies' stores to sell to small businesses.

Another line of attack is to make the "CrackBerry'' habit harder to break. Jeff McDowell, director of BlackBerry alliances, helps software developers build applications to carry out more tasks on the devices.

"The more things people use their BlackBerry for, the less likely they are to turn it off,'' McDowell said. "We knew there was a finite market for e-mail, and to expand that, we needed to add different applications.''

Financial Services

Those new applications started with the financial services industry and prompted a drive into related markets such as the legal profession.

The company helped Santa Cruz, California-based Onset Technology Inc. develop a program that lets lawyers bill clients through their BlackBerry. The device knows which customer rings an attorney and automatically logs the time of the call.

BlackBerrys also are being sold to construction workers after Redwood City, California-based Corrigo Inc. developed software to help engineers manage building sites.

"E-mail was the first frontier and now they are asking what's next,'' Modoff said. "Application support is definitely right, but it's also a strategy their competitors will employ.''

Schaumburg, Illinois-based Motorola, whose Q mobile-phone goes on sale this quarter, is courting the same clients and even has the same buzzword for them: prosumers. These consumers want professional functions such as e-mail and Web access.

The Q will offer music and camera capability as well as e- mail and Web access. Nokia Oyj also plans to release a device this year that will compete head to head with BlackBerry.

Balsillie downplayed concerns about loss of market share.

"All you can do is service the heck out of the community and innovate the heck out of your products, and at the end of the day, it will be what it will be,'' he said.
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Old 02-27-2006, 02:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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why do all of these articles make it out to sound like RIM is done? They are closing their doors if they do x or y or not do n. Its really aggravating to have users come in and say "oh did you hear? We are not going to be able to use our blackberries!" etc.
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Old 02-27-2006, 06:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murpheous
why do all of these articles make it out to sound like RIM is done?
That's because "controversy" makes good copy & sells. Every news agency wants to 'scoop' all the others-- even if it is using false information. They roll the dice and make the story sound exciting, even if slightly false. Then if it DOES end up that their little white lie comes true and our BBs go dead, they can say, "You heard it HERE first!" and use it to bolster their credibility. Of course, if it turns out to be false, all they have to say is, "Well, that's what our super-secret-insider told us." Most people won't remember the lies and won't hold them accountable for a false story unless it is heinous.
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Old 02-28-2006, 07:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Talking good news

I think its great RIM is starting to think outside the box. Palm quality is garbage but they do have some great concepts. Among those concepts is a touchscreen and decent (concept wise) software. Now comes Microsoft and Motorola, both of whom are catergory killers. They are getting together and the outcome is certain. RIM must outdo them. Best way may be to embrace the Microsoft software and oneup Motorola in terms of functionality.
Rim will survive the patent fight one way or another. The real threat is the challenge from Moto, Nokia and whomever else shows up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jibi
BlackBerry, Facing Closure, May Add Camera, Music to Fight Palm

Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- BlackBerry founder Mike Lazaridis is preparing to add cameras and music players to the most-popular handheld computer to match Palm Inc.'s Treo and Motorola Inc.'s Q phone.

While Research In Motion Ltd., the maker of the Blackberry, is negotiating to settle a five-year patent battle that may shut the service, a bigger threat may be competition.

"There's a lot of room for new stuff'' in the BlackBerry, Lazaridis said in an interview at his headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario. "Adding multimedia technology is inevitable.''

Research In Motion said last week it's in talks to end a patent dispute with NTP Inc., a sign a resolution may be reached before a court rules on halting service in the U.S. Consumer surveys show BlackBerrys, whose features are limited to e-mail, mobile-phone and day-planning features, are losing cachet.

More than 602,000 Treos were sold last quarter compared with 645,000 BlackBerrys, narrowing a gap that stood at 150,000 in the previous quarter. Competition may erode BlackBerry's market share to 50 percent in 2010, from 71 percent now, FTN Midwest Research analyst Ben Bollin said. A report last week by consumer researcher Brandimensions showed BlackBerrys had lower "buzz'' rating among consumers than Treos.

"They are putting themselves smack into competition, doing the stuff Nokia and Motorola like to do,'' said Deutsche Bank's Brian Modoff in San Francisco, who rates the shares "sell'' and said he doesn't own them.

