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CrackBerry at Mobile World Congress 2012!

Simon Sage in front of the Fira in Barcelona.
By Simon Sage on 25 Feb 2012 01:16 pm EST
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CrackBerry is alive and well in Barcelona! I'm here at Mobile World Congress 2012 to see what RIM is up to, particularly following up on the recent launch of BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0. Tomorrow will have a bunch of news (be sure to follow Android Central for the bulk of it), but we aren't expecting anything explosive from RIM; we already got our treat with the PlayBook update. 

Regardless, I'll be talking with a bunch of RIM folks at MWC, not only about the latest version of their operating system and its implications for BB10, but also RIM's progress in international markets, and what they're doing to win over the hearts of developers.  Have any thoughts for our glorious creators of BlackBerry? Leave a comment, and I'll pass on your questions, concerns, and praise! You can follow our coverage at this handy tag

Reader comments

CrackBerry at Mobile World Congress 2012!

33 Comments

Bienvenido a España Simón! ;-) Id like to know if there is any plan to sync Docs to Go with dropbox, box and google Docs? We could select which folders prefer to sync with the posibbility to update files on both places. Hope i made it a little clear. ;-)

Nice view from Arenas de Barcelona!

I'm from Barcelona, if you need anything just send me an inbox! ;-)

Hope you have fun here in Barcelona!!!

Hi, I have a question!
I'm personally a customer of RIM since 2008 (in Italy). Here Blackberry is strong, but keeps losing customers because of the lack of support, applications and competitiveness. I appreciated the initiative of RIM to give a playbook to each new developer, but let's be honest, a serious developer doesn't care too much about a tablet. I wished to see more google updates on BB7 (google maps was updated sooo many months ago) or a google docs application or, my dream, skype accessible to other providers than verizon.
Can please RIM work on this? Quality and useful applications.

Marco

Ps: I would as well appreciate an extension of the Blackberry Beta Programme to us Europeans :)

You'll need to contact google and skype to update their apps/break the exclusiveness from the two carriers. RIM doesn't release google products, or skype.

Really? And it's the customer or RIM that should guarantee quality and accessibility of applications? Why iOS gets regular updates and not BB?

the only think RIM can and should guarantee is a polished platform with minimal fragmentation, exposure and good developper tools + connectivity. BB7 and java inc is a complete failure at this, with fragmented phones, 95% of BB5-BB7 phones not even packing a OpenGL chip.

things are changing with QNX OS2, but slowly....

It would be interesting to know about what kind of partners RIM is thinking about right now. Like Marco said: maybe Skype? Google?

Hey Simon,
Didn't know your were with Crackberry. Last I checked, I thought you were with Intomobile. Did they get you on-loan, or have you switched over?

Hey Simon,

Here are two questions for the folks at RIM:

1. What's next for the PlayBook? OS 2.0 was a major update, but still lacks plenty of key features (a proper file manager, better PDF support, native maps (anything but Bing), cloud services (great contacts app, how do I use it WITHOUT Bridge.......), more native ports of apps (the Android runtime/player seriously sucks), bug fixes, maybe some implementations of the stuff TAT has been showing us for over a year now.... WHAT'S NEXT?

2. Is RIM planning on stepping up their marketing and PR management? There is so much misinformation out there about this great device. Maybe launch a Media site that contains full facts, specs, etc. Or distribute tablets to major media outlets? Stop throwing money at the Be Bold campaign, it's done. New AOR needed ASAP.

I'm sure you could clean those up so as not to upset anyone at RIM, but honestly, it's time to start asking them some serious questions here. Keeping quiet about things that will never happen in the hopes that some people will buy your products "thinking" it might happen is just wrong.

@Simon Sage, please pass this on to the RIM reps at MWC: Why has RIM been so slow to appreciate the company's urgent need for quality advertising that would "hit home" with the consumer market? The current crop of BlackBerry TV ads here in the U.S.A. leaves much to be desired, they completely miss the mark IMO, I couldn't care less about why some Joe Blow or Jane Doe "top chef" or "celebrity chick of the week" respectively carry a BlackBerry Bold, try appealing to the entire consumer market as is the case with Samsung's smartphone ads, that is what works. Thanks Simon.

BTW, if you have the time I'd highly recommend that you visit Madrid, I lived there for three years, it is the most beautiful large city on the planet, closely followed by Singapore, no North American large city can even come close to matching Madrid's beauty and cultural/historic venues, IMO.

Ask them when we'll be able to sync our phone contacts to the native contacts app on the playbook.

Do they plan on maintaining control of the updates with BB10 phones the way they do with the Playbook? Being able to control the customer experience has been a major advantage for Apple and leaving it up to carriers when they will support the latest OS has hurt RIM.

Updates to the playbook were supposed to be more modular, it just hasn't really worked out that way with the various delays, but in the future you would expect that they will be able to do most of their updates independently of the carriers with just the actual radio code needing to get approved each time.

Hi
Q1: I really need to know if the long awaited LTE chip that delayed BB10 devices is in trial WITHIN RIM. If so, is it meeting expectations?
Q2: With BB10 can RIM assure us they will not be releasing 2 Bolds, 2 Torches, a dozen Curves but one of each to keep the picture clear and orderly? (I know they will not be named as such but you get my drift)
Q3: Speaking of which, BB10? Really? Picture this BB10 1, BB10 2, BB10 3? Can you see why jumping to 10 on a new OS will cause problems within say a year? What about BlackBerry 1, how did that get overlooked? Even OS 8 though not so apt is still better than BB10.
These are actually minor details which for some reason have been overlooked by the great minds at RIM

I think we will see them reduce the amount of distinct models in the future, but how many phones they release will depend on how people try to characterise regional variants e.g. with a bb10 torch or bold you could have the following all being basically the same model, but countable as different if you were trying to claim they were releasing to many models:

VZW - CDMA/LTE
Sprint - CDMA/LTE
ATT - HSPA+/LTE
TMO-US and RoW - HSPA+
RoW - HSPA+/LTE

Some people might ask why they don't just release one model to cover all those options, but that ignores technical issues like making room for so many antennas or financial reasons like carriers having zero interest in subsidising the cost of radios that are of no use to them.

