Here’s one way BlackBerry could become a huge consumer brand again

By Chris Umiastowski on 21 Feb 2014 03:59 pm EST
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At the start of this millennium BlackBerry did something amazing. They mobilized email. At the time it was rare to see a holstered RIM 850 or RIM 950 handheld …because the people who owned them were addicts. They were always sending and reading email on their devices. Ultimately this addictive nature of the product is what inspired Kevin to start CrackBerry in the first place.  That was a long time ago.

But we all know what happened after the iPhone and Android hit the market. BlackBerry started losing customers. Die hard messaging fanatics still prefer BlackBerry, but too many people have decided that they prefer a huge app store. And until recently, BlackBerry was isolated to BlackBerry hardware.  But not anymore. Now that BBM has gone cross platform, a whole new crowd of users has been exposed to the brand again.

Cross platform BBM has been a nice starting point, but it’s not enough. With Facebook buying WhatsApp and adding 1 million new chat users per day, BBM as a consumer tool has already lost the war. BlackBerry needs to disrupt the market with another cool solution, not try to fight a way bigger giant.

I can think of one way to do this. It’s about bringing voice to every email user in the world. This would go way beyond the 80 million BBM users.

Those of you who have read my editorials in the past know I’ve been hoping BlackBerry would build push to talk capabilities, just like Voxer, into BBM.  Sure, text to voice is nice, and it’s helpful for asking my phone to tell me the weather forecast or to voice-type a quick one-line email reply.  But I’m not talking about text here at all.  I’m talking about pure voice.

BlackBerry people appreciate speed. The entire brand has always been about efficiency.  Voice will always be a faster way to communicate compared to typing.  Always.

And now that so many of us use our mobile devices more than our home computers, practically all communication is moving to mobile.  While it’s nice that I can whip off a quick email reply from the lineup at the grocery store or at a red light, it’s still much slower to type (or use voice to text) compared to just … you know … actually just having your voice recorded and  sent as an audio file.

BlackBerry people appreciate speed. The entire brand has always been about efficiency. Voice will always be a faster way to communicate compared to typing. Always.

The problem isn’t technically hard to solve. It’s just that there is no beautiful user experience to do this today. I think BlackBerry is ideally positioned to make it happen. 

This idea came to me when I was sitting in my car at a red light. I got an email from a client who had a problem that needed solving.  It was a very typical problem, but it would take me a couple of minutes to type out the answer.  Dictating using voice-to-text would be a bit faster, but still requires me to check the words that appear on the screen.  Too slow.  At that moment I wished my email app had a simple way to hold down a button, talk, and have the audio automatically injected as an attachment. 

Today’s solution, if you want to send voice, is to go into the voice recorder. Then record your answer. Then compose an email and then attach that audio file to the email. There is a reason nobody does this.  It’s too slow.  But anyone who’s used Voxer to chat in a walkie-talkie format knows how quick and awesome it is. This tool needs to exist for email.

I’d love to see BlackBerry put a button right in the email client, and this button would be called something like “send with voice” or “reply with voice”. If we were composing an original email we’d still have to manually add the recipients and type the subject line.  But the body of the email would allow for a simple press-and-hold recording of a voice message.  It would be totally simple to use.  

 

Press.  Talk.  Release.  Send.

The recipient wouldn’t have to be my BBM buddy, or friend on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter.  It would just work like email, and it would be available to anyone in the world who already uses email.

The magic would be in making this work cross platform. work cross platform. BlackBerry to BlackBerry messages are not that common anymore because of low market share

The magic would be in making this work cross platform. BlackBerry to BlackBerry messages are not that common anymore because of low market share. So we need something that Android, iPhone and even desktop email users can still work with. The quality of the experience has to get better, not worse.

I see two possible solutions here.  

For messages that arrive on a non-BlackBerry, the audio file could be converted into a web link that takes you back to a cloud-hosted service similar to how SpeakPipe  or Soundcloud works, perhaps with some added security features. The other option, which I see being done in parallel, is to drop a link in the email that references a BlackBerry application (running cross platform) that would integrate with the email client of the phone to support playing of audio messages right inside the email client. 

In a world where we still send TONS of email, and we are always on the go, we don’t always have time to stop and type out the details that we’d really like to communicate.  But talking is easy. Just ask my wife.  I practically never stop talking.

I’d love to see email transform from text and HTML into something that also makes use of audio.  

If BlackBerry makes this happen I think they can re-ignite their image of giving us awesomely fast ways of communicating.

How could they get it done?  They should buy Voxer. Then they should implement a push-to-record button in the email client and give users an easy way turn voice emails (which I’ll call talk-mail) and convert them to real-time walkie-talkie-style communication just like Voxer does so well today.

Maybe the new slogan can be, “BlackBerry. Talk to me.”

317 comments

Q10Nutter

You mean like a PTT?

Q10SQN100-3/10.2.1.2141, Z30, Z10, iP5, SGS3

Adam Zeis

Not quite - did you read the whole article? :) 

ThaMunsta

Unless he can read 1000 WPM, of course he didn't

lndn

It's not impossible :) As a matter of fact, idea of voice mail is old enough to make BlackBerry brand even much older than it has become in most of mobile Customers' opinion lately... Moreover, BBM with only voice message easy to share in multiperson chat made a lot of People returned to WhatsApp or moved to Hangouts. So, it's much more advisable to make it as an additional feature rather than a star for ads.

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Coach101

Blackberry should buy ZELLO

kscribs

Haha :)

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Q10Nutter

Well its PTT email via the email client. Like how whatsapp has that mic icon on the left of the message box.

Q10SQN100-3/10.2.1.2141, Z30, Z10, iP5, SGS3

ChicPolice

Good you went back to read the whole article

Posted from the comfort of QWERTY

mauro316

It's crazy what people does to get first...

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Gilang Gil

Just watching

From INDONESIA

Halifax Guy

Sounds like a good idea.

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supraking

This has been done. It's called a phone call.

Voice to text is the only logical solution to your problem otherwise. I can't reply to your voice message with notes and edits inline. I can't forward your voice message to colleagues or copy-paste pieces of it as needed. I can't skim through your voice message to find the key information in between all your rambling. It's a huge inconvenience to receive your message as voice-only.

All BBM has to do is make groups better (i.e. Make them as good as Whatsapp) and it will take off. BBM is still a one-to-one tool, groups are horrible. The most obvious opportunities are the ones they miss the most often.

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unclebanglin

You are smart

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toneytone

This could catch on quick if marketed properly. Hmmmm BlackBerry and marketing lol

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Harrison Cole

Interesting idea

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dretep

I have friends that have already stopped using BBM, email and text for voice. They now press a button, or say a command, and call me for a quick conversation. Voice is going to make a comeback!

brkdncr

blackberry lost the consumer device battle. The strategy of making a solid enterprise device is a good one. Don't buy up consumer-grade companies that have little benefit in the enterprise. Wait for consumers to once again see blackberry as a top-tier communication device from its enterprise merits.

BionicKris

...and how long, exactly, should BlackBerry wait? We're sort of "on the clock" now.

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brkdncr

There is no rush to go back to the consumer market, ever. That isn't the core business target of blackberry.

samvel2001

After BYOD policy took over, big enterprises have less effect on smartphone market. On other hand the constant growth of none enterprise smartphone users has a huge effect on the market. Presence in consumer portion is essential for BlackBerry. Blackberry became the number one smartphone company coming from enterprise to consumer market, IOS and Android took over coming from consumer to enterprise. The flow changed the direction, and BlackBerry can't ignore it.
Bring one flagship devise with quad or octa core, highest memory, best camera better battery don't need to sell millions just have it so nobody (some like BGR assholes) can't troll, and sell more mid range and low end devices to millions.
This is my view, maybe I'm wrong, but hey the 2013 route was not the right one for sure, 2014 is still murky.

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Xandrex_BSCF

From all the Chen interviews that I have read, I got a completely different understanding.

