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Posts Tagged ‘Blackberry’

Blackberry Storm vs Apple iPhone

Posted by Gary on October 8, 2008

Blackberry Storm details are coming out fast and furious.  From early reviews, it seems to meet and beat most expectations.  It may certainly be the best corporate device ever built though I’m sure some will argue otherwise.  The keyboard, our big question in previous posts, is getting good reviews and RIM seems to have done a good job of using the capacitive aspects for actions and a hard button interface for selection.  Of course it has the strengths of RIM’s industry leading mail/contact/calendar applications with BES synch.  It appears to be somewhat weaker than the iPhone on the consumer applications side – video presentation, browser, and music.  Especially when it comes to the slickness, design, and hardware graphics acceleration of the consumer application interfaces.  The application store / deck / market has had little discussion so far though it appears from the rumours that carrier’s will control the application they allow in the market.  Payment/account registration etc. details are still unknown.

For us, we are very impressed and can’t wait to get out hands on it.  We don’t know if it will displace our affection for the iPhone – it seems to be missing the lifestyle aspects but it’s our ideal corporate phone. 

Competition is good.  Finally, we can kill the abuse of the term: ‘iPhone killer’.  We now have two very good and different phones to choose from – it’s no longer a one horse market.

Technologizer created a good early comparison table that we’ve copied for you below:

 

The phones
BlackBerry Storm 9530
Apple iPhone 3G
Platform
BlackBerry (Java based)
Apple’s proprietary OS X
Availability
Soon
Now, although supply is occasionally spotty
U.S. carrier
Verizon
AT&T
Price
TBD
$199 for 8GB model or $299 for 16GB model with two-year contract
Data plan
TBD
$30 a month for unlimited data; $5 a month extra for 200 text messages
Locked?
Presumably, to Verizon
Yup, to AT&T
Colors
Just black, as far as I know
Black (8GB and 16GB); white (16GB only)
Size and weight
4.4” by 24” by 0.55”; 5.46 oz.
4.3″ by 2.4″by 0.33″; 4.05 oz.
Screen size and resolution
3.25″; 480 by 360
3.5″; 480 by 320
Input
Multi-touch haptic-feedback touchscreen with QWERTY and SureType keyboards
Multi-touch touchscreen with on-screen keyboard
Buttons
Volume; lock; left and right Convenience; mute/play; send, menu, end, and escape
Home; volume; vibrate
Accelerometer
Yes
Yes
Headphone jack
Standard 3.5mm
Standard 3.5mm
Bluetooth
Stereo
Monaural
Voice dialing
Not sure
No
Voice recording
Not that I know of
No
MMS
Yes
No
Camera
3.2 megapixels; flash; digital zoom; video capable
2 megapixels; no flash; no digital zoom; no video
Voice
Quad-band GSM and CDMA
Quad-band GSM
Data
Both HSPA and EVDO
HSDPA
Use as tethered modem?
It has the ability technically, at least; not sure if Verizon will permit
Violates AT&T’s terms of service; tethering plan is rumored
Data plan
TBD
$30 a month for unlimited data; $5 a month extra for 200 text messages
Wi-Fi and GPS
Nope on Wi-Fi; yep on GPS
Got ‘em both
Battery
5.5 hours talk time; 360 hours standby; removable
5 hours talk time; 300 hours standby; not removable
Web browser
BlackBerry Browser
WebKit-based Safari
Web searching
Presumably in some form, but I don’t know the details
Yes, via Google or Yahoo
E-Mail
IMAP, POP, BlackBerry Enterprise Server
MobileMe, GMail, Yahoo Mail, AOL; other services supported through IMAP
Calendar
Yes, with to-do list
Yes, but no to-do list
Microsoft Exchange support
Yes–hey, it even supports Notes and GroupWise
Yes
Instant messaging
AIM, Windows Live, Yahoo, ICQ
Only through third-party apps
Office Apps
Documents to Go Office-compatible suite, with editing
Microsoft Office-compatible viewers, but no editing
Maps
Yes (BlackBerry Maps)
Yes
Turn-by-turn navigation
Not standard that I know of; apparently available through third-party apps
No, but may be coming from third party developer(s)
Music
Supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, WMA ProPlus formats
iPod player and iTunes Store; supports MP3, AAC (with or without Fairplay), WAV, Apple Lossless, AIFF, VBR formats
Video
Yes; supports H.264, MPEG4, and WMV formats
iPod player, YouTube; movies through iTunes Store; supports H.264 and MPEG4 formats
Photos
Yes
Yes
Wireless synching
Yes, through BlackBerry Internet Server and BlackBerry Enterprise Server
Yes, through MobileMe
Desktop synching
Yes, through BlackBerry Media Sync
Yes, through iTunes
Application store
RIM is supposedly readying an application store; apps available from third-party stores
Yes, the iTunes App Store

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Blackberry Storm to Launch Exclusively on Telus in Canada

Posted by Gary on October 8, 2008

Blackberry Storm

Blackberry Storm

Telus has their Blackberry Storm teaser page up.  It’s identified as an ‘exclusive’ and thus implies that we will not be seeing the Storm on Rogers or Bell at launch.  Quite the sweep by Telus given the expected corporate and consumer interest in the device.  However we expect that the use of the term ‘exclusive’ may apply to the EVDO/HSPA model versus the pure HSPA model (‘exclusive’ on Rogers).

