Can RIM be Google’s Shield to Defend Android?

Looking at the threat to Android with patents, I wonder if one possible defensive move for Google might be for them to scoop-up RIM just to get RIM’s patents (and OS software)?   This might give Google the weapons they need to secure a mexican standoff.

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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?

Purple Forge is… award winning!

Purple Forge has done very well since our launch,  we have won international recognition and awards, including:

  • American Association of Political Consultants – Gold Pollie Award for Best Use of Mobile Technology in a Campaign 2010
  • Start Up to Watch – 2010
  • Aristotle Campaign Dream Team – Top Mobile Campaigner 2010
  • CATA Ericsson Award for Outstanding Product Achievement (Content and Application Mobility Industry) 2011
  • Aristotleʼs 2011 Global Campaign Dream Team
  • Six Pollie Awards at the annual American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) awards 2011
  • Digital Alberta Government 2.0 Award 2011

Pretty cool stuff!

Here are some pics of John Craig at some award ceremonies:

Digital Alberta Government 2.0
CATA Ericsson Award for Outstanding Product Achievement (Content and Application Mobility Industry)

Smartphone, Tablet, Mobile Web and App Stats

Blackberry OS Stats:

http://us.blackberry.com/developers/choosingtargetos.jsp

Android OS Stats:

http://developer.android.com/resources/dashboard/platform-versions.html

iOS Stats:

http://www.readwriteweb.com/mobile/2011/01/what-percentage-of-iphone-owners-are-on-ios4.php

App Store Metrics:

http://distimo.com/appstores

http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/games-most-popular-mobile-app-category/

Apple App Store App Metric Details:

http://148apps.biz/app-store-metrics/

Android Market App Metric Details:

http://www.appbrain.com/stats/

Mobile Browser Stats:

http://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=9&qpcustom=iOS%2CAndroid&sample=38

Smartphone Marketshare:

http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/apple-leads-smartphone-race-while-android-attracts-most-recent-customers/

Comscore

Smartphone Vendor Marketshare:

Comscore

Tablet Marketshare:

http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1626414

Smartphone Demographics:

http://www.intomobile.com/2011/02/01/amaerican-asians-hispanics-most-likely-to-own-smartphone/

http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Smartphones.aspx
Related Trends:

http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/consumer/browse-all-about-it-the-evolution-of-the-circular/

http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/in-us-smartphones-now-majority-of-new-cellphone-purchases/

http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/average-u-s-smartphone-data-usage-up-89-as-cost-per-mb-goes-down-46/

http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/NielsenMobileAppsWhitepaper.pdf

http://mobithinking.com/mobile-marketing-tools/latest-mobile-stats

Purple Forge is a Finalist for 2011 OCRI and Exploriem Bootstrap Awards

Purple Forge is a proud finalist for the following 2011 OCRI Awards:

  • Most Promising Startup
  • Next Generation Executive  – John Craig, VP Sales and Marketing

Purple Forge is also a proud finalist for the following Exploriem Bootstrap Awards:

  • Most Innovative Source Bootstrap Capital
  • Fastest Growing Startup (Last Three Years)

Mind Mapping Tools and iPad – A Perfect Fit

I am a big fan of mind mapping tools.   My favorite tool has traditionally been Freemind, a free tool that works across Windows and Mac.   I recently changed over to using XMind and have been exploring mind mapping tools on the iPad.

Mind mapping is one application that seems to be exceptionally well matched to the “touch” environment of the iPad.  Adding nodes, moving around relationships, arranging the mind map graph display … are all much easier to do using “touch” then the mouse.   Two mind mapping applications currently available on the iPad are:

The most promising of the two is iToughts HD.   The features that set it apart from Mindnode include:

  • Dropbox saving/importing for mind map files
  • Ability to collapse child nodes
  • Version recovery
  • Ability to assign icons to nodes

Found another “touch” mind mapping tool?  Let me know!

What Good is OCRI?

I had an interesting discussion last week regarding OCRI with a few local entrepreneurs.   The general issue being “What good is OCRI?” for entrepreneurs in Ottawa.

There was a lot of negativity about the lack of relevance and the fact that OCRI has increasingly become something of a joke around town due to its public fights with politicians (“The City does not own OCRI!”), lack of transparency and general lack of  results.  OCRI has serious issues, there is little debate on that point.

However, it is worth noting that OCRI does/has run some programs that, in the past, I have personally found of value and which are worth highlighting:

  • OCRI Awards – The annual award program is a great help to local companies from a marketing perspective.  It raises awareness of local companies in the region, and for the winners offers ongoing value for marketing as well as during fund-raising and talent recruiting.
  • Market Research – It is not generally well-known, but OCRI can offer free market research reports (covering competition, market sizes, market trends) from major research firms.  These research reports typically cost thousands of dollars per report and are out of reach for most entrepreneurs at the early stages.   The OCRI membership fee alone is worth the value of the marketing reports that OCRI can offer for free.
  • Trade Shows –  In the past OCRI has co-ordinated international trade show participation where they have provided shared booth space at discounted prices for local companies.   For an early stage company this sort of assistance is very valuable as trade show participation is generally costly to plan, execute and fund.   In the case I was personally involved in, we were also able to receive partial re-reimbursement for our travel expenses from another government program OCRI was co-ordinating with.
  • Venture Capital Forum – I have participated in two forums over the years.  I found the preparation for the events and pre-screening coaching provided by OCRI to be constructive and valuable.  While no financing came out of the events, there was value to the networking and experience in presenting.   The resulting improvements to my pitch were helpful in subsequent VC pitches I gave.
  • Entrepreneurship Center – Early on in my entrepreneurial journey, I used the online resources of this program extensively.  The material was well-organized and practical… and saved me a ton of time.
  • Events – In the past, OCRI has co-ordinated some very relevant, inexpensive and useful networking and educational events.   In particular, the Bill Gates events were world-class.
  • Job Board – In the past, I have posted jobs to the OCRI job board.  Having a job board that is regionally oriented and which doesn’t have outrageous fees associated with it can be very useful to an early stage company when recruiting.