BlackBerry used to be a smartphone company, that created various software to compliment the devices (BES, MVS, Protect...).

Today in 2014 it has been repeated several times that the new clear path for BlackBerry is to be a software company (QNX, BES, BBM). And that phones will become "just" an addition to the BES solution.

Of course there will still be the will to sell smartphones (like the Jakarta), but it is not what will gather most of BlackBerry's energy anymore.

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brunolovesbrit

Even if they embraced this idea BlackBerry is DAMN SLOW at delivering stuff! They need to act fast, people is tired of hearing the "coming soon" formula next to BlackBerry products!

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BlackBerryRules2006

I think it's a great idea. Keep the ideas coming! Speaking of ideas.....what about a feature in BBM that does what snap chat does? I personally don't use snap chat and never will, but it seems to be what people want.

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Jerale Hoard

Maybe BlackBerry could partner up with them. They did with Glympse so why not?

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jordandrews90

I don't use snapchat either, but I think this would be a good feature.

asvab7@gmail.com

I stopped reading this as it begins in a flawed fashion. BlackBerry has already obtained a license for ptt from Kodiak networks. This is for instant communications. No voice recording needed!

Plazmic Flame

Have you ever used true PTT? That stuff is very annoying.

StoicEngineer

+1. The whole point of electronic communication is to make life better.

Unless you are waiting for a dedicated answer - i.e. on a work site - PTT is an intrusion. Because most people aren't always up, or able, to talk immediately PTT quickly becomes a PITA when it used frequently. Thus, it defeats its own purpose. When talking to co-workers in real time it has strengths, but it is not for everyone, every time.

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Chris Umiastowski

Man. You just don't get it. We need PTT but we also need easy transmission of non real time messages.

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mousii

I don't understand why you are saying that the other party needs some software or even have a link in the email.

If the audio is attached as a wav file for example the recipient can just open it... any device can play a wav file, no need for extra software.

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Chris Umiastowski

Because that makes the experience shit. You have to control the experience.  You can't have people forced to jump off into other shitty apps to listen to your voice messages.  It needs to be super seamless.  Brain dead easy.  Something grandma can do.

leehardballer12

This would be cool and something I would absolutely use. Sometimes it gets too convoluted to message back and forth especially when someone messages a comment or question before you have had an opportunity to type out your response. The BB10 virtual keyboard has helped me catch up, but I still can't keep up with my teenaged kids when it comes to banging out messages. I have a question in regards to when a non BB recipient receives such a 'talk mail'. If I send an audio file via SMS (actually it switches it to MMS), the recipient only has to tap the Play icon in the message to play the file. Would this not work in an email? The only difference would be in how the file is delivered, making it much more convenient to do so with your idea, instead of the convoluted process one would need to follow to do the same thing as it is now.

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Xandrex_BSCF

Chris this is interesting. I find it a bit far from my personal experience because I have never used a visual voice-mail app.

That being said, I think the idea is good, but from a technical point of view, email is just technical headers, subject, body and attachments. So if you want all clients to be able to manage those voice recordings, you obviously need a common denominator. This has to be attachments.

But once that is did, if you look at how appointments are managed, it is a file attached, and then the mail app or the webmail is ale to recognize the type of the file, and process it accordingly (and provide you with buttons to accept, refuse or temporarily accept the meeting).

So in the end what you are thinking of becomes two-part, at least for the first implementation:
1) "create a plug-in for all email apps that will be able to play voice recordings from emails with just a click",
2) the ability to add an voice attachment that you can create immediately

For feature 2, note that you already have that for pictures and videos (but not audio):
While typing an email, hit the attach button, select video, then when you get to the file selector, there is a camera button to record a video, record it and then send.
Of course it can be made easier, like on BBM 10.3, but at least the feature is here and it takes 3 clicks.
Maybe a third party developer can add that button in the action menu for audio.

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Qollars

I agree, some people don't get it. Like emails, they arrive at your phone all day even when you're asleep. You do your notification settings and that eliminates any intrusion. You listen to your voice email or as stated "talk mail" when it's convenient for you as is any email. The typing part becomes non existent and only for entering recipients details. You save time, that's the whole idea. Any thing that can save you time during the day provides room to get something else done.

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BBUK14

Um...maybe, but I don't think many people would use it. People don't like talking, really. Think about it - why do people send IMs instead of just calling?

I also don't think BBMx have lost the 'war' just because WhatsApp have way more users. There isn't a finish line in this 'race'. If BBMx is much better, and becomes increasingly popular, people will switch. I personally would not use this voice email thing, but I also would not stop using BBM just because it was there. Why not I guess, but I don't think it would make waves. Most people are quite self conscious about the way their voices sound in a recording and get nervous when recording themselves. I don't think people would care about it enough, but again, why not I guess.

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battleax78

I could see this being used with close, informal contacts. But then, you have to worry about the voice quality and may end up typing it out anyway. And no matter the recording quality, some people's voices just ain't made for it ( very deep voiced men, catty voiced women/children). The recording quality would most likely need to be assured crystal clear.

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Chris Umiastowski

Just like many people don't use other voice services like...Skype, video, voxer, phone calls... Oh wait. Nevermind. Billions of people use these.

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THBW

Chris, you being a bit flippant with your comment. The OP's perspective is valuable and you need to carefully consider it. I understand your point of view but a lot of people don't like to hear their voice. This is certainly not new. There are many ways to elevate BBM and move it beyond what Whatsup offers, which frankly is pretty minimal.

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axllebeer

The sad thing is that BBM is so much more useful than WhatsApp is anyway. How many more features need to be or can be added before people will make a switch? I use both but, personally I use BBM a lot more. Like 90% more.

bspence87

I agree with BBM not losing the IM war. Weren't they the top-selling hardware manufacturer at one time?

Things change, trends change. It's all about having the newest, coolest gimmick in the consumer market.

Not that I want to see BlackBerry become gimmicky, but I don't mind if BBM does. It IS a social platform afterall.

Newfangled

A great idea, and just the kind of feature I've been wanting for a long time.

PygmySurfer

Why do it over email? Use the BBM network for this. Devise a method for communicating with people not on your list (without having to add them), and you're GTG.

Chris Umiastowski

Sure. However it works as long as it can be used by anyone it's good. BBM requires a BlackBerry ID. That's why I think you just make it an email feature. Everyone already has email.

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FeralCat1

Are you hinting to what we can expect to see in the near future? Fingers crossed... How soon, any predictions if at all?

Chris Umiastowski

I wish. It's just my idea at this point.

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BlokeNamedJeffrey

THAT would be a game changer!!

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nucks26

Good idea. But definitely not a feature that's going to make people want to switch to blackberry. They need to come with a cool almost gimmicky feature that is unique for blackberry. I own a z10 and I know why bb10 is the best. But what does the average iPhone and Android user know about BB10? Nothing. There needs to be at least one or two cool features on our phones that attract people in commercials. Even though the Blackberry Hub and flick typing keyboard are amazing for me, it isn't a selling feature for other consumers whatsoever

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TheStoryUp

The only game changer I can see in the near future is Lithium Graphene Batteries. If they can be the first ones to come out with this new technology ahead of the competition, they could gain some market share back.

There isn't really any major game changers left. Maybe a 3D screen. But if users could have 10 times the battery life and charge a in less than five minutes I think that would cause some serious attention.

Zed30

Chris Umiastowski

Right. It wouldn't make anyone switch to BlackBerry necessarily but think of how BB could charge for premium features around this.

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axllebeer

This is true. WhatsApp charges a whole dollar per year and its obviously very successful. So once BBM has been fully featured on all major platforms then not long after shy not offer a minimal charge for premium features?

leehardballer12

If I'm understanding this correctly, I think this could be sold as a "gimmicky" consumer feature while also being a useful tool for "power users". Think about it. If one could respond to a message, at their convenience, and respond by simply holding a button, speaking their response, and tapping 'Send', instead of whipping their phone out, then devote attention away from whatever else is going on to tap out a response, that would be pretty cool. I could see people jumping over to utilize it.

