RIM, RIM, RIM

We were interviewed for some articles on RIM over the last few weeks about our experiences and opinions:

We develop and deploy apps for all platforms and our experiences can be summarized as:

Blackberry is highly problematic to develop and deploy apps for, particularly when compared to Apple or Android.  Blackberry developer support is best characterized as “indifferent”.   (It is worth noting that this fact is widely recognized, apparently even among some RIM executives!)

Customers always ask for Apple first, (increasingly Apple Tablet second), Android and rarely Blackberry.

End-user consumption of Blackberry apps is generally low – in cases when we have shipped the same apps to all three platforms, we have seen Apple to Blackberry download ratios of 20:1 or higher.

With the introduction of the new Blackberry OS and uncertainty around platforms and the future of RIM, I don’t expect that customer demand for Blackberry app development is going to change anytime soon.   A good indicator is demand for developers on sites such as Freelancer which report weak Blackberry job figures.

What is the future for RIM?

In the near-term?   Layoffs, increased uncertainty, more bad market news, shareholder revolt, more layoffs, and leadership change.   One only has to look at the various mobile handset adoption, device usage, app store stats and market trends to see the writing on the wall… RIM sales are about to go into free-fall.

In the future?  RIM seems to be overly focused on handset “super phone” technology… personally I don’t believe that is where the future is for RIM (or any mobile vendor who wants to be the leader).  Smartphone technology is rapidly becoming commoditized, much like feature phones.   I believe the future will be in the software and the cloud services associated with the software that will allow any phone to be a “super phone”.  I really do believe that with the right software and strategy, the Playbook could be their game changer… but the team in place is too close to the past to see the future.

What do you think is the best bet for RIM’s recovery?

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