Shares Gain

Shares of Research In Motion gained 6.5 percent on Feb. 24, rising $4.52 to $74.05 in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading, after U.S. District Judge James Spencer in Richmond, Virginia, didn't immediately decide to end the service. While NTP denied that settlement talks have begun, the share gain signals investors are optimistic the dispute will be resolved before Spencer issues and injunction on BlackBerry service.

The stock has gained 12 percent this year as shareholders bet the case will be resolved without any shutdown.

Research In Motion said it has technology to keep the service running should the court order BlackBerry to cease U.S. service until the patent dispute is resolved. The technology though would take about 2 million man-hours to implement on each device, Research In Motion lawyers said.

New Features

Lazaridis, 44, is personally leading a team of more than 1,000 engineers to develop new features and simplify the devices to woo small businesses and consumers.

A theoretical physics enthusiast who tests BlackBerrys himself, Lazaridis keeps his office in a different building to finance-focused co-CEO James Balsillie.

Lazaridis tapped Gareth Hughes, a former Motorola engineer from Scotland, to run the plant, which has enough space to churn out as many as 5 million Blackberrys a year.

One device takes an hour to go from a bare circuit board to a finished BlackBerry. A tester presses each button of every BlackBerry to ensure consistency at the end of the production.

Lazaridis has his team tucked in one corner of the factory, in a hidden production line where engineers test new products and features. Visitors are forbidden.

"The manufacturing plant is really a research plant, because engineers can walk over there at any time,'' he said. "I want engineers working on new products, not flying across the globe figuring out why one plant is having a problem.''

Small Businesses

The small-business market is outpacing the growth among the government and large corporate customers that spurred Research In Motion to 4.3 million users as of November, Balsillie said. That market also may present a bigger challenge.

"It's the fastest growing part of the company,'' Balsillie said. "The tricky part is that transactions are in tens of thousands of retail outlets, so it's a highly diffused retail market that needs heavy support.''

Balsillie, 45, a triathlete, is in for the long haul. He sent staff to train workers at retailers and mobile-phone companies' stores to sell to small businesses.

Another line of attack is to make the "CrackBerry'' habit harder to break. Jeff McDowell, director of BlackBerry alliances, helps software developers build applications to carry out more tasks on the devices.

"The more things people use their BlackBerry for, the less likely they are to turn it off,'' McDowell said. "We knew there was a finite market for e-mail, and to expand that, we needed to add different applications.''

Financial Services

Those new applications started with the financial services industry and prompted a drive into related markets such as the legal profession.

The company helped Santa Cruz, California-based Onset Technology Inc. develop a program that lets lawyers bill clients through their BlackBerry. The device knows which customer rings an attorney and automatically logs the time of the call.

BlackBerrys also are being sold to construction workers after Redwood City, California-based Corrigo Inc. developed software to help engineers manage building sites.

"E-mail was the first frontier and now they are asking what's next,'' Modoff said. "Application support is definitely right, but it's also a strategy their competitors will employ.''

Schaumburg, Illinois-based Motorola, whose Q mobile-phone goes on sale this quarter, is courting the same clients and even has the same buzzword for them: prosumers. These consumers want professional functions such as e-mail and Web access.

The Q will offer music and camera capability as well as e- mail and Web access. Nokia Oyj also plans to release a device this year that will compete head to head with BlackBerry.

Balsillie downplayed concerns about loss of market share.

"All you can do is service the heck out of the community and innovate the heck out of your products, and at the end of the day, it will be what it will be,'' he said.
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Old 02-28-2006, 08:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I proclaim here and now, NEVER to use a BB with a touch screen or stylus. That was a HUGE factor for me switching. RIM outside the box thinking was bound to happen, how I feel about it doen't amount to a hill of bean...But I wish they would focus on what sets tham apart, ease of use and a professional appearence. I have no opinion of Palm, well no opinion worth saying.
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Old 02-28-2006, 12:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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...and NO CAMERAS, please, for us Gubment users... they are totally prohibited in many areas.
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Old 02-28-2006, 12:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I am sure they will offer the newer models with a choice. With or without the camera
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Old 03-01-2006, 07:00 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Not digging this whole BB camera idea - no good for security, but just look at BlackBerry.com as they seem to have focused their site on a split between consumer and business, and we all know what consumers want. Corporates don't care about cameras - it makes the kit more expensive and it's a security risk. And before you say it, nobody go on about estate agents needing cameras. I spoke to an estate agent this week who said no way would he photograph a £4 million property with some crappy 2 megapixel camera phone.