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Xandrex_BSCF

Receiving emails would be very different. Today this is a silent action. I receive an email, then read it.

If the feature proposed by Chris Umiatowski works, then for each such voice message I will have to use headphones. I am not sure I will like if many people do that to me.

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BBZ10wannabe

Voice files are much larger than data files. Imagine multiplying the number of BBM, text, Skype, What's App messages by the size of a voice file instead of data, and float that around the world. A phone with 16GB of HD storage will be full in no time (if you don't use a cloud service). Think of how much money it will cost to host these larger files. Who will pay for it? As it is, text files are VERY fast to read. How long will it take to click the link, decrypt the file (if secured) load and play the file and listen to it to the bitter end.. (assuming you have friends with a sense of humour) I hope this idea doesn't come to pass. I'm all for great new ideas but I just don't see it with this one.

mousii

Don't be a party pooper :(

În the end, if you don't want to save the file on your phone (and why would you) just listen to it and this is it.

And actually in chris' examples the file was hosted on another server because he was talking about links in the email.

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Xandrex_BSCF

There are codes that compress audio files very efficiently (you don't need 320kbps in 5.1 for a quick voice recording).

Yes audio files are big, but not much bigger than images in a commercial newsletter (I receive on a daily basis nearly 40 newsletters that have more than 1MB images in it).

Besides this issue will only become important if many people use that feature. It will only be a few hundred millions at most.

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mckillio

Speaking may be easier than typing but is listening easier and faster than reading? I'm not so sure. It makes a long email chain a pain and much more difficult to interject ideas into a previous message. I do still like this idea and at the very least BB needs to make doing audio messages faster and easier.

ThaMunsta

I totally agree. Sometimes listening to an audio message is slow or inconvenient. In the office you don't want co workers hearing what bar your friend wants you to go to this weekend. Or if your friend says ummmm a lot waiting for him to get to the point might take 30 seconds longer than it should have lol

mckillio

Not to mention, it looks a lot more rude when listening to a message than reading one.

leehardballer12

Many people think it's rude when others 'check out' to tap out responses. To speak a response, especially a long one that requires detail, would be much faster than tapping out a message that requires attention exclusively to your phone. As in everything else, people need to use discretion.

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jic999

This is a key , I need to read an email,but would love to have the option of " BlackBerry talk to me "
More options is great and therefore enhance the experience.

Chris Umiastowski

Right. Think in terms of hybrid. You can type or talk. Chains can still happen. Volume wouldn't make sense in all cases, just many cases. I'm not advocating killing text. That would be dumb.

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Xandrex_BSCF

I agree. Depending on the way you want to reply today, a quick 30s phone call or an email or even a Lync message can make the difference.

Voice messages would simply be another asset. Not a way to replace entirely the existing ones.

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Qollars

The "talk mail" can be sent as voice and be received in a text format. An option can be available in settings to switch on how you want to receive "talk mails". Either as the recording or as text and that solves the problem.

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THBW

Good point.

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Hidjk

Sounds like a good idea, I like it. Maybe you can get Kevin to pass it on to John Chen since you guys have the connections...

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peterallcdn

Seems like a flawed idea. People use text to communicate now because they don't want to talk, not because they can't or because it's too cumbersome. Voice-emails can be overheard by others making them less suitable in many situations. Because they're audio files, people will no longer be able to search their emails for past communications.

Seems to me that voice emails should really just be phone calls, otherwise you lose the benefits of text based communication.

Just my opinion.

zensen

True. I don't want to be hearing voice messages in public.
Just call him via hands free.

Unless it's a life and death thing, I think your clients can wait until you pull over or get to your destination.

Chris Umiastowski

Don't you realize the phone is smart enough to watch to "phone to ear" mode or whatever you want to call it, when you out the phone to your face. Go use voxer and then cast an opinion. You'll be better educated.

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tgtallinn

Well transcript to text in the cloud, push it and let a pull from the original audio. May even add a translation in the transmission... i remember a french telecom service that did the opposite. You were sending sms to to landline, and it arrived on it as a voice message as they were not supporting text (acceptable as long as you make effort of syntacting correctly and now researches have made progress on synthetizing word cesures). You may want to address to blind as well. You may want to,archive the responses as an audio faq which can be powerful when you are guiding the steps for someone using the phone. So many niches usecases uncovered for now that when adding at world wide scale can still touch a lot of users. and one can imagine a virtual connected mode to work like military pilots do, in mmpog, ...
Voice is also no that bandwitdh demanding, can't be worst than pics especially with nowadays resolutions.
Reading is also a burden, as lot of phone users actually are illiterate...

xweb10

"Well transcript to text in the cloud, push it and let a pull from the original audio. "

You hit the nail on the head. No actual voice file is being attached to the receivers email. They get a link to stream the voice. And if they are not in a place to listen to a voice file, a transcription is included in the email. The only problem is that voice to text transcription is notoriously horrible. I use Google Voice and the transcriptions are laughable.

tgtallinn

Was a bit unclear maybe, i was saying that audio is stored on the cloud and then email besides the voice message notification could have a transcription, not to need hearing it.
Not sure google voice is the reference, but i was surprised by nuance technology that perform better than expected for me. so discussing with some people there are limitation (harder to perform as well for female voice than male, local accents, non native speakers, ...). but it wouldn't impossible forwarding the algo training to the cloud as well. but also just saying imperative "let's meet at 15h in xxx" could also trigger a lot of flowing actions that can combine better with voice command, which should have a fair recognition rate and also carry way more info that the actual text on the meeting importance. If not texting it is easier updating of checking conflict in the calendars of checking, proposing booking a transport depending on the identified location, forecast needed gaps because of location, late habit of the participants when this popups, when finishing the dictation.

jic999

Another good point , But what happens if we have a text email conversation then have " Blackberry talk to me " messages mixed together it kind of changes the flow of the conversation. But I will still want the flow of information to be efficient. If your response is a quick few responses fine but if this is going to be a long conversation you can establish the current conversation with your party with a " BlackBerry Talk To Me " Conversation . Example like this : . " Hey lets "BlackBerry Talk To me " this issue Frank right now and I can also attach the studies I have been working on " ) . So I would want the option and love the idea .

Chris Umiastowski

Yeah. You're right. That's why nobody uses Skype, voxer, viber phone calls, and nobody has a conversation anymore either. Oops. I'm wrong. They do. Billions.

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peterallcdn

I don't recall saying nobody uses those services. Are you making up stuff because your argument is weak? I will admit though that the number of times I've heard people bring up voxer and viber over the past year is an incredibly high... zero. They must be taking the world by storm, their services are so in demand!

As for skype, I've only ever seen it used as... gasp... a replacement for phone calls due to long distance, lack of phone line or because they desire video etc. I've never heard of anyone on the go say "I'll skype him/her" when needing to send a short message instead of just IMing or texting... or even placing a phone call!

If you want audio for anything longer than what you'd typically say over PTT, make a phone call. Otherwise, what's easier for you, recording a voice message... is more cumbersome and inefficient for the recipient. At least in a work environment.

Chris Umiastowski

You said people don't want to talk. Pretty simple argument to destroy. End of story.

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jic999

Incorporate it into BBM Channels When and when we get BBM Money. So now we really can have a Micro Enterprises e-Com Social Messenger with the " BlackBerry Talk to me " , and BBM Money key features.

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Xandrex_BSCF

The main point of the article is to give that feature to anyone who can send and receive email. Not move them outside their mail system to another tool.

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koolrosh

I would love to see expanded business functions for BBM. One idea would be to have BB Docs inside of BBM so that people in the group can collaborate on the same Word/Excel file. Similar to how you have lists inside of BBM today, you would have a section where you can share documents that would be hosted in the cloud and be able to edit from within the app.