Here’s the page: http://promo.telusmobility.com/storm/

Here’s the Vodafone page with more graphics and a specification sheet: http://blackberry.vodafone.co.uk/storm/

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Another Blackberry Storm / Thunder Video

Posted by Gary on October 7, 2008

An official Vodafone Blackberry Storm / Thunder video.  Slick presentation of the functionality.  Looks good though we’d like to see the UI in a bit more detail.  Soon enough…

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Blackberry Thunder / Storm on Video!

Posted by Gary on September 11, 2008

The first video of the upcoming Blackberry Thunder (Storm on Verizon)!

Captured by Brew Ninja – infamous for early access to upcoming phones.

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Blackberry Thunder / Storm Release Date and Other Rumours

Posted by Gary on September 9, 2008

Verizon Blackberry Storm Box from Engadget

Verizon Blackberry Storm Box from Engadget

The Blogsphere is brimming with speculation on the upcoming Blackberry Thunder. 

 

A quick recent rumour mill summary:

  • It will be called the Blackberry Storm 9530 on Verizon
  • It will be called the Blackberry Thunder on Rogers and Vodafone
  • It will be exclusive to Rogers in Canada
  • Telus will also carry it in Canada. (Yes, conflicting rumours)
  • It is ready for prime time and expected out on Verizon in October
  • The user interface and OS is still buggy and it will be delayed into November
  • It will include Wi-Fi
  • It will not include Wi-Fi
  • The touch keyboard: haptic feedback, full Qwerty in landscape, and Suretype in portrait
  • 8 GB microSD included.  Raising hopes of strong multimedia capabilities

Of the rumours to date on the Storm/Thunder, a few things stand out for us. 

1. World phone.  CDMA/EVDO and UMTS/HSPA in one piece of hardware spells bulk.  Good for CDMA players and their business customers but a handicap when compared to pure UMTS/HSPA devices.

2. No Wi-Fi.  If this is true, then it will be a significant liability relative to other new smartphones such as the iPhone.  The majority of the average user’s time is spent in home and work environments that can support much faster speeds via Wi-Fi.  Wi-Fi for speed and EVDO/HSPA for coverage appears to be a reasonable approach taken by other smartphone vendors.

3. Battery life.  Heavy users, especially business users, need their device to work all the time.  Time is money etc.  It will take more battery than a traditional Blackberry to power the big screen.  More battery implies more bulk.

4. Keyboard, keyboard, keyboard.  Blackberry’s are highly regarded, rightfully so, for having fantastic keyboards.  They keyboard will make or break this Blackberry.  No doubt, great Exchange integration, rock solid reliability, and enterprise grade security have all contributed to the RIM’s success and should be expected on the Storm / Thunder but without a novel writing worthy keyboard, this Blackberry only will fall into line with the other ‘average’ business smartphones.

We are longtime Blackberry fans and are hopeful and excited about the launch of this device.  If the keyboard is close to as good as a traditional Blackberry hard keyboard, then we will forgive the bulk.  Though maybe not the lack of Wi-Fi.

UPDATEThe Blackberry Thunder on Video

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Blackberry Bold Released

Posted by Gary on August 6, 2008

The much anticipated Blackberry Bold has been released in Chile with Movistar.  It appears that it will miss the expected August 6th date with Rogers but it should be available soon in Canada.

 

I suspect that these interative delays for the Bold in Canada are based on carrier testing iterations with RIM.  It’s common for carriers to exhaustively test devices before releasing them for sale.  Every carrier has a slightly different network configuration and different issues may be found by different carriers.  The handset manufacturers iterate resolution of these issues with the carriers until the handset is deemed to be green lighted for release.  At this late stage, the issues are usually very minor but at the same time, carriers want to avoid expensive customer service calls and will push to resolve as many issues as possible before releasing a device.

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Update – Rogers Blackberry Bold Release Date

Posted by Gary on July 28, 2008

Quick update to our previous story (Rogers Blackberry Bold Canadian Release Date) about the Canadian release date for the Blackberry Bold. 

We’ve learned from another Rogers contact that they expect promotional material for the Blackberry Bold this week – the week of July 28th – and plan to have the Bold on sale next week.  Fits well with our previous story indicating a release date of August 6th.

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Rogers Blackberry Bold Canadian Release Date

Posted by Gary on July 22, 2008

We just received an update on the Rogers release date for the Blackberry Bold in Canada.  As we discussed in our earlier post on the Bold, Apple Iphone Vs. Blackberry Bold, the Bold is expected to be a strong competitor in the smartphone space, especially for customers with a need for heavy email and BES integration. 

