There is no question that the BlackBerry has sat on top of the hill when it comes to PDA devices in the corporate world for some time now and for the last 10 months or so, RIM, has tried to gain a toe hold in the consumer market starting with the release of the BlackBerry Pearl late last summer. I believe, however, that the clock is ticking on Research in Motion’s consumer hopes.
The iPhone is coming and Apple isn’t pulling any punches…
The Apple iPhone, quite arguably, may be the most hyped consumer electronics device ever and unfortunately for everyone else, it is living up to the hype. After watching all of the iPhone reviews over the last day or so, the only real knock on the device is the network that it runs on.
The iPhone, like the iPod before it, will be an industry changer. In 18 months, iPhone like features will be expected on all devices in the same class and consumers will compare everything that catches their eye to the iPhone. This 18 month or so time frame is, in my opinion, the window of opportunity for Research in Motion to do something in the consumer market with the BlackBerry because, quite honestly, RIM hasn’t really done anything in this market yet.
Sure, the BlackBerry Pearl has done fairly well and the book is still open on the BlackBerry Curve, however, these devices are available to less than half of the country where RIM sells twice as many devices as all other places combined.
RIM has 18 months at most to do something in the consumer market and they had better start with offering consumer devices on CDMA networks and they can follow that up with completely overhauling the BlackBerrys web browsing experience.
I think I will come back to that last point in another post…
Don’t buy into all the hype. I have one compound word for you…
The iphony doesn’t have one simply will not compete with BlackBerry diehards for which messaging is the killer app.
I can’t help but feel there will be some sort of backlash (maybe not HUGE, but certainly evident) simply due to the fact that, although the iPhone’s features are kick-ass, they will almost certainly be hampered by the AT&T network. Without a doubt the UI is by far the best out there, but call quality/reception? It’s will pale in comparison. And yes, the Internet capabilites are sweet. But on EDGE? Not so sweet anymore. Who knows? Maybe the the other features will be enough to compensate for most people. But I do know this: Apple products are great, but AT&T will keep this phone from its full potential. I just don’t see any other way around this.
I think that Apple has left door wide open for a competitor by deciding to go AT&T instead of Verizon. In fact, I think I may write a post about that when I get a chance.
Rob – I don’t think that Verizon could ever REALLY compete in this space. Their data plans for data devices (ie, Blackberries, Treo, All WM devices) are so ridiculously overpriced that it would be impossible for a normal consumer to ever afford them. Sprint, on the other hand – there is a competively priced data plan.
$24.99/month – 10 MB
$44.99/month – Unlimited Data
$15.00/month – Unlimited Data
AT&T + iPhone –
$20 – Unlimited Data and 20 Text (Based on iPhone $59.99 450 mins plan)
Do we see the competitive space Verizon would have to deal with? They would need to seriously step up their game instead of playing the “we’re the 800 lb gorilla” card.
Dont buy into the hype (as said before).
The iPhone will have all the problems that all first generation Apple devices have. And, what features does the iPhone have that a large number of other phones have?
I stick with a reliable network and a really reliable Blackberry
I hear what you are saying, but, Verizon has more people paying those ridiculous prices than does any other network. Verizon recently took back the top spot as it is once again the largest U.S. based carrier.
they had better start with offering consumer devices on CDMA networks
Yup, especially since EVDO blows away EDGE in speed and deployment. Verizon and Sprint are a big chunk of US users and RIM had best pay attention to that, especially in the consumer market.
When you are comparing prices of service, don’t forget that AT&T is not giving a discount that ordinarly comes with signing a 2-year contract. I don’t disagree that Verizon’s programs are overpriced, but to better compare plans between AT&T and Verizon, subtract about $10 per month from a Verizon contract ($250 (the usual 2-year discount on handsets) amorized over the term of the contract). If you sign a new contract with Verizon for a BB8800 and get the cheapest data / phone program, it ends up costing less than the cheapes iPhone plan.
Consumer phones must go touchscreen to match the Apple Phone, but avoid the Achilles heel that is touchscreen typing. The time is ripe for voice recognition even if the first step is letter-by-letter text. I do not buy into the “Blackberrys are good enough”. The time for transcendent improvement is now.