Signhere

More features the better. Nice idea Chris. Some times I wish some crackberrians could see past the end of their noses. Zeesh

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Rolf Hed

How big is this "a whole new crowd of users"? (I know three is a crowd, but it's definitely more than that. lol) How many people--"new" and "old"--are actually using BBM on a regular basis? Are there any solid figures recently? I don't think I have many contacts--about 200--but only one is on BBM and she owns an Android...

Ijme Woensdregt

The man has a point here.

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wincyUt

BlackBerry should explore this idea. It's always that simple idea that everyone thought was too simple that turned out to be big hits. Who would have thought twitting would become big. Who would have thought Instagram would be big. Mr John Chen & Co hope you guys are listening.

ThaMunsta

The issue would come down to how each device handles it. I'm not familiar with them all but lets say android forces the user to download and save the voice clip attachment to somewhere on the phone rather than stream it. The whole process would become totally inconvenient for the recipient and the end result would them replying to the email with "Please don't send me these in the future..." Or if a device can't tell what to do with the file format...
If they get the email, tap a button and can hear their friend talking with no obstacles, great!

ofutur

I think it's a terrible idea :), unless we start having plugins in other clients to convert the audio to text.
The beauty of email today is that you can search through content or re-use that text in notes, mindmaps, PMS, etc. You can even re-read a message months later, if you need to.
You can't skim through an audio file in a task to "hear" what it's about.
Also, those audio files will turn to junk the second they've been heard and will clutter mail servers unless they self destruct.

So, unless there is a whole ecosystem built for it, i hope this never takes off. Just make text-to-speech and speech-to-text better and faster, but keep transmitting information in a universal, searchable format.

"Snap" is the best stop-gap solution for Android apps while we wait for BlackBerry to get its act together...

BBZ10wannabe

Or if you want to revolutionize.. Think-to-text!! Now that would be quick assuming you could get BB11 to read our minds ;)

Qollars

Haha. Nice one

The shirt addict blueprint | BBM channel = C00122EC9

ofutur

Think-to-text is to approximate at the moment (shapes, colours), but we'll get there eventually :)

Xandrex_BSCF

I do what you say, and agree in the fact that it is not easy to index a voice file.

But 90% of people search in their mails based on three criteria only: subject, date, sender/recipient. So this will not bother them.

Posted via CB10

peterallcdn

What would make the idea better is if there were both a text transcript and audio file sent.

mousii

What abotu fries with it?

Powered by BB

jvinp

Couldn't the message just be an attachment like a picture?

Posted via CB10

mousii

Yes, exactly what I was thinking. This would be so easy to implement... next update it could be done, really.

Powered by BB

arfin

How is that any better then voice to text

Posted via CB10

bradpromac

I've had long answers to text where I just answer back by texting "I 'm going to call you."

With a voice email I would be wondering if they got it or not, more so if it were really important.

On my awesome BlackBerry Z30

Signhere

You should set up a BBM Channel, Chris.

Posted via CB10

TheoRadu

BBM also does this, but Chris is talking about building that functionality into the email app.

Chris Umiastowski

Thank you for reading and showing an ability to comprehend what so many people seem to miss!

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

TheoRadu

This is actually very easy to implement. All they need to do is to add HTML5 audio and video tags support to the native email client. If would fall back to links for other platforms.

Chris Umiastowski

Bingo. You got it man. Easy but needs to be implemented so it's totally simple for sender and receiver.

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

mousii

This can be in the next update! Someone needs to send an email to BlackBerry... really.

Powered by BB

mithrazor

How is this a consumer oriented feature again?

Posted via CB10

TheoRadu

It could be used as an audio/video card.

KDB84

This is already in the newest BBM version, yes? Push, talk, release and it sends. It could work the same way, just attach to the email in an audio file. I receive my voicemail this way at work (our phones are on a voip system), so when I'm out of the office it still comes through to my BlackBerry, it's great. Just doesn't need to be so formal as a vm.
They're already close with this feature on BBM.

Posted from my Z10 via CB10

Chris Umiastowski

BBM voice attachments are still shit. Way too many button pushes required. I guess Bocking didn't listen to my advice after all. I'm disappointed.

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

axllebeer

It works, and some may say its a stepping stone. I say its a stepping stone that doesn't need to have been implemented in the 1st place. They just need to do it right from the start. Clean, easy, to the point that it becomes addictive. Because that's what BlackBerry is all about. Easy productivity and features that become irreplaceable and for many users addictive.

Chris Umiastowski

Exactly. They should implement it perfectly or not at all.

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

Harry_III_UK

You can already send a voice note in the way you describe int he new version of BBM - so I think what you are suggesting for e-mail is highly possible with minimum programming effort.

Also, when anyone thinks of voice, they tend to think of WAV. Yes, it is a nice high quality file format and it is playable on most devices. However, DSS by Philips as used on their pocket memo voice recorders produces great quality audio files at a fraction of the size of WAV. For better quality, DS2 is also available.

It is a shame that DSS is not as cross platform as WAV.

MrJohnyBoy

Now that would be cool! And something new, hope BlackBerry jumps on that before apple does

Posted via CB10

fanks

Personally I like email but most people don't. Email is a only business thing. I definitely won't send voice messages to customers by mail. There is a reason for that. You can not simply correct a voice message as you do in a mail.

Posted via CB10

DurdenLunarius

Great article Chris! Let's hope someone from BB peruses this and decides to act, whether implementing something close to Voxer, or just suggesting to spend some of that extra $250mil they got recently into outright acquiring Voxer to add the functionality.

It already works great in the new BBM update, functioning just like you're explaining, but would be awesome to have for email as well.

ravenskman1

I don't get it, why not just call the person rather then sending voice-emails back and forth? And for that matter, wouldn't these attached voice recordings be essentially the same idea as Visual Voice Mail? Also, like someone said before, it's quicker to read a typed message than listening to a recording and being able to gain full comprehension of what was said, specially with different accents and speech patterns. Idk maybe I'm just not thoroughly understanding the idea.

Chris Umiastowski

Correct, you don't get it.  Calling somebody is synchronous.  Emailing, texting or sending them a voice message is asynchronous.  HUGE difference.

ptpete

Yea, but voice mail IS asynchronous. I fundamentally disagree that texting is slower than voice. Checking voice takes too long, you can't scan quickly back and forth. You have to replay, find the spot, etc.

Agreed that you could make huge improvements in UI and fold the voice into the asynchronous "chat" like back and forth, but I don't think this is a killer app.

Chris Umiastowski

You're on the right track in recognizing that voice mail's implementation generally sucks. That's what needs to change, and obviously it wouldn't be a rip and replace for text.  

To mention that voice doesn't always make sense is an obvious statement.  It's like saying bicycles don't always replace walking. 

Harry_III_UK

You can take a DS2 file that you have created using a Philips voice memo recorder, load it onto a PC, and then load it into Dragon dictate. Dragon will then convert your speech to text using the "transcribe" function. It is pretty accurate, but not perfect. You also need to train Dragon a little to recognise your voice.

I see the future of this as a potential killer app. What if you could receive a voice file from a friend and choose "listen" or "transcribe" - and your BlackBerry would then transcribe the voice file into text for you?

Sure, voice recognition has a way to come - but it is possible.

Users could even store their own voice profiles on a BlackBerry cloud service so that their voice note could be matched to their voice profile - thus allowing any message from anyone with such a stored profile to be transcribed more accurately.

I am sure we will see things such as this in the next few years.

MrGlenn

So the takeaway message I am seeing is:
BlackBerry should make sure that every feature they develop from now on automatically includes a huge userbase. And works cross platform.

I am not very interested in the email-as-IM idea, unless you are suggesting replacing BBM as a whole.

But the general guidelines you are talking about could and should apply to BBM.

BlackBerry 10 signed.

redchilli88

Brilliant idea Chris!!. Mr Chen I hope you are reading this.

Posted via Z10.

mnc76

It's a good and simple to implement idea that could possibly help BBM gain more traction.

