#Z10 “dummy” in my hands.
So I walked into a #Telus store to ask some questions.
Here are my thoughts:
1. Inquiries about Z10 happening. A very good sign but some awareness issues still apparent.
2. Dummy phone size is perfect and love design. Weight though may not be true weight but if it is, damn light!
3. The incumbent base plan with data is too rich for me. 5GB cap on data. No cigar. Since I am with #WIND they are already offering unlimited data and I signed their pre-registration.
4. A retail “source” suggests that upstarts will undercut incumbents by $100 on price of device if you buy all-in without subsidy. So $550 vs. $650 all-in. 5.
5. Display coverage very good even if #Apple still owns large size of eye candy but I actually saw the #BB10 better placed than #Samsung on display side of things.
Focus on Z10, not Q10
Out of the gate, the Z10 as a content device has a good base and early conversion and chatter will mitigate fears from the “followers”. I still can’t get why people are transfixed (especially those that should know better) on the #Q10 and keyboard April delivery. Get over it. That market is for the keyboard generation. The consumer and socially connected generation could give arats ass about the Q10. This is about the consumer and the focus is correctly configured for this device.
I really love the device and its overall feel. I will show up at the #Telus store tomorrow when the real deal comes out. Of course, an unboxing with early thoughts will follow. I have very good feelings about this new product.
…it is my duty to communicate this because the media and every armchair critic has done their fair share of hot air and now it is time for the BB army to say otherwise.
Team #RIM #BLACKBERRY begins their reboot with an extremely powerful platform. #BB10Believe.
Note: Have spies in the field BBM’ing me screenshots. ;-)
Last night, I installed the BBM Voice beta product from RIM via Beta Zone. Before I get into this short review, I’d like to bring up some history.
I’ve been a Skype user/customer for a very long time — so long, I was trying to use their mobile apps before “mobile apps” was even a mass market term. As well, I am carbon-dated through internet-time with VoIP technology. Indeed. I fooled around with VoIP technology in the early 1990s (boy, do I remember testing VoIP then lol - wow, we’ve come so far!) and then in 1995, Vocaltec, an Israeli-based company, released “Internet Phone” which would become the first VoIP application some of us tested wildly. :-)
How About Some Data Points:
These numbers were captured from public sources including Jim Courtney, resident Skype expert-friend-colleague from VoiceOnTheWeb.biz. Jim is such an expert about Skype, he’s dialed-in to the company and his own Kindle book out on Skype — more on this in the near term.
Jim Courtney I I will be doing a follow-up BBM Voice/Skype video to discuss the potential of BBM Voice and the latest on Skype - in CNN-speak, “we will break it down for you” with facts, not fiction.
Just look at those numbers! Once fully released to all 6/7 BB devices (and new BB10s), 60 million users (and growing) will instantly have VoIP capability that is easy and seamless.
Amazing that a “sleeping giant” was badly ignored by the Skype albatross which is currently being chopped, minced, and weaved into Windows. Even at 100 million for Windows Live Messenger, that was a paltry number for Microsoft given their massive installed PC install base.
BBM Voice Beta ‘Demo’ Results:
Amazing! Both Jim and I (remember, Jim is the Skype guru) were both in shock and awe at the sound quality. This sounded better than the network cell quality of incumbent networks (BTW: My Curve 9360 is on the WIND network and call quality is fantastic for an upstart)!
I even connected onto a weaker wireless network connection to get a real sense of the experience. Result? What a world of difference to the numerousSkype calls I have on my Macbook Air! Hands down, BBM Voice sounded so good, I was certain Jim was next to me…okay, he wasn’t but you get my point. Most people might think I was making a landline call. That’s how crystal it was.
If this is the shape of things to come fro RIM with new offerings, and BB10, the future is going to JAM! I stand my ground when I say that RIM has great IP, a solid BBM framework, and a future platform that is going to turn eyes and force the NYTimes writer to eat her words and carry a new Blackberry for years to come.
