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BlackBerry 10 Jam Americas: Shifting the Tides

BB10 Jam Americas: Turning the Tide

Prior to BB10 Jam Americas, I had been feeling more discouraged about the future of BlackBerry. Back 9 months ago, after purchasing a 9900, and after recently having my first big app success on App World, I was extremely bullish about RIM. I wrote an article for BerryReview entitled RIM: Perception VS Reality where I contrasted how the media was constantly slamming RIM as compared with my fantastic experiences with their new 9900 offering. My conclusion was that, for me, the 9900 was an extremely competitive product, and it turned on its head for me the notion that RIM’s latest handsets were dinosaurs compared to the competition.

Going to BB Jam in Orlando was another high point in my bullishness for RIM. The $10K developer commitment was incredible, and depending on the details, it might have meant a real shot at earning another $100K to $200K for a developer like me. The Cascades framework looked incredible, and I was in awe of the 60 fps they were acheiving, paired with the gorgeous and industry leading 1280×768 screen. I was also very impressed by how RIM was able to leverage TAT to infuse BB10’s UI with world class design.

Since the conference, there have been many discouragements and not as many encouragements.

To be honest, some of my key discouragements have been personal, which I should obviously separate from BlackBerry’s future. To start, after spending 150 hours creating and working out kinks on my Flix app, the response has been mixed, but many people have slammed the app as being silly and worthless with its restriction of only working at home, etc. While I disagree, it doesn’t feel great to be panned by users, especially when I was so excited working on it that it would be received well by the community. As an example, my brief chat with Alec Saunders (meeting him for the first time) at BB Jam in Orlando was not exactly inspirational. I think his comment was that he could see how some users might want to do that. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate his honesty, and who knows, perhaps RIM’s internal perception of the app was mixed. Maybe they were even unhappy about it. On the technical side, it has also been frustrating that the PlayBook NDK doesn’t support the WebView control, requiring a separate helper app to adequately select which movie you want to watch. Ugly. It will be many months yet before RIM catches up on the PlayBook to support Cascades, which includes a WebView control.

It was wonderful to be off of work June/July/August with my wife on parental leave following the birth of our second child. I knew life would be busy, but I also figured there would be some good chunks of time to do BB app development. It was pretty disappointing seeing August come to a close and still not being done porting my first super-simple Baby Names app to BB10. (Which took 13 hours to create for PlayBook, and likewise 13 hours for BB phones) I wrote an article about the pain points that there were using the beta SDK tools, but again part of this was personal: I just hadn’t been successful finding the time and energy to overcome these hurdles. Part of this was paying for my earlier success: I was struggling to keep up to support emails, and was frequently burried in 100+ support requests. Keeping up was eating most of the time I would otherwise have for new development.

Some more unfortunate news recently is that the 10K developer commitment is limited to 1 app. That turns the 10K commitment from being a possibly huge economic opportunity for me to basically a non-event, since my top apps will almost certainly earn more than 10K in their first year.

Aside from not finding time, I have also been lacking some passion on the BB10 dev front. Most of this relates to getting stuck on pain points as mentioned above (which, with the awesome help of developer relations I am past), but part of this too is being uninspired by the PlayBook OS they slapped on the Dev Alpha. Having almost 0 first party apps on the device makes sense from the perspective of “you build it”, but it has a strangely demotivating affect turning on a device with no first party apps to inspire, and no inspiring UI to play with.

Besides these personal dev downers, it has been harder than I thought watching RIM struggle with its quarterly results. What is strange about this is that I knew it was going to happen, and wasn’t really phased by it, but to actually see it happen, and seeing the stock so much lower than I ever could have imagined is a tough pill to swallow. It has also been rattling to see personal friends leave RIM, and hear of others that have been let go. Again, we knew this was coming, and so I’m not sure why the reality of it is harder to take than I thought.

Finally, I have increasingly felt that while I am a big fan and supporter of BlackBerry, I don’t want to be ignorant to the dominant North American platforms, so I’ve decided to also own an iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S III. I want to understand how those platforms execute various use cases, what their experience is like, and what their top apps are like. Having owned an SIII for a month or two now, it is more apparent to me some of the shiny aspects of these impressive phones, and it’s not difficult to see how they are appealing so much to North American users. Following on the heels of that, these past two weeks I have started to read smartphone reviews on CNET and other sites that don’t even list BB as one of the choices. In one Internet comment I read, someone quoted BB’s North American market share as being down to 1 percent. Is that true?

As you can see, going into BB Jam Americas, I’ve been discouraged. Not without hope, far from it, but definitely discouraged!

I was extremely surprised to hear that RIM was upgrading the Dev Alpha OS to include the core BB10 UI, including the keyboard. Having downloaded it, it is a huge breath of fresh air. It is a complete reversal for me, from being uninspired with the modified PB UI, to being very inspired by the BB10 UI. When I had lemented about the Dev Alpha being so empty to other devs in the past, we both agreed that RIM probably wouldn’t do this since they want to make a big splash with BB10’s release. But they have, and I’m so glad they did. It has been fantastic exploring the OS, such as the settings screen, and seeing how RIM has used Cascades to create their core UIs. It has also generated some solidly good press for RIM, which I think they badly need given the long wait for BB10. For example, it is awesome to read The Verge reporting that BB10 looks to be a solid OS, and even the comments to the article are encouraging and much less negative than usual.

Having the full API set now is also a breath of fresh air. Working with a beta SDK was more painful than I thought, so seeing the tools and API mature is very welcome and energizing.