In other words, it a feature BlackBerry will never ever implement until after 99% of competing instant messengers have already implemented it have used it to gain even more market share over BBM.

That's the BlackBerry way. :(

Posted via CB10

BerryRipe

BlackBerry has literally nothing to lose here. Go all out BlackBerry! Ride or Die!

Keep The Faith  BlackBerry Q10 

therealm7

Very good idea, should forward onto BlackBerry for consideration and implementation during next OS update for both new and legacy devices.

Posted via CB10

Nauwiesbande

WhatsApp already got this covered...works like a breeze. On my BlackBerry.

anon5129477

Quick! Put a Patent on it.

nutellapr

This would be a niche feature not one that would appeal to the mass market. Professionally responding to an email sent via laptop with a sound file just doesn't work. Don't quit your day job.

Posted via CB10

Chris Umiastowski

Haha!  Too bad your opinion is not backed by experience. Any idea how many times I've replied to customers by recording a screencast for them (voice / video) and they LOVE it.   I quit my day job years ago.

kyleheney

Hahaha best reply I've seen. Well said, Chris.

Denise in Los Angeles

Problem: Most people don't use email anymore.

Chris Umiastowski

Right.... you're out to lunch if you really believe that.

gatorboi352

It's true though. I email with no more than 3 people any more: my mom, my dad and my best friend when he needs to send me a file larger than ~7GB.

James Richardson

Sounds like an amazing idea to me. Make it happen BlackBerry.

Posted via CB10

legin111

While I understand that some might like this feature, I'd rather just talk to that person over the phone via BT linked to your car. Like you said talking versus typing is way quicker....just my opinion is all

Z10 to Z30

kthhrrsn

I think it's a good idea to allow a reply with voice option. There could be a standard message included in the reply to refer the email recipient to the attachment w/the verbal reply. That way, they won't think they've received a blank email.

I think making it dependent on either a cloud or an external app makes it too complex. It could be as simple as sending a .wav or .mp3 file to the recipient (highly compressed, of course).

Perhaps if for BlackBerry devices, it defaults to opening the file w/BBM and playing it there, so that the users could then initiate a voice chat via BBM, that would be something...I think!

iNeoEon

What about MAKING A CALL?! Get real... voice to text is good enough. What BlackBerry needs is text to voice: Emails red out loud while one drives.

Me?! I keep movin'!

misterabrasive

Exactly! It would be very innovative to perhaps use the "phone " to actually "call " someone.

Posted via Verizon Official 10.2.1

Chris Umiastowski

You need to understand the difference between synchronous and asynchronous. 

iNeoEon

That was smart, I admit.

Me?! I keep movin'!

BBiphone3424

Facebook is going to die out in a few years. It is spending too much money for companies that are base on fads and trends(Instagram, HTC facebook phone, Whatsapp, and a few more crazy money wasting companies). I am not saying buying these companies were bad ideas but bad investing. Instead of buying low Facebook always buy high. Every company Facebook brought or invested in is over priced. Just because it is Facebook it is a smart move(Wrong). If Facebook would have brought BlackBerry, Nokia, or partnership with iPhone it would have helped them in the long run. If facebook continues to buy overprice company BBM will survive the storm. BBM could become the best messaging app with a few tweeks.

Posted via CB10

felixlives

I am intrigued why they didn't include some sort of PTT like Zello in the latest bbm update, sure they gave us glympse but as myself and a bunch of others are finding out it only works in some regions...
Something like a PTT would be pretty cool if you ask me

Posted via CB10

IMMCracked

Yup. This would be an awesome feature!!

Posted via CB10

jrohland

I don't have one single customer with audio on their computer, which is where they get 97% of their email. I don't believe they would have any interest is this.

StoicEngineer

Funny, it's what you get used to. Several months ago our company introduced a system wherein ALL telephone calls are transcribed and posted to one's email account. EVERY user in my sight now uses this sevice in reviewing their voice mails before listening and possibly answering.

This is how it works. You get a chance to review, as text, the message - garbled though it may be. If it is worth hearing the message, you can access the voice recording. The only time you need a telephone is to reply.

It's better than voice mail because you can review the message first. Unwanted messages disappear with a click. It's better than email because you have the chance to hear the added dimension of voice if you want/need to.

I use it daily and love it. At first, I thought it was gimmicky. It's what you get used to.

Posted via CB10

NamelessStar

Sounds like a good idea, but the way voice dictation is working seems like Google is closer with this. After seeing what the moto x can do with no hands I would only think they would try this. Betting on BlackBerry as i always have i hope someone sees your suggestions and turns this into reality.

Posted via CB10 on my blazing fast Z30 running 10.2.1.1925

Acvdm

The future is wearable technology. The real competitor is Glass and yes, voice is included.

Posted via CB10

JonCBK

Doubt it. Even google employees aren't wearing glass. Not enough feature for the complexity and uncomfortableness.

Posted via CB10

paulmike83

That would be cool. Check out the app George the unlucky fish, you can get it to copy what you say, but the amazing thing about that is, that app can understand anything you say, better than the voice dictator that is on the phone already. It's amazing.

Team BlackBerry

demobigen

Doesn't "WeChat" do this already?

Demobigen (Powered by Blackberry® Q10)

dakid72

Fly me up to Canada and we can work on this for the next six months or so. I do eat quite a bit so snacks are a must..... ;-)

Posted via CB10

digitalsurfboard

if they made strong push for telecoms, banks and credit card companies to adopt NFC payment and came out with bb 10 apps for these payments before anyone else. and made the apps better than other platforms, you'd see mass conversion to bb 10.

focus on shit people use daily and serve a need that isn't already serviced. that's what they need to do. BBM and Channels is way late to the party and pointless.

cristianoCR9

Absolutely brilliant. Very great angle to get a finger on a virgin market space.

JonCBK

Why would they need to buy Voxer? Since the voice record feature is built into the phone, why isn't this a simple bit of programming that adds a wav file attachment to the email?

Posted via CB10

Chris Umiastowski

Buying voxer isn't essential, but I think it would be awesome to have the ability to escalate an asynchronous talk-mail session into a synchronous PTT style session (Voxer has this mastered), or just a regular voice call (which doesn't need voxer)

Coyote55

How can this go "Cross Platform" and maintain being a Blackberry feature or benefit if it is in email? I think that having this feature in BBM is great. Sure we all have far less contacts in BBM from years of past, but this is a great way to grow BBM back to it's glory years! BBM is the answer, just needs time. Spread the word! :)

br14

Because the feature to create the email is in BBM

Chris Umiastowski

No, the feature is not in BBM.  It's in email.  It's a branding thing.  And I think there are cloud services you could charge for.

kfh227

They need more debs to get all this done ASAP.

Posted via CB10

msyogota

Lots of people have the sound muted on the computer or does not have speakers at all. I am one of them.

jd914

It's hilarious to think BlackBerry could become a huge consumer brand again. Sorry, not gonna happen.

barney009

Unless these crappy androids all get hacked and people decide they want a secure device!

Posted via CB10

barney009

Trouble is most consumers don't even use email especially the young. Also, for business nobody ever speaks anymore, whenever I phone customers they ask if I can confirm it in an email - they like having it down in black and white, easier to refer back to later.

Posted via CB10

Chris Umiastowski

This is one of the most clueless posts I've seen.  "Most consumers don't use email"  LOL.

barney009

I mean non business users. I use emails all the time they rule my life but outside of work none of my friends, my kids, their friends or families ever use email they think it is so old fashioned, everything is done through social media. So no I am not clueless I just mix with different people to you obviously - and I live in a different country so maybe things are different here!!

Posted via CB10

jelp2

That's absolutely true. The younger generations don't use email, way too slow. Nowadays it's great for business and..... well that's about it. if I sent my kids an email they would never see it, if I sent my dad am email, he would see it.

br14

All you have to do is add a mime attachment in the email. Click on the attachment in any device and provided the audio format is supported (e.g. mp3 or whatever the voice equivalent is) the device should play back.

