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RIM Not Certain if Video Will be “Killer App” on Smartphones

SlingPlayer Mobile 9700RIM’s video support has always been kind of flakey. Since OS 4.5 they have finally started to support YouTube and other 3GPP streaming sites but the quality has been atrocious. Nothing near the H264 high quality video you get on other smartphones.

RIM’s Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis answered some of the reasons why RIM has been lagging so far behind on video streaming to their iconic smartphones. He said it is “far from certain that video will become the killer app that defines smartphones.” He thinks that video is causing a huge surge in traffic that networks cannot handle unless the develop a more efficient delivery system. He is worried that networks have barely been able to handle the 3G browsing experience and that streaming video might push networks over the edge.

Lazaridis rightfully points out that BlackBerrys use about 1/3 of the bandwidth of other smartphones so carriers can support 3 times as many BlackBerrys with the same amount of bandwidth. Still I do not think that RIM will have the luxury of being able to sit on the sidelines with mobile video. They will need to come up with a solution for mobile video VERY soon or sit on the sidelines while all of their competitors forge ahead with current solutions.

What do you think? Is mobile video streaming important to you?

11 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I think the Chalk acquisition will provide a method suitable to RIM for online video

  2. Nope. But i’s impostant enough for RIM to start working fast on it. I can understand they are worried about overloading servers due to video streaming abuse but either they support it or we’ll see more and more complaints about “how outdated” the BlackBerry platform is (compared to other OSes).

    • Completely agree. I don’t personally need it but it gives people another thing to check off that RIM doesn’t do that the other smartphones do. If RIM intends to be a serious player in the consumer market it needs to catch up or it will get left further behind.

  3. I currently run a 9700 and use it sometimes to watch BBC iPlayer and that only works over wifi. Having the option to do that is nice.

    Be it a killer app or not, alot of users would like to have the ability to watch videos on their phones.
    If other handsets provide a better experience for this, then users would generally want the better performing handset.

  4. Another weak excuse from rim for having an OS which is now falling extremely fast to the kerb.
    Bring us an os with NEW features!

  5. A poor excuse for not keeping up with the pace of other smartphones. Why should RIM care about the gouging service providers. Here in canada we pay an arm,a leg, both kidneys and our livers to pay what they charge. Screw the networks that can’t keep up. They should care a little less about mass profits and start building better networks that can handle me watching all the chocolate rain I want to watch

  6. I don’t think it’s that important in terms of usefulness, short of youtube (which doesn’t really require a “solution” on RIM’s part).

    But people will bitch. And if there’s one thing that’s true, it’s that people buy stuff based on what other people say they should want, not what they will actually use often… Half the people probably want it just so that they can say to the iphone/android users that they can do it also…

    I bet less than 10% of the people who highly want it would use it often or rely on it.

    • Truth; it’s not a necessity, but for some reason it is a big griping point for me if I do (in the very rare occasion) want to load up a video, but just don’t have the capability to do so.

  7. And this kind of BS from RIM is the reason I am switching from AT&T and my BB to the HTC Incredible. They have different priorities then everyone else. The BB just cannot keep up when the people who run the company are not in touch with the majority. I don’t really care for Android but I think it will go further than Rim will.

  8. Reading this makes me want to ditch RIM. Video is VERY important to me. I want to watch TV on my device, I also want to watch high quality h264 video. And I want a fully compliant HTML5 browser. The HTC Incredible from Verizon is looking VERY tempting!

  9. While video streaming isn’t a dealbreaker for me, I do watch Sprint TV and YouTube enough that I would be bothered if I didn’t have the option. Lazaridis’ whole argument is contradictory. He claims that the BlackBerry platform uses 1/3 of the bandwidth that other smartphones use (which I believe), but then says he is concerned with the networks being able to handle the traffic from video streaming. Has anyone heard Apple, Microsoft, Google, or Palm say that they will not support a feature because of *potential* network congestion? This just seems like a BS excuse to me, unless they are getting heat from the carriers to dumb down their phones (which I seriously doubt). Offering phones that support high-bandwidth features will force the carriers to get off their butts and make the move to 4G (Sprint already has this available in more than 20 cities, and the real-world throughput is 2-3 times what you see with 3G). I think the world is ready for a 4G BlackBerry 😉

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