Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Blackberry Enters a Blackhole?

Research in Motion (RIM) continues to attempt to fight off Apple and Android and retain its position as the must have for all business folk and the alternative for all consumers. Ask those business folk who have two phones, one for private use and the company Blackberry. However the recent shift in power to these two relatively new comers has forced many to start to choose one over two.

As Blackberies continue to be launched, the latest being the BlackBerry Torch 9800 which has a touch screen and slide-out keyboard, as well as a faster Web browser and launches in the U.S. on Aug. 12. Somehow one is reminded of technologies which were great in their day but fundamentally staered from the wrong place for today’s market. Email is so simple on the iPhone or Android it begs the question why a Blackberry counts? According to research firm Gartner, RIM's market share dropped 14% to 41.4% in the first quarter from a year ago. Importantly, BlackBerry only has a fraction of the apps available to the iPhone or Android devices and in today’s Appworld that can be a big negative. RIM are now opening up the platform and providing easrier to use tools for developers but is it too late?

Now comes the real bad news that the European Union Commission have ditched their Blackberrys in favour of devices from Apple and HTC (Android). Saudi Arabia, who have some 700,000 Blackberry users, has also ordered a ban of the services starting Friday and the United Arab Emirates, India and other countries for greater access to the encrypted information sent by BlackBerry devices. The U.A.E. will prohibit most BlackBerry services starting Oct. 11.

The moves are over concerns on RIM's message encryption security which is considered by some governments and agencies as too tight and prohibit them from being able to spy on its users. RIM says it can't give access to encrypted data and doesn't give any one government special treatment. "Any claims that we provide, or have ever provided, something unique to the government of one country that we have not offered to the governments of all countries, are unfounded," However, US law enforcement officials told Reuters that they can "tap into emails and other conversations" conducted through Blackberrys, just as long as they have the appropriate court order.

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