For all of you waiting for the Bold, our moles inside Rogers have told us that it will launch in Canada on August 6th.  I’m sure we will see marketing and promotion in advance of the 6th. 

For you Blackberry fans, rest your thumbs…

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Blackberry Thunder – RIM Takes A Risk

Posted by Gary on July 20, 2008

Yes this is a bit premature.  The Thunder is not out yet and at best we have rumours on design and specs and photoshopped images.  However I thought I’d touch on it given that, with all the buzz around competitive responses to the iPhone from the major mobile handset manufacturers, this is the one that I believe has the most potential. 

No doubt the Samsung Instinct, the HTC Touch Diamond, the Sony Ericsson Xperia, and the Nokia Tube will have their strengths and given carrier marketing dollars, will take some market share.  Some, especially Nokia with it’s huge Forum Nokia developer community, will have the backing of developers, and most of them will have superior hardware specs to the iPhone – better cameras, video, etc.  However I don’t expect that any will capture the mass market consumer’s aspirational interest the way the iPhone has captured it.  They will not have the Apple brand image, the incredibly simple and elegant UI, and most of all, the fully integrated and well developed App Store.  Download portals – yes probably – but a simple, easy to use, fully capable application download function with discovery, one touch download and install, and a simple integrated payment mechanism – probably not.  And that is why they will remain also rans.  Many will promote how packed they are with superior hardware functions but the Internet scale innovation that a fully integrated App Store brings will be missing and with it, the weekly and monthly buzz about the latest and greatest must have application.  “Have you heard about Shazam?  It’s a super cool new app that…”

Current expectations have the Thunder arriving in September but given that the Blackberry Bold will probably land around then, expect RIM to clear some PR time for the Bold before beginning the Thunder PR press.  So Thunder in time for the Christmas season or early 1Q2009?   Mobile sales have taken up the retail sales cycle pattern over the last 3-5 years and the Christmas season now represents a significantly disproportionate amount of a carrier’s annual sales.  Given this, expect that RIM’s and it’s partners Verizon and Vodaphone will be pushing hard for a pre-Christmas release.  No word on a Canadian partner or date yet.

So why is the Thunder so interesting.  It will probably have a weak download portal like the other competitors and RIM has typically received poor reviews for its difficult developer tools.  The Thunder is interesting because RIM, similar to Apple, understands its market very well and knows how to laser focus product into its market.  They usually do not try to pack in the best set of hardware features and a kitchen sink into their high end products but instead understand the basic needs of the corporate market and fulfill those needs better than anyone.  Heavy email, high security, Exchange integration.  No one beats RIM in the corporation.  With the Thunder, RIM is taking a risk going keyboard-less but I expect that it is a well thought out risk and we may be very pleasantly surprised by the innovation in their touchscreen keyboard.  Current rumours list a soft keyboard with tactile feedback, full QWERTY and SureType entry, and multi-touch capability.  Add a Webkit browser and it gets interesting.  A RIM device, with BES integration, an innovative touch keyboard, and the most focused corporate needs execution, could hold back or slow down the iPhone’s push into the corporate world.  Or conversely, if RIM can’t hold it’s corporate turf against Apple, then Apple will own everything – the consumer market and the enterprise market.

 UPDATE: The Blackberry Thunder / Storm on video!

(I know there is a large camp that pines for a white knight in Android but I’m not drinking the kool-aid.  Android introduces more noise in an already noisy mobile OS ecosystem.  If anything, LiMo may be a stronger open source player than Android.  More on Mobile OS’s in another post.)

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Apple iPhone vs Blackberry Bold

Posted by Gary on July 17, 2008

Side by Side

Side by Side

The early reviews are in on the Blackberry Bold and comparisons with the iPhone are inevitable.  In summary, the comparisons highlight that these are two distinctly different phones with different strengths.  Perhaps the real RIM vs. Apple showdown will come when the Blackberry Thunder comes out later in the year with a large screen and soft touch keyboard.

 Boy Genius has one of the better high level reviews and it summarizes into:

1. If you are a hardcore Blackberry email junky and have a preference for a hard keyboard, then go Bold.  It’s a bit larger than recent Blackberry’s but has great styling, great keyboard, an improved browser and the best Blackberry screen to date.

2. If you are not hooked to Blackberry’s and are a moderate email user then go iPhone.  It’s the best general purpose mobile device.  Great OS, great design, the best browser, good email, and a growing list of easily accessible and innovative applications. 

The Bold looks great though I prefer the smaller size factor of the Curve.  Big anticipation here at Cell Canada for the Blackberry Thunder.  It will be RIM’s first foray away from the hard keyboard tha thas defined their products and success for so long.  If it just keeps up with the iPhone and doesn’t come with an App store, then RIM’s chances of defending against Apple longer term are suspect.

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