Despite all this, RIM's focus to grab a piece of the consumr market may show a shift in trends to what will be available on device features. We could even see BlackBerry consumer devices, and BlackBerry corporate devices. Time will tell!!!
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Old 03-02-2006, 09:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBAdmin
I spoke to an estate agent this week who said no way would he photograph a £4 million property with some crappy 2 megapixel camera phone.
Cough cough.....then dont buy the one with a camera.....pretty simple.

That real estate person WOULD take a pic of that million dollar home with a phone camera to point out a flaw in the home or a gutter hangin down or the like. I would use hte camera LOTS. Im a tile and granite contractor and I need a camera quite a bit but dont always have my 3.2 mpxl 10x optical zoom camera with me.
some would have a need for a camera and for security reason obviously some wouldnt and rightfully so.
Lets not get hasty in trying to stay in the box, granted Im a firm believer in "if it aint broke dont fix it" but sometimes we need to get out of that box and do something different.......FLIP PHONES------NO WAY!!!!
Same goes for the stylus. but i do like the MS software of the palm much better than the lame apps bb has. I have often said throughout these forums that if BB had Palm apps and memory etc with the DC of Nextel I would have no reason to use anything else EVER. When compairing the two I am seriously weighing buying a Treo. If treo hooks up with Nextel before BB gets out of the dark ages then Im gone and so will MANY others so......... GET WITH IT BB!!!!!!
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Old 04-18-2006, 02:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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i don't know about palm having superior apps they have more, but thats nither her nor there. But i agree when you look at the specs the treo is a a nice phone. I love my 8700 however i have to carry another phone for mms and and other little things.
When i say that i don't mean it in a punitive manner, but i think with the intro of the 7100 it opened a young consumer market. I stated with a treo, switched to a 7100 and it opened my eyes to a new world when it came to email. but i would love to drop the extra phone and have the little pricks.
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Old 04-27-2006, 11:31 AM   #11 (permalink)
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a media player is here!
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Old 04-27-2006, 11:36 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ralphc
a media player is here!
Great! Where we can we get it?
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Old 06-04-2006, 01:08 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I definitely hope these are optional. I have another phone with a camera and hardly use it...
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Old 06-08-2006, 06:00 AM   #14 (permalink)
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i would just like some storage options. that is the holdout for my treo users. they want some storage media so they can carry around lots of documents and pictures. if they did that and someone would write an ePocrates for BB then i wouldn't have a treo user left. they are dying to jump ship, but there are apps and the storage issue that keep them with treo. i work for surgeons and their attitude is mostly "i don't care, i just want it to work". that makes BB an easy sale.
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Old 06-09-2006, 08:14 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I would love to watch videos on my BB!
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Old 06-18-2006, 05:30 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I am in the middle of a trial roll out of Blackberrys at work & the biggest request I have had is for a camera! I work for a Police Force- the officers have requested a integrated camera so they can take pictures of injuries and also so they can confirm the ID of people, etc.

We are only in the very early stages of a roll out, but have already seen the benifts of Blackberrys with numerous arrested being made with the use of them.

I can see a camera being a great advantage in the future, but also see where other people are coming from. I guess just so long as they don't make a camera standard on all future models, they will hopefully pease everyone.
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Old 06-29-2006, 09:31 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Coming by end of year...

According to an eWeek article published yesterday (June 28th), all this is coming in the future, some stuff by end of the year...

http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1983066,00.asp

NEW YORK—Research In Motion's co-CEO and Chairman James Balsillie says the company will release a version of its popular BlackBerry handheld device by the end of the year that includes both Wi-Fi and cellular technology.
.....
Balsillie also said that RIM would be introducing new features to BlackBerry devices, including MP3 players, video, memory expansion and image capture, very soon. In addition, he said that GPS would be included in virtually all BlackBerry devices, except for some that would work with a Bluetooth GPS receiver.
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Old 07-07-2006, 04:57 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noremac
...and NO CAMERAS, please, for us Gubment users... they are totally prohibited in many areas.

I don't think RIM will add a camera to all of their products, just few. I see BB as professionals tool rather than some rinky camera phone.
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Old 07-07-2006, 05:05 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Camera on BB is coming. Sooner than you may think.
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Old 08-12-2006, 01:44 PM   #20 (permalink)
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If that's true and they add cameras, I hope they offer same devices minus cameras.

NO CAMERAS in many court houses and other government buildings. This is a main reason why some govt users stick with BB and haven't moved to the other devices...
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