RIM working on a BlackBerry Media Box similar in concept to Apple TV

BlackBerry Media Box
By Jared DiPane on 14 Jul 2011 04:06 pm EDT
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A few weeks ago the folks at N4BB reported that RIM has been working on a BlackBerry Media Box, which was going to be similar to Apple TV in concept, and rumors about the device have begun surfacing again. The folks at Nerdberry have apparently been given some inside information about the device, and from their understanding the device has received the codename of the BlackBerry Cyclone, and it is apparently due out this fall.

The BlackBerry Cyclone is said to be Netflix ready, WiFi enabled, have HDMI out, and even potentially run a QNX based operating system. While the rumors have been circling for a while, there is still no concrete evidence of the device, but previous questionairres RIM sent out do certainly guide us to believe this could be true. This would be a whole new branch in the RIM ecosystem, something we have yet to see from them before, and would be a great addition to the family.

Source: N4BB

Reader comments

RIM working on a BlackBerry Media Box similar in concept to Apple TV

74 Comments

I really hope that this is just a really bad rumor. RIM couldn't be more off track if they decided to make a product like this now....

Focus back on the smartphones and get that right before you try to venture out into other markets.

Actually, I think that this might be a good decision. Look at MS, Apple and Google, they all are in different markets and in certain markets they are the leaders. They need a plan B and there is nothing wrong with that.

Having RIM diversify now instead of waiting until things go from bad to worse may be a good thing. Also with them doing a dedicated music based device/service, they may discover how to better improve the multimedia situation on the phone.

If you have noticed anything about RIM is that they stay on track with their plans, it may take longer than usual but they seldom switch directions mid-plan until recently with the total refresh of their handsets. They are long term planners. So if you keep that in mind, the only thing they might need to do now is make sure that all of their plans keep on track and on time. But you should never wait until the task is done to start planning for the next project.

Tossing bodies at a project does not mean it is going to get done any faster. Specifically with coding you cant have too many hands in the cookie jar. I read these comments and feel that people really think that the employees that code the software also create the hardware or that they only have one hardware dev team or one software dev team.

the OS7 phones have been done for months and have been going through the certification process ever since. I would guess that they already are well into developing the next generation of phones and are already working on qnx for them, specifically if they are giving a 2012 date for them.

I dont get it. Its trendy right now to say "RIM just needs to focus on phones" when the reality is with mobile technology moving forward at the pace it is, RIM almost has to expand its ecosystem of mobile devices to remain competitive. Branding is a reality and most people will be looking to buy technology thats been taylored to play with each other in ones brand of choice.

hardware advancements in mobile technology is not too far from a plateau. We already see this happening when trying to balance better hardware with battery life of a device. As these areas slow, you need to start looking into other ways to take it to the next level.

Would the iphone have taken off so hard in popularity if the ipod had not come first? I would bet heavily on no. As far as i can remember there was no dominating brand for mp3 players before the ipod which captured the tween to young adult age group like fire. "My ipod can be a phone? sign me up!"

This would actually be a great idea for Playbook users to be able to stream wirelessly to a TV - just like iPad users can do though the Apple TV.

Why is this necessary? They killed production on the 10inch PlayBook but want to start up a whole new product? This will just give everyone else who is hating on RIM more ammunition to hate them because it proves they cannot master one single thing instead playing catch up and in inevvitable comparison here is Apple.

There's no proof that the 10 inch PlayBook has been killed, it may however have been placed on the back burner somewhat while they focus on phones. Why does RIM coming out with a media streamer have to be compared to Apple... Apple did NOT invent media streamers. Instead of saying RIM should be compared to Apple, why don't we say Apple should be compared to Roku or Boxee or any one of the other fifty brands of media streamers.

I personally think a device that easily allows me to send media back and forth from my BlackBerry phone and PlayBook to my television or computer would be great.

I will believe it when I see it. Blackberry had said that they invested to much of their resources into developing the PlayBook. I think they will be working more on new devices and not on a TV add on ! ?