To Skype: I tried to give you another chance on my Blackberry. I went to skype.com/m and even tried SMS (you don’t have Wind Canada listed) and sadly, still no Skype app for my BB 7 device. That’s okay — as you disappear into Windows, I’ll be a happy BBM Voice user when this goes golden release.
- BBM 7 Lets BlackBerry Users Talk for Free (wired.com)
- RIM adds VoIP digivoice calls to BBM youngster-messaging ware (go.theregister.com)
#BBM Voice Beta Out - Test Time
I merged my Blackberry ID the other day with Blackberry’s Beta Zone. Want to join? Visit www.blackberry.com/beta One thing you should do is make sure you are setup with RIM’s very cool Blackberry Protect product. Totally love it. Secure and easy to use.
When you enter the Beta Zone, simply download the BBM 7.0 beta product which will contain the Voice function. Once installed, I noticed a silhouette phone icon in the top right next to BBM’ers I normally chat with. This only works on WiFi but this is going to be a real test and if it works, you can kiss Skype goodbye. I have owned a Blackberry for eons and one thing that always bothered me about Skype was their lack of BB support. In the early days, while working for a startup focused mobile platforms and apps (I am talking about 2003 here!), Skype was on Windows Mobile handhelds (“Palm” devices) and that always bothered me. It is likely that Blackberry will strike a home run here because of solid BBM penetration. It is also like that Skype will pay with userbase in some long-tail fashion - I doubt Skype would even support BB10 now that is owned by Microsoft - I can’t see any dramatic rush to support BB10 or the Playbook.
To be honest, Skype has become bloatware anyhow. Hope to see BBM Voice fully launched and extended with “other” features as this is a killer move by RIM with tons of opportunity for interoperability.
A few weeks in, I am convinced that RIM, the Playbook and developers for RIM products have been badly misaligned with unfair reporting by tech media (besides Techvibes - great job guys!) that is screwed tight for advertising clicks, SEO, and other social juice metrics to meet their bottom-line rather than fair and balanced reporting.
For starters, the Playbook is made for gamers. Whereas the devices have lagged until BB10 launches, there’s clearly an appetite for games on the lovely Playbook. Speed of play, graphics, and motion is at par and even better than what I have experienced with my iPad (Gen 1) device.
A demonstration of my Playbook (with the latest O/S) to few folks in my inner circle have apparently changed perceptions…almost instantly. Almost to the point where some are are asking whether they only need a Playbook vs. anything else on the market.
Even more shocking is the user feedback specific to the Playbook experience compared to Android tablets and devices which they already own. Many claimed the U/X to be far superior on the Playbook when comparing Android iterations.
No where is the opportunity greater for RIM than with Android in order to gain new users, customers and ecosystem growth.
Further, anchor brands like EA Games and tier-2 developers are doing a fantastic job with price promotion and support to keep customers happy. A more than peripheral review of user feedback within the AppWorld ecosystem confirms that customers are extremely loyal to developers and remain extremely supportive of the Playbook AND RIM.
I have personally gone out of my way to buy games (and non-gaming apps) that I already own on the iPad (Gen 1) for the Playbook and the experience is comparable and in some cases BETTER compared to iOS devices. Sure, there hardware differences that play into this but my point is that the Playbook is a powerful product packed into a small footprint with game play that is fast and sharp with strong U/X controls.
Anyone in a media position that has reported something wildly different about the Playbook is either a liar or is simply blind (let’s focus on the former ;-)) and we may know the reasons for that. :-)
Sean Paul Taylor, leader of RIM’s gaming team, said it perfectly in a recent Financial Post interview about the upcoming BB10 platform:
Right out of the gate you can see the hardware is very competitive, it’s right up there with what the iPhone 5 is releasing. The games we run here are literally the same source code as what they run off there and we’re seeing very similar results. We do a lot of open source work. We make sure the 98% of the source code is actually common, and there’s a platform that handles your accelerometer, your video, and we make sure that we do good benchmarks on it.
Does this sound like a company that is ready to give up? Mark my words, RIM is going to rebound with BB10 and people I know within the telecom world are rooting for a RIM rebirth. RIM has been the most loyal in terms of vendor-telecom partnerships and I can expect support from them when the new devices hit the market.