A number of corporate voice mail systems already do exactly that though I've never seen it done in the consumer space.

Nice idea.

jhrain

That's why I have a phone and why my friends have visual voicemail. I'm missing the advantage. Sorry.

Posted via CB10

Chris Umiastowski

We forgive you.  It takes a bit of horsepower upstairs to get this.

deltact

Great idea. The senior partners at my firm use dictaphones a lot, mostly for transcription by their secretaries. However, one still uses mini cassette tapes to issue instructions on new mandates; I come in to find a tape and folder on my desk...

As great as BlackBerry is for typing, voice is still faster. Sure, many won't need to use this feature, but the hard-core communicators would probably love it.

Posted via CB10 on Z10

TheStoryUp

I predict Google buying Voxer in the very near future, good job on letting the competition in on you great idea (it is a great idea). Do you need an email for someone at BlackBerry to send these ideas too? I could get you one :p

Zed30

JamesIV

Whatsapp has this feature already...

Posted via CB10 on my Z10

bbry4life

One step closer to going back to talking to each other. Nice.

tjross

You mean talking to our phone, which will email our message to someone. . At least our voices won't be lost in evolution. Lol

Posted via secure bb10.2.1.2102

oakvillerelopro

Thoughtful article. Hopefully BlackBerry is listening and will act fast and be a leader in this technology

Posted via My rocking Droidberry Z30 on CB Forums

Alex Keb

Nah didn't you read Crackberry.com Seinfeld comedic bit, he summed it pretty well. Text killed voice.

Voice is not very useful when you're in public, voice recognition can't understand in a crowd and there is also the problem of privacy. We wouldn't want someone to ease drop on our conversation.

Texting is more secure and easier to communicate. It's all about convenience and borderline laziness.

BlackBerry needs to move faster and add better functions to BBM. Voice call and location sharing was a nice step to right direction, we need more.

BBM also needs to come out on desktop and windows phone.

BBM also needs to make adding new friends easier. Right now it's such a pain to teach someone new to try to add a friend.

Whatsapp lead is only temporary because it also supports legacy devices. Once Emerging markets transition to Androids, iOS, BlackBerry and WP, whatsapp will lose its luster as the messaging apps built in these platforms will be king.

Google's idea to integrate sms with hangout was a smart move. I hope BBM replicates that feature.

Posted via CB10

Kurt Windibank

Alex...

It's an "option". Sometimes replying to an email in a quick manner like that (like when driving) would be a benefit. I'd use it!

Chris Umiastowski

Alex, you don't seem to understand (I'm not surprised given your history of comments on my stuff)

1) No voice recognition.  You missed a few sentences I guess.  Nothing new.

2) Talking IS the lazy approach.  Texting takes more effort.

3) When you hold your phone to your face there are these things called "sensors" that put the phone in phone mode rather  than speaker mode.  You should try it.  Helps keep convos private.

4) Nobody will force you to talk.  Wanna type?  Go for it.  Plenty of cases where that makes sense.

Alex Keb

I really don't care if they add this feature or not but it seems rather redundant.

We already have voice attachment, voice to text, voice call, video call, MMS and something don't know if you familiar with called a phone call and with Q10 key dialing, it's pretty fast.

Besides most BlackBerry fans buy a BlackBerry because they type a lot.

You preaching at the wrong crowd and company.

Posted via CB10

Chris Umiastowski

Alex ... if Steve Jobs were your boss he'd fire you.

G-bone

Umi's on the job = solved!

#IchooseBlackBerry10

Posted via CB10

Khaled Aznawi

Great idea. I think its workable. Just somrtimes or rather always it takes quite sometimes foe the ppl in huge co tu implement it. Thats why start up co flourish. They r very fast bringing ideas to reality. BlackBerry must act fast. Buying the innovative small start up will jumpstart this idea. Dont let another opportunity slip again...

Posted via CB10

oliverwu

why not give up email?just use bbm

Posted by z10-1 via CB10

tjross

BBM = informal communication (even more than email)

Posted via secure bb10.2.1.2102

tjross

+1

Posted via secure bb10.2.1.2102

seageath

No Chris, it's should be "BlackBerry. Keep Talking" :)

rickster2611

I'm definitely looking at the lithium graphene battery.

Imagine BlackBerry makes the thinnest phone in the world with the longest battery life and BlackBerry owns the patents for the Lithium graphene.

Investing in new technologies.

Watch the competition lose their lunch and go running to the toilet.

This is the only way BlackBerry will jump start the fightback.

BlackBerry...Get it done

Posted via CB10

niceup

Nice idea...Blackberry should go for it

Jay Hooker

I can imagine recording a message and listening to it 5 times before I felt it was sufficient. Much easier to do when I type something. Also how am I goi G to listen to an email when I'm in a meeting or at dinner with my wife? ;)

Posted via CB10

Chris Umiastowski

When you get over your need for perfection you record once.

summer191

Eurm...not that it's any of my concern, but are you having a shitty day? You always come across as unbiased and open...but you've been extremely strong on your opinions on this one...not taking criticism very well at all on this idea. It's not going to be for everyone and that's the whole point of the comment section: for people to voice their opinions. YOU get over yourself...

Posted via CB10

Chris Umiastowski

Criticism is OK. When people don't understand simple concepts I speak out more vocally.

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

barney009

Can you not understand that not everyone agrees with your ideas. Personally I think there are plenty of other things blackberry should be sorting out to stay in the market.

Posted via CB10

Chris Umiastowski

Disagreement is fine. Misunderstanding is not as easy to excuse. Most common Misunderstandings are synchronous vs asynchronous and crap user experience vs great user experience.

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

barney009

Maybe the reason people are misunderstanding is because you're not very good at explaining what you're talking about. A simple explanation would suffice instead of being downright rude!

Posted via CB10

Chris Umiastowski

I told the guy to get over his need for perfection. It's just good advice.

Kurt Windibank

Love the idea..would save a lot of time!

Take it a step further and add video as well!

jic999

Kurt i was just thinking of this.
If we can add Chris " BlackBerry Talk to me " + " BlackBerry Video Talk " into BBM Channels along with BBM Money what a perfect e-Commerce platform. So for example I could have a Family Medicine Advice BBM Channels . So people/Clients could join, then they could review my medical advice material leave a review or comment, I can open a BBM Channels chat or group chat for a fee for more medical advice and this is where the " BlackBerry Talk to me " and " BlackBerry Video Talk " features could really Excell the conversation and experience. Chris this is right on the Money $$

Posted via CB10

Drmoe

I think it's a long way away and many glitches. Just MHO.

Posted using the best phone ever, the Z30!

HusseinMoussa

ummmm, doesn't whatsapp have that already on blackberry?
what are we talking about here?

Chris Umiastowski

We're just talking about something called email here.  Not much of a difference at all compared to WhatsApp :)

(try reading)

StoicEngineer

Chris, this is brilliant.

You have to hammer home that this is a method of communication from a BlackBerry device to everyone with an email account. That is, pretty much everyone connected electronically regardless of whether they have a BBM app.

It is an asymmetric communication where a BBM device can send the voice message out to everyone. But, people without BBM couldn't use such a service - think my mom sitting in front of the glowing screen. It provides the driver for increased BBM penetration into the consumer market, as people see the value.

It is asymmetric also in the sense that the voice note is not expected to be received in real time (i.e. not PTT).

I see it as a real email enhancement.

Posted via CB10

Chris Umiastowski

Finally.  Someone who actually understands that this is asynchronous.  If you are reading this and don't understand what it means, please GO USE GOOGLE.  Educate yourself.  Get smarter.  Learn the difference between a phone call and other real-time conversation versus asynchronous communication.  Stoic gets it.  

Troy Tiscareno

Chris,

Have you not used a modern Android phone? The speech-to-text capabilities are pretty amazing - I can dictate entire emails quickly and easily and the accuracy is amazing. I've done similar on an iPhone, and while the accuracy isn't as good, it's still pretty fast.