Expanding the ecosystem, I like it. Maybe not a device I'd really care that much for myself (my Blu-Ray does a lot of it), but the more BlackBerry things in people's homes, the better in my opinion.

One word... why? You get a following on one device, maintain it, and THEN you introduce new devices.

I dont need BB to make a TV add on, I need them to get AC3 audio support and bluetooth headphone support for the Playbook, among many other things. I have a XBox that does all of that already!!

ya i hope we get an update to the video player soon... AC3 and mkv with subtitle support.

i was told there would be mkv support in the summer =/

I agree with you. My first reaction to reading this post was, "Wow, considering RIM can't even deliver on its promises for the Playbook, why on Earth would they want to attempt to do something like this"

Sorry RIM, I'm all for thinking outside of the box and I am glad that you're trying to do so, but please demonstrate that you can deliver on your existing products before attempting to do something new.

Interesting if it works like a slingbox that sends data optimized for the low data consumption of BlackBerrys...

Now that would be interesting... Netflix is blocked on the PlayBook, but it wouldn't be for the Cyclone which could send it to your PlayBook or HH. Add in some other unique features that seperate it from a Roku and adds functionality to our BB's then we might have sometihng nice.

Some people will probably say that RIM should just focus on its phones, which are of course of utmost importance, but I honestly believe RIM needs to diversify and grow. I think one of the reasons the iPhone is so popular is because there was already an ecosystem and a fanbase for Apple products. I doubt the iPhone would have taken off so quickly if it was Apples first ever product and had not been preceded by Mac computers, iTunes, the iPods. Same goes for Android, in my opinion. I doubt Android would have spread so quickly had it not had integration with all of Googles apps... search, Maps and Gmail. Windows Phone is in the same position as well. It's these extra services that create a pre-existing userbase which drives the sales of phones with an OS that best enables you to consolidate and easily access these services that you otherwise could only use from your computer.

When it comes to RIM... they didn't start with other non-phone products/services and that means that people who use a BlackBerry simply want to use a BlackBerry. Every time I've even considered buying an Android, it was because I use Gmail and Google Maps frequently and I want the best access to those services from my phone. Unfortunately, RIM is essentially forced to work backwards. They've built(or are going to build) great phones, but now to compete they have to drive consumer demand for those phones by building other services that can only be accessed, or best be accessed, if you own a BlackBerry phone.

So anyway, I encourage RIM to spread its wings into new areas and create the ecosystem needed to drive demand for BlackBerry phones. Within the next year when QNX is polished up... BlackBerry should have QNX powered Netbook/Notebooks on the market. BlackBerry should no longer be just a mobile products company, they need to create anchors such as how Macs / iTunes / Gmail / Google Maps / Windows PCs all anchor the mobile products for iPhone, Android and WP7.

Be smart and good luck RIM!

Exactly! You couldn't be anymore right. People now a days are asking a lot (in my opinion, too much) from their mobile devices. RIM played just a small role in this with taking email portable. Others have then stepped in and taken it further. Now, mobile devices have become PC replacements. I hardly ever sit at my computer anymore.

I agree with you, but think that they needed to get their new phones out no later than Dec. of LAST year. At this point it is going to be hard for them to recapture the business they have lost. I think this is good for them, but not at the cost of shipping solid competitive phones. Currently, I still like my BB, and intend to buy one of the new ones (Touch- lol @ BLA1ZE). I just don't think that most people have the same mind set as me. After all, I've stuck by my Storm2 this whole time.

People say that RIM has to compete with Apple and Google, but just on phones?! Well how do you fight a growing ecosystem like Apple, without venturing into the home entertainment market like they did. If this box can play Netflix in 1080p, allow wireless screen sharing from my Playbook, and maybe even be a DLNA adapter for a TV without, then I'll replace my AppleTV with it and give the AppleTV to the kids to watch Netflix in 720p. This could also be a great tool for people that want to present with the playbook but not be cabled to the projector/TV and move around more. I see the potential and would definitely buy it.

I would prefer it if RIM would fix what they have first before branching out into unknown territory (for them, at least).

I'm very frustrated.