I am absolutely delighted with the Playbook.
Everything about it feels strong — solid design, fast and efficient O/S, intuitive U/X (a few times, I caught myself using Playbook gestures on my iPad that just seemed to make more sense compared to the Home Button control)…that says a lot. ;-)
Sources tell me that BB10 is a one sexy pup waiting to find a home in 2013. I smell good news to my loyal RIM and Blackberry clans. Today, my BB curve works seamlessly with the Playbook for Internet tethering and in 2013, my BB10 device will fall pleasantly into welcoming hands. :-) By this time, HP’s Web O/S reboot will be a lost cause and we’ll continue to learn about the growing Android fragmentation that plagues the developer ecosystem. For many, Android has become the new Windows.
I continue to chuckle with media reports that question RIM’s survival, IF BB10 will launch (yes), and IF developers will support it (yes). To the latter point, it only takes a Google search to confirm the obvious. :-) In addition, chatter within my network of mobile professionals simply validates strong support for Playbook and the BB10 platform go forward.
My guess is that future articles from the tech media may fall on DEAF EARS and some….
I don’t understand Bezos and Amazon at times.
A few days back, I emailed Bezos and asked why Playbook did not have a native app. While the executive offices responded the next day with a rather “hopeful” response, they recommended I use the Cloud reader option through http://read.amazon.com. OK, on a few occasions, I’ve used it on the iPad but really, with a native app, there isn’t a reason to use it until I am ready to make a purchase.
Apple’s revenue share model forced Amazon to move purchases outside of the AppStore ecosystem to avoid the 30% take. However, let’s not jump so fast as Amazon does the same thing in their own AppStore so it’s quid pro quo in the argument camp.
Anyhow, I tried cloud reader on the Playbook the other day and while functional, there are some serious rendering challenges when I shift from landscape to portrait. Can’t pinpoint if this is an Amazon issue or a Playbook browser issue.
Here’s the kicker.
When I downloaded and pinned a book to the Playbook from my library, we’re led to believe the content is stored locally for offline viewing in the absence of a connection. Fair enough. This works fine on my iPad. However, on the Playbook…guess what? Ta da! The content is missing and I have to re-download it again.
If I am a Playbook-only Amazon customer, I’d be relatively disappointed at the sub-standard experience available via the Cloud reader option. This problem doesn’t crop up on iPad so maybe there is an issue Amazon hasn’t encountered.
Further, the Playbook numbers, while not anywhere near the “magical” numbers Apple presents (84 million sold, in circulation, since September 21, 2012), aren’t bad either.
As of March 2012, RIM has announced that it has sold one million PlayBooks since its launch. On June 28, 2012, RIM announced that it had shipped an additional 260,000 PlayBooks and announced on the corresponding earnings call that sell-through to customers was higher than this number. On September 27, 2012, RIM announced it had shipped an additional 130,000 BlackBerry PlayBooks. As of September 1, 2012, Research In Motion has shipped 1.74 million BlackBerry PlayBook units.
Even if we break things out around definitions of what was shipped and sold, since March 2012, there were 1 million Playbooks in the hands of consumers. Is Amazon telling me they can’t build a native app for this beautiful device at these numbers even as they support Windows 8 for RT/Tablets at launch? C’mon.
What did Microsoft and Ballmer do? Cough up some koolaid to get native app support? Or was it money? Even though the hardware side of Microsoft’s tablet equation has received good feedback, the O/S hasn’t. Sure, things evolve but either way, there’s no excuse for Amazon here.
While Windows 8 RT tablets “sold out” on pre-order, we don’t know the actual inventory number. Books are a key content bucket for portable devices. I just feel if Amazon is going to play along with the Amazon Anywhere philosophy, they have to play the game fair and square.
Sure, it’s their dollar and strategy but I don’t think it would hurt to go native with Playbook.
While my enthusiasm for Amazon is high and I shared those views with the executive office, I’m told my comments would be forwarded to the product team. We shall see.