The point is: the Big 2 have had an even better version of this capability for a couple of years already (and getting better every day). Who wants to have to listen to an audio file of someone's voice when they can simply read the text? And if they wish, they can have the text read to them (say, in a car, handsfree)?

IMO, NO ONE is clamoring for what is really more voice mails. I hate VM myself (always have), and to me one of the best inventions ever was "Visual VM" (i.e., voice-to-text). This idea is REALLY grasping at straws. Surely BB can come up with a better feature to drive consumer interest than this.

Chris Umiastowski

Holy sh*t ... you don't get it.  

When you talk to your phone and expect it to translate that speech into text (long form emails) you need to pay attention to make sure it's accurate.  And it isn't unless you talk slowly and meticulously.  And you can't easily punctuate.  I use Android every day.  I use voice to text every day.  This is NOT a competitor. It's apples to oranges.  Great option, but sucks for the use case I'm describing.

Troy Tiscareno

Oh, I get it. I carried a Nextel phone for years, so I know all about PTT. You're describing PTT, except not-in-real-time. How is this substantially different from a voice mail? PTT is mostly dead, or at least, has become a niche. It made sense with early cell networks, where PTT was unlimited but cell calls were not. Today, if you want voice communications, you CALL someone, and get a much better experience. Otherwise, texting of some form is used because it's more private and easier for the responder to read and respond to.

I'm not saying this process couldn't be smoother and easier - of course it could be. But it's not a feature that people are especially clamoring for either - Voxer exists to serve the niche of people who still want PTT already, and, while it's got a decent user-base, it's certainly not an app that most people consider to be "must have". I think you are vastly over-estimating the consumer demand for this feature, is all.

barney009

+1 also can't imagine it will increase Blackberry user base. It would only appeal to business users who have no control over which device they use. The average user who buys a phone for their personal use would have no interest in email. Far better to spend the money on features that will bring these users back to Blackberry.

Posted via CB10

Chris Umiastowski

I don't think you get it. My opinion. Email is just "push to text" to follow your thinking. What I'm describing would be used to communicate info verbally with complete accuracy when you don't want to type it all out. The difference between this and voice mail. Is 1)no calling and waiting involved; 2) drastically faster and easier UX; 3) don't need a phone number just an email address or perhaps bbm info; 4) hybrid implementation with text not separate.

Voice is typically synchronous. Email is always asynchronous. Things like YouTube, podcasts, SoundCloud, voxer, all prove people want a rich experience that is asynchronous. Proven.

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

Troy Tiscareno

Other than Voxer, everything else you listed are for productions, meaning where time and effort was taken to produce a more polished product, which is what makes it worth the time and effort to watch/listen to in real time. That's totally different from a Voxer-like product, which has zero production value - no more than a voice mail. Lots of people, including myself, find drudgery in listening to those in real time.

I'm not saying it would be horrible to have a PTT feature, I'm just saying that very few people are clamoring for this feature, and IMO, it's definitely not going to be a feature that will make people decide for or against BB. IMO, putting the contact discovery features in BBM that were recently released is likely to have 100x the benefit for BB than PTT. Of course, that's just my opinion.

Chris Umiastowski

This is a straw man.  People can't know they want what they aren't aware of or have not thought of.  Half of our audience here is misunderstanding talk-mail as something that either happens in real time (not aware of synchronous vs asynchronous) or not understanding the level of UX improvement I'm proposing over standard (crappy, annoying) voice mail.  The other half who does totally understand it wants it.  

You don't need everyone to love something for it to be huge.  Obvious.

Production value isn't relevant to the argument either. Go check out how many YouTube videos people simply shoot and upload with zero added production time.  There is more value in voice or video, and there are actually some of us who are capable of speaking coherently and passing along more useful information much faster than typing.

When voice mail was invented why do you think it was so popular? Asynchronous and rich in content. It was great for (mostly) passing along information that was not part of a big back and forth chain of communication.  Most emails are not huge threaded conversations either. Chains are short. Voice is better in many cases.  The fact that people didn't spend production time on voice mails proves that voice messages (recorded coherently by smart people) are highly useful.

I respect your opinion, Troy ... I just think you're wrong.

77khak79-77

The talk feature is a grand idea, and could go far, especially if built into BBM. That will allow capturing an already growing user base. If done as a separate app, it would take longer to capture users.

As an aside, Blackberry could also capture more interest in hardware and software sales and use by advertising. And by partnering more aggressively with the carriers. As a southern California Q10 user, I'm very aware of the lack of marketing versus "the competition", and this lack shows in the decreased sales and support.
Verizon, for example, is still sitting on 10.2.x for Q10. Unless Blackberry presses the issue, the comparative low percentage Blackberry users get to take a back seat and wait for the whim of carriers to support the products - not what is good business for either the carrier or Blackberry.

If a new product, such as the voice email / messaging system is to succeed, Blackberry needs to take a stronger grip on the reins of marketing and support. Otherwise, I think it will be a doomed exercise in a 'what if' scenario.

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KOman

Making the process of sending an audio file faster is a great idea! I just don't see it bridging a communication gap between a phone call and a text message...I would own it, I just wouldn't use it much...PTT would be the better solution as far as filling the communication gap from my perspective.

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slick_cl

This is a great idea!

zenadventurer

Uh....i think what you are describing is a phone call. you see long before maps of fjords and stupid fart aps and morse code apps so you can tell chicks surreptitiously to flash their boobs, phones used to be used to make phone calls. I'm talking way before pokes and prods and prattle. It's true...we used to use phones for voice comminications you can look it up...you know back when phones were actually useful!

I'm not so I can't but I would if I could so if you would please do and I will if I can.

Chris Umiastowski

Synchronous vs asynchronous.  Google it.  You heard me.

jelp2

It's not really describing a phone call, it's describing leaving a message on an answering machine.

BlackberryFan777

Great idea. I'd like to see BlackBerry run this as a service. It can be implemented as you describe, as a button on the screen, but the service transcribes the voice message, appends a warning that the transcription may not be accurate, and then attaches the audio file to the email being replied to and then sends.

I want the transcription because I'm often in meetings and it's too obtrusive to listen to a phone message, but glancing at text on a phone quickly is more acceptable, but I still want the audio file for other situations when I can freely listen. My old firm used to implement this on old, Mike L. era BlackBerry's. The audio file was routed to an actual human transcriptionist in Word Processing and then the email was sent from there. The transcriptionists would deal with dictation all the time and they were fast. Typical turnaround from message sent to receipt was like three minutes. But, with voice recognition -- even though it's not great -- it could be done even faster.

Furell

I think it's a great idea! Very very interesting. BlackBerry really should consider this and any other good idea that could help in with the turn around.

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BlueRocks

Why is Chris replying via the Crackberry for Android app? Not using a BlackBerry anymore ?

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chrisstlaurent

He was whining about his battery life, and switched.

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JasonGallagher

Good stab at an idea but I don't think it would really be used.

I'm picturing if this was implemented I'd have a hub full of blank emails with audio attachments, and I'd have to open up each one not knowing what's it's about, and then maybe respond back with a voice email? Or would you title the voice email before you send it? It seems that same conversation could be done much faster with a quick voice call or IM or PTT if that was avail...

The idea makes sense with voicemail, either with emailed wav files, or converted to text....but to email someone what is essentially a voicemail, without first calling them, seems inefficient. Live call (dialer, bbm voice, Skype, etc) or IM (text, bbm, whatsapp, etc) are both flowing conversations, whether audible or readable, and live. This is a single-use voicemail. Might serve a small purpose in some situations but generally I don't think it would add much value to communication.

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JasonGallagher

Having said that, if it's easy to implement with minimal cost and support, sure add the feature, why not.

If it carried any weight in either cost or support I'd say no and put those dollars into perfecting one of their many other priorities right now!