I love the Torch, or the idea of the torch as it were. OS6 drives me crazy though. Now there's no hope for an OS7 on the current Torch and honestly no telling when the next gen phones will be on the street. So for now I must "suffer". Don't get me wrong I love BlackBerry and would never dream of "drinking the kool aid" (apple) or wandering into "the red light district" (android) but sometimes I do get jealous of the ease of use of some of the other phones (what I generally attribute of "dumbing down") and the fact that they at least seem to be moving forward.

We're still waiting on a number of features that were supposed to appear "at launch" or "very shortly after launch" on the PlayBook...

I love BlackBerry but unfortunately RIM needs to shore up what they already have before branching out any further... In my opinion anyway.

After the Epic Failure of a launch that is the Blackberry Playbook, I wouldnt touch another non phone R.I.M product with your money.

In theory this is a good idea. Apples main selling point is the ecosystem. However RIM has released ONE phone in the last YEAR!!! Putting out the PB when they did was a mistake (IMO). THey need to get the phones rolling then the PB then if they want to do something like this then great.

And even the Apple TV is not a huge money maker yet, people are still a little unsure of what it does. That is changing with the Air Play and other things. Personally if iTunes had a subscription service I think Apple TV would explode, but I digress. If Apple is having a hard time selling their TV service what makes you think that BB would have any better luck? Especially being in the position they are in now.

RIM get your phones in order, then the PB, then the TV service. Whats next a BB MP3 player?

Like many have already said, let's get the new phones out so customers have something to buy that's not over a year old .

RIM is a sinking ship and unless serious actions are undertaken, RIM will become irrelevant and will simply dry up and go away.

Having a TV product with no apparent content is not going to turn this company around. And BTW, even Apple could not make this work.

And what exactly did Apple invent? The phone? The tablet? The television? The laptop? Please tell us... Oh wait, I got it... they invented antennagate.

stick to working on qnx phones n the playbook, your not apple nor ever will be. Next that will happen is we'll find out there making a blackberry laptop, get real, do what u do best

Really. This is about the last thing that RIM needs to be thinking about right now as their shares and their customer base drop out from underneath them.

They need to get their heads down and really think about what got them to where they are in the first place and stop attempting to make toys. We need GOOD phones that can compete in the very fast paced smart phone market. IOS devices and Android devices are starting to eat RIMS lunch literally.

Um, this is QNX. QNX is already in entertainment. They're in cars and other places. Do you suppose that they now stop?

RIM is like a rudderless ship right now. Are Mike and Jim (more likely, Mike) throwing darts at a wall full of random ideas at this point. Get OS7 and some up to date devices out before you further water down the brand with more garbage.

I think you (some of you) have forgot that RIM spent its resources acquiring QNX, QNX does alot more than phones...they have done a will probably continue to do alot more than phones. If they can take some of that knowledge and turn it into products that will drive their information and media sharing structure, I say why not. I say great, I am a brand guy like the "i" guys are brand guys. I love my BlackBerry and my PlayBook, I would love to have a media stream in my house powered by the same system. I think the more branching out and intergrating they do the more likely developers will want to be apart and bring more apps to the table. This in turn helps the whole brand experience. I cant wait and i will buy one of these when they come.....if it does what I would need. My roku does what I need, but it could do more.

i believe this a smart move. maybe a better starting point exists but i think people who buy iphones do so because a vast amount of physical add-ons exist, and among those i think a HUGE player is sound docks. i have a bose ipod dock and it is one of my absolute favorite possessions. if rim somehow made a dock i could stick my BB on, charge it, and be so portable and sound great i'd be all over it. for now im stuck with aux cables. just my 2 cents.

good move, i think products like these will help people considering buying a BB. when i look at my brothers house its apple shit everywhere and it all works together. thats why he likes it so much. rim maybe could have picked a new starting point when it comes to BBTV. but who knows it might be badass afterall.

I like the move by RIM. I'm not sold on the tv box thing because I don't know what it is capable of but I think its about frickin time my BB can control things around the house. Iphones and android phones can be used as remote controls, why not my blackberry?