Do the right thing Amazon.
Your Cloud Reader for Playbook delivers a sub-standard experience which leaves me with no options except to pursue full “de-DRM” and “copy to” device solution. I don’t want to do this because it is “work” and well, I could do it if I wanted. However, I’ve expressed my loyalty in dollar-terms so hopefully, this means something and the Playbook user base gets their wish.
- Amazon launches Kindle for Windows 8, leaving Nook in the dust (venturebeat.com)
One of the many reasons I wanted the Playbook was for digital books. After RIM diluted the Android opportunity due to legitimate reasons surrounding malware risk in that ecosystem, I was surprised that Amazon had still not developed a native Kindle app for Playbook.
The last speculative claim about a Kindle app on Playbook shows up in Google search results as far back as January 2012. C’mon Jeff. That isn’t cool.
No offense to the folks at Kobo but I committed myself to the Amazon ecosystem due to early investments on the iPhone and iPad. Now with the Playbook in my arsenal of devices, I don’t want to start a new ecosystem to access the same books. That said, if price starts to play into this, I am willing to play off different ecosystems but for now, Amazon is my main repository for books. In fact, I’ve been an Amazon customer for so long (like 1999), it’s pretty hard to break free of the Bezos distortion field.
So I decided to write Jeff Bezos yesterday and emailed him to three of the known email addresses. Like before, I received a response from his executive offices the next day. Not bad and very Apple-like. I’ll thank Steve Jobs for setting the precedent.
Thorsten, watch out. :-)
My email to Jeff was pretty straightforward. I discussed my “investment” into their ecosystem, my use of Kindle apps on the iPhone and iPad including Cloud Reader and even described my unfortunate experience and huge disappointment with Kindle Keyboard.
Amazon’s reply didn’t focus on the Kindle Keyboard experience but it did appear to carry some positive news. I can’t say for sure if this is an affirmative affirmative from Tranquility Base Bezos but if Amazon is smart, they’d get the Kindle App ready for Playbook.
Kindle for BlackBerry Playbook is not yet available, but stay tuned. You can view our Kindle apps currently available and discover when we’ve released Kindle for BlackBerry Playbook by following the link below:
I was instructed to try the Cloud Reader which I didn’t do at the time of the email or as of this writing.
With all the mobile/device launches this week (Google, Windows, Apple, Yahoo!), this really is a race of devices, ecosystems and services. It reminds me of the old triple-play telecom-bundling models that I was party to (when I worked at Bell) and even now as telecom providers struggle to fight against the onslaught of wholesaler entrants that simply compete on price.
In this new world of digital content, platforms and devices, de-bundling has become far more costly than a simple “bill discount” since digital content investments have already been made. And people hate paying up for the “same thing” to make a switch.
Do the right thing Jeff. Get the Kindle Playbook app out to the base. I am sure this will win you some more “likes” in the social media landscape. ;-)
- Amazon Going Up Against Apple In The Education Market (techcitement.com)
- VIDEO: Jeff Bezos calls iPad Mini a Kindle Fire rip-off, sort of (mobile-ent.biz)
- New BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 Update Now Available: 3 Reasons to Download (blogs.blackberry.com)
- RIM Rolls PlayBook 2.1 Update, Improves BlackBerry Bridge, Data Security, And Android App Support (techcrunch.com)
So I take it VentureBeat has a very picky bone for music, EH? Never realized the tech site had “America’s Got Talent” judgment in it. Ah well, can’t keep people happy. Judging by the comments to their article, it is even-steven between the “really angry for absolutely no reason” folks and the “I liked it” crowd. Hint: Next time you want to draw attention to your site and article, use catchy words in your headline like “awful music” - bound to do two things (1) high conversion clicks (2) spawn an entire set of reactions. Be controversial - it’s good for Google Juice!
C-l-a-s-s-i-c-s to get some RAP and FUNK in ya! I think RIM’s crew had fun doing the video above so to the rest of you, LIGHTEN UP! It’s called LIFE.