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Chris Umiastowski

Nope.  People could use hybrid voice and text.  I could send you an email that says, "Explained in voice ..." or I could write a subject line that says, "My thoughts on xyz" with voice attached.   You could reply with text.  It's an added option, nothing is removed.  Since people like talking people would use this.  I'm not guessing. Why do you think voice message services were invented (what seems like) millions of years ago?  

It's never properly been married with an email address.

JasonGallagher

I get that nothing is removed and this is an added voice feature to email. What I don't get is why someone would choose to send a voice email instead of an IM or a voicecall.

If you have to say something quick, or don't want to speak with your recipient, you generally IM/email. If you have more than a bit to say and/or you want to speak with them, you call them.

This is a weird hybrid one-way voice email. In the real world, if I received one and sent one back I'd immediately question why I didn't just call the person.

Again, it's a good idea with voicemail sent as wav files when you intended to have a live voice call, but not as a standalone service I think.

Implement it if it's easy and cheap, focus on other things if it's not, that's my 0.02 :)

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Chris Umiastowski

You should be asking yourself why millions of people use an app like voxer which is not IM or a voice call.

There is an obvious demand for asynchronous voice. Bringing it to email in a user friendly way is a no brainer.

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jelp2

This is an age specific topic. I would say the majority of 40+ would make a phone call since growing up we actually spoke face to face with people. The younger group grew up texting and emailing with much less face to face interaction and would prefer not to speak to anyone in real time. Millions would use the feature and millions won't.

StoicEngineer

Jason, the point of asynchronous communication is that both parties are not connected at the same time. The reason that I call it asymmetric is that it doesn't work the same way in both directions.

The people who work with me CANNOT call me whenever they want. Similarly, I cannot get to speak with the people I need in real time. Still we have to communicate with precision.

The concept the Chris suggests is a way to send a high content message quickly to people with email access regardless of the device that they use to receive it. You don't need to know anything about their system - not the device, not the app, not their preferences.

The meaning of high content is this. I, and most people, can clearly communicate a LOT of meaning in the tone and inflection of our voice. How often have you had an email misunderstood? A method of delivering a meaningful message quickly, surely, and securely (having BBM-like acknowledgement) is a truly valuable thing.

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jic999

Stock locked and Barrel...takeout the Keg !!

" BlackBerry Talk To Me "
And " BlackBerry Video Talk " coming soon !!

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JasonGallagher

Forgive my ignorance, I've never used Voxer and I'm commenting more on what seems to be the recent trend of immediate, real-time communication. This feels like a side-step. If there's millions of people using Voxer I'd be curious to see how they're using it, what their demographic is, etc. Kids? Business professionals? Soccer moms? Cross-continent? Mix of everything?

I've commented that this feature could offer some value in select scenarios, and yours could be one of them. When I think of my day-to-day communications both professionally and personally, I can't think of an instance where I'd prefer to send or receive a voice recording vs a live chat or IM. Both of those options seem to cover my needs, a voice recording is more of a last option, which is how I see voicemail.

That said, I'm sure there would be people that would use this added feature, so if it's easy and cheap to implement they should do it. Never hurts to have more options, just don't spend too much time on it unless they have hard data that the demand is there...there's too many other priorities for them right now.

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Chris Umiastowski

You explained it much better than I did, stoic. Well done.

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Raptor5007

Agree, it would be nice, maybe go one step further and also let you record a video message, limiting it to 10 seconds or so..

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sdpickett71

Intriguing...I'd be interested.

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hawkessales

Interesting idea. I think that it will come down to the personality of the communicator.

Personally, I could use a feature like this. Being a sales rep, I travel by auto pretty much everyday and struggle replying to 100+ emails per day. Voice to text via bluetooth is a pain in the ass and stopping the car to send a professional email is inefficient. Chris' idea could bridge the gap to a certain degree.

It won't be for everyone, but nothing is.......it will come down to personal style and situation.

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Chris Umiastowski

Very smart reply. It isn't for everyone. But I predict it would become very addictive for high content is mmunication that doesn't require both parties to connect in real time.

Your example is great. I'd use it mostly to reply to customers. Faster and more personal, and higher quality replies. I'd also use it to send stuff to friends when I had one than a few sentences to compose.

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

musclevnl780

BBM is instant messaging, I love it, I love typing away with Q10

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Michael Bornstein

Just out of curiosity I went to the BlackBerry store did a quick search and downloaded a program called voice emailer. You launch the program hit record record your message then hit an email button. It then attaches your voice message to an email. Not as elegant as Chriss proposal but it does the same thing. I have seen these programs in both the android and iPhone stores so the idea is not new or novel. These programs never have been huge hits which makes me question the usefulness of the idea.

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JasonGallagher

Eggggzactly. I find the process of listening to a voicemail tedious. Useful maybe in select situations, but generally people seem to prefer live IM or live voicecalls. Voice messages? Seems like a novelty item from the 90s...

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Chris Umiastowski

It is tedious today. That's the point. Make it beautiful and easy to use.

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JasonGallagher

Tedious in that I don't know what I'm listening to before I hear it, I have to jot down notes from what I've heard, and then typically I cut it off before its over and call the person right back. Entirely inefficient for me. A last resort when I can't reach someone via phone.

But as some have mentioned it serves a purpose in certain situations, and for those users, sure why not add the feature. I just doubt it's addition will be anything more than a blip on the communication feature radar.

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Kiswathi

I'd definitely use it. I do a lot of collaborative work and can imagine it serving like a sort of metaphorical sketch pad for sharing bits of ideas and thought processes with colleagues who are often in different time zones and/or temporarily unreachable. The bonus is that we'd benefit from the added speed and nuance of verbal communication without having to synchronize our schedules for two way or conference calls.
Written messages often take me ages to compose so it would save me a hell of a lot of time.

Emaderton3

Is this different than what Android provides? When my wife starts a new email on her Galaxy and selects attachment, she can select "record audio" and have it right there to send.

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Knightcrawler

Chris, you guys at crackberry are in the best position to push such ideas on to people who can actually make them a reality.

Tell Kevin to set up a meeting with JC and just give him a 10 min rundown of stuff like this which has obvious uses and greatly impacts the efficiency of communication.

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Sethi_N

Idea explained greatly!

lboogie_1971_

I don't know if it's innovative but I enjoyed this feature back when I was on Sprint and they had the Motorola phones.

I say post your idea to the BlackBerry Innovation Community board and see what comes of it.

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boeingrules

Sounds good in theory, but not sure if it will be the thing to save BlackBerry. Even now it's still a little awkward to be talking to your phone without it by your ear (a la Siri)

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gcopter

Agree with Chris's idea. Is not about substituting text for voice. Is an enhancement. His example of sitting at a light and reading e-mails, but being unable to fire back a texted reply, is key. I for one think has merit and BB should consider it.

punbb

Why can't you just record a sound note in evernote and send that?

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Omnitech

Chris, I think that's a very good idea.

And I also think there are tons of other good ideas out there waiting to be deployed. BlackBerry needs to do some true innovation and stop just copycatting features that other platforms have.

Now for some perspective - I would surmise there have been at least a couple of things that have kept Blackberry from deploying a lot of multimedia features in BBM up until now. (ie direct upload of images in chat, something that WhatsApp can do.)

One is that if you allow that, it opens up all sorts of opportunities for people to be offensive to others, in the form of ie presenting grotesque or graphically sexual imagery to people who have no interest in seeing such things. BBM would not fare well if it became known as a network where as soon as someone accepts a chat request from a stranger, they get accosted with graphic sexual images or something.

Secondly, bandwidth concerns. The amount of network bandwidth that even a small image consumes on the network could easily be equivalent to the entire size of a 30 or 60 minute text chat between 2 people. If you're not careful, that could quickly balloon into a capacity disaster or even bring down the network if you introduce such a feature without either massive network capacity upgrades or some kind of strict throttling/bandwidth management. That applies to a limited degree to "voice memos" too.

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