QNX seems poised for total world domination and RIM is at the helm of this company so people should just cut them some slack and allow then to unleash QNX.

I really hope RIM with QNX can prove all naysayers wrong. RIM needs to under promise and over deliver in the months to come. Do it RIM, please!

I would love to see this BUT, we need the promised updates for the Playbook and QNX phones with a nice smooth BB UI before this. Okay devote 5% of R&D to it, but RIM needs to step it up with the phones and the Playbook. I just read on the HP/Palm webOS website that the TouchPad for AT&T 4G is already getting a processor upgrade from 1 GB to 1.5 GB dual core. Come on RIM we hope you can do it.

Just come out with a HD TV set that is DLNA, WIFI enabled running QNX and a sweet UI built from TAT. I don't care if it takes me 50 Years to pay it off!

This is necessary and a relatively easy device to have built. BB has all the pieces but they need to get their marketing straight. Why is this necessary? If you have to ask you're too tech savvy and ok with piecing your connected world together. Look at BBM, balance, bridge, the way the product line is shaping up. These are all, well, incredible ideas and combined show bb vision and complete understanding of there market needs. But who wants a handful of jewls? Until bb understands the importance of selling jewlery instead of gems they will flounder. And sadly with the mindset at at the top, I think BBTV will be another great product poorly executed and disaster to market.

Your last sentence has unfortunately become the established product released pattern at RIM. Seriously are any RIM employees members of Crackberry?

DO ANY DECISION MAKERS AT RIM READ CRACKBERRY?

Is this REALLY what RIM should be focused on right now? I admit it would be great news, but ideally it shouldn't be too high on the priority list. Here's my priority list, whats yours?

#1. QNX on Smartphone released Q1 2012
#2. QNX upgrade will be available on smartphones released Q4 2011
#3. Complete OS upgrade available for Playbook (all the bells & whistles)
#4. RIM working on Media Box concept similar to Apple TV

Making a new device is not that surprising, much like there have been views of an in-dash QNX automotive interface. Unfortunately when even RiM management admit that their retail display efforts could improve (PlayBook) and I see yet another retail product, then I question their strategy. Without a dedicated store, or dedicated store-within-a-store, consumers will not blindly buy it just because it states BlackBerry on the box. These things do not sell themselves; fix your marketing efforts first.

I'm all for RIM exploring other products but only if it doesn't take away from Phones and the Playbook...With Andriod, Apple, Windows and WebOS out there the competition is so tough RIM absolutely cannot slip. RIM needs to keep hitting back hard and never let it's guard down. GO Blackberry!

Once again Proof the Co-Ceo's have no clue......they need to get there phones in order and release what the people want...I wish them luck because competition is good.........

It does sound scary at the beginning, maybe.
But since they had most of the coding done for the PlayBook it might not be such a far-fetched thing.
They execute slower, but usually they put out solid products.
Personally, I belive those new phones are sorely needed, _now_!
However, they have many coders, so diversifying might not be such a bad idea, on the contrary...

Okay, time to start formulating all the ways this could tie into the Playbook. Could it "slingbox" style your TV to your Playbook on the go? Would it allow for some sort of bluetooth to connect your Playbook to the TV? This could be quite an addition, I'm excited!

Can RIM go back to focusing on what is supposed to be their core competency - SMARTPHONES!!!!

RIM needs to get a QNX smartphone out to market pronto!

RIM needs to stop branching out to areas that they are not strong at.

Otherwise, they will release another failing product that demonstrates their incompetence.

Not a bad move at all, give everyone an alternative. If RIM wants to succeed in this endeavour, as bad as it would sound, allow customers to view adult programming which currently apple refutes to add. Sex sells, beta vs vhs? it would work....

I don't see how this can possible compete with Roku or Boxee that are already successful, or even Apple TV which is only mildly successful. Even if they did something cool allowing us PlayBook owners to stream TV content out to our PlayBooks, there are not enough PlayBook owners for that to be a critical mass for success. I'm not against branching out and trying to develop an ecosystem, but it is hard to imaging how this is going to work...we'll see.