As far as Curve models, those new lower-end models will complete that range for a while, carriers will be able to mix and match their offerings from the three qwerty models and the touch-only one and there will be no new models launched globally until bb10 is ready to make an appearance at that level.

About the naming of BB10, why do you think that it won't go bb10, bb10.x, bb11 and so on?

I am not 'claiming' they are releasing too many models. They ARE releasing too many models. Of course the antenna plays a part but I'm yet to hear Apple run into problems on that front. How do you explain the 9930, 9900 and 9790? The 9790 is distinctly dumbed down. Why make it at all when a Bold is supposed to be top of the range? Have you any idea how confusing it is for an average smartphone user?
So the platform is BB and the iteration is 10? What happened to 1-9? Or 8 and 9? Of course they can call it BB10 but it is just illogical.

Apple haven't released an LTE model nor supported the UMTS frequency band used by T-Mobile so there is two areas where they have simplified their antenna situation compared with the situation for others and given the whole antennagate thing I doubt they are an ideal one to hold up as an example in any case. A far more sensible example to provide would be the likes of Samsung etc. that have released the the galaxy s2 on various networks with just a change of the radio and a slightly different suffix on the model name.

The 9930 and the 9900 are the same model, it is simply a case of RIM not being in the position where they can pass on the costs to gsm carriers of an additional cdma radio that would be entirely useless to all of them since gsm is already inherently a worldphone as standard without the need to add a rival technologies radio.

The 9790 is a different model, but was not a global release, it was predominantly aimed at countries where there was sufficient demand for a Bold range (plenty in europe were selling the 9000 alongside the 9700 or 9780 fpr example) or countries where they wanted the smaller design and while you think it was confusing, the reality is that it was about giving customers more options because RIM simply aren't in a strong position where they go, you should all use this one.

The platform is bb10, the next one will be bb11, just like now where people call it os7 or bb7, the gap is simply them trying to have a clearly defined gap between the old versions and the new qnx-based versions.

They should have called the OS QNX OS, or QNXp or m for phone or mobile.

BB10 tells eeryone one oh it's a new Blackberry, we don't like Blackberry mmove on. The need to Scream CHANGE as loud as they can and BB10 is a fail in that regard.

It may be hard for people on here to beleive but the vast majority of people will not know the new phones have a new OS if it's BB10.

This is a major error that RIM doesn't seem to want to fix. I think it's because they hope to keep selling BB7 phones to most of the world, but it's hanging on to the past that kills companies.

In this regard while I like TH, I do see the argument that they should have went outside the company. They need a "burning platform" type of letter.

If I were them I'd be working on a way to sell a very cheap QNX curve quickly rather than hoping to hang on to BB7 sales. And for God's sake banish all BB7 phones from retail outlets in the US once the BB10 phones come out.

I'd ask them this. Do they know and have plans to get the top 100 iPhone /Android Apps. This should be job 1 (maybe after making sure the UI of BB10 is totally solid, consistent and fluid throughout). I'm betting that if they got the top 100 apps all other developers would follow because it'll be a desirable phone.

Getting those 100 apps will do more than $50 million in advertising because they will get such good press when the phone comes out.

How many could they get for $50 million? 50? that might even be good enough.

That is something that I always wonder about, while 500k of apps sounds impressive, it is the top 50 or top 100 at the outside that really matters and even if it takes bribing those developers they should make it happen since it would have a huge influence on other developers if they saw the big apps showing up.

Please tell management the calendar should have the actual date on the ap icon, not "31"-- the actual date would render it more relevant. In fact, putting the date everywhere a clock is would be useful.

Love me some RIMM.

Actually... I do have one more question for RIM.

PlayBook, cool that the base price is 199 dollars... in US. What about Europe? Are we second category customers? Did you notice the crazy prices of the EU stores (UK a part that is almost in line with the US pricing).
Taking Italy as example:
16GB 479,00 €
32GB 579,00 €
64GB 679,00 €
I mean... seriously?? :D

Guys, I read Crackberry every single day as you are definitely the first source for a BB user, but I'd like to ask you to take a look as well at Europe, there are deep differences between the EU and the US market and, as far as I studied, BlackBerry goes much better here than there (even if dropping) :)

Can you ask them if/when BB Traffic/maps and BB Travel will be ported to the PlayBook? They should be a mainstay for BB10.

Also, any update on the BB cyclone (BB TV set top box running QNX)? Has it been shelved?

I agree with previous posts about the marketing questions. Where is the beefed up marketing they talked about? Even a device heavily lacking will have tremendous sales if advertised properly. Look at iPhone 1. Will we see commercials for the PlayBook at all?

Have they thought about simply paying Skype, Netflix, Hulu, and other heavy hitters to make their respective apps for PlayBook and BB? That in itself could be viewed as a marketing investment because it would add another element to talk about when getting people to go with RIM products. For PlayBook, they don't even need an app for some of these heavy hitters. Make it quicker and cheaper and just pay them to remove the block from the webpage, since the browser proved immediately on launch that it can handle them.

Where is the needed marketing campaign for the PlayBook OS2? Besides adding some important basic features the new pricing makes it very competitive in light of Kindle Fire and Nook want-to-be's. Is there a sense of real urgency at RIM?