All in all, the Dev Alpha is at a place now where it is much more emotionally aluring to develop for than it was in August, which is precisely what RIM needed to accomplish with BB Jam Americas. Well done!

Another solid encouragement this week were RIM’s quarterly earnings. Again, I was expecting them to be really, really bad. But I was wrong. Most encouraging is that RIM’s cash pile isn’t vaporizing, but is actually higher. And this means that RIM only needs to “hang on” for one more quaterly release before they can shift gears to BB10. At this point, I’m very confident they can do that.

My remaining insecurity is whether BB10 will have apps like Netflix and Skype at launch, or closely following launch. That was the part of BB Jam Americas that I found underwhelming: They started into that part of the presentation saying they have all sorts of huge names behind BB10, and then unveil a list that doesn’t contain any of the huge names people are anxious about. (on the apps front to be specific — they seem to be doing great on the games front) The hope I’m clinging to is that they clarified this list is only those partners that were willing to be listed, and that they’re working with many other “huge” companies. I will choose to be optimistic. But it will be a huge sigh of relief if and when they are able to announce that they will in fact have many of the massive apps that everyone and their dog expects. With everything else looking so solid, perhaps it’s even the last piece to the puzzle.

43 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Hey Daniel, after having used both iOS and Android, and finally getting your hands on the Beta BB10 OS, can you compare the user experience between the OSes? What is your overall impression.

  2. Hey Todd,

    My iPhone 5 will arrive on Monday, so I’m limited to commenting on Android.

    My overall impression is that Android is indeed very strong out of the box, especially if you are a user of many of Google’s services like I am. The use case that I have enjoyed most on the SIII is taking nice photos and sharing them to Facebook. It has enlightened me to how important the camera use case is to many smartphone buyers in 2012. Aside from a great camera, having a beautiful 4.3″ display makes it immediately obvious whether it’s a great photo, so the two really work together. And finally, having a great sharing UI completes the package. As a comparison, I have never felt compelled to take photos with my 9900.

    See also:

    The other major learning is that I do in fact prefer a full-screen phone, even though I love the 9900’s keyboard. See also:

    • I think RIM should take a hint from Jelly Bean and use a grid instead of a list when sharing. A list is OK when you only have a couple of end points, but its a bit of a pain when you have dozens.

  3. A week ago i was convinced that I would be switching to a new wp8 this Fall. Now im determined to wait it out. For me, rim desperately needed to show me some reason to wait. Perhaps I’ll pick up a cheap 9320 or used 9900 just to get me on bb7 and through a few more months. (using a 3yr old 9700 on bb6).

  4. Todd, one more comment on Android as compared to BB10/PlayBook:

    When you touch the Internet icon on Android, the browser opens immediately and starts loading the page in < 1 second.

    On the PlayBook, and on BB10, there is a noticeable lag.

    But let's talk about numbers.

    Galaxy SIII: Touch the Internet icon (default page, go back to the home screen, and then touch the Internet icon again. Loading the second time from the home screen takes approx 1.3 seconds.

    PlayBook: Do the same thing. Loading the second time takes about 5.5 seconds.

    That is an astonishing difference. My guess is that Android is caching the browser in memory so that it doesn't need to wastefully reload and reinitialize the browser like the PlayBook does. But that's not my point: Whatever the reason, the user experience on Android of wanting to jump into the browser is vastly better than on the PlayBook.

    Likewise, email. Touch the Email icon on the SIII, and 1 second later you're staring at your list of messages.

    On the PlayBook, I just tried and *7 seconds*.

    I'm not sure why more people don't talk about these problems, and when I think back to my usage of the PlayBook, I will admit that I am often left scratching my head while it loads these two core apps at such a snails pace as compared to the competition.

    I've noticed the same slow browser loading on the Dev Alpha, and I'm tempted to reach out to RIM and voice my concern. I'm sure they're aware of it, and hopefully it's in their game plan to vastly improve this, but if they don't it will be a huge loss. If you're going to market your phone as a productivity product, you need to talk the talk on issues like this.

    • Daniel are you comparing Apples to Apples?

      Are the device downloading the same content?
      For example is I turn off Java, images and images
      Loads under a second on my PlayBook.

      • If I turn off JavaScript and images, it seems to load in just under 5 seconds as opposed to about 5.5 seconds with JavaScript and images.

        Note that I have as my default when the browser loads, and my test involves touching the “Browser” icon from the PlayBook home screen. Also important to note that the browser is *not* already running when I do the test.

  5. At least they have Twitter this time 😀 and it’s built with Cascades, but I’m not so sure apps like Skype or Google Maps will be available at launch and I’m sure the “media” will pick it up…
    I’m glad the days of the AIR based OS are numbered though. That extra layer was just slowing everything down. It’s OK for a car, not for an app ecosystem.

    I did find developing for the PlayBook to have been depressing due to the total lack of development of the platform for the past year, since RIM was working on BB10, but I too am looking forward to what’s coming.
    This beta 3 feels a lot like PlayBook OS 1.0. A nice start, but a bit unstable and slow. Now they have 3 months to finish BB10, polish it and optimize it.

    • Yes, Google Maps… that’s a big one. My understanding is that RIM is partnering with TomTom and building their own map application, and if Apple’s lack of success in this area is any indication, it’s hard to believe that RIM is going to be wildly successful there.

      And it’s a critical use case — I want my smartphone to have world class map functionality.

      Since Google Maps is available on BB7 devices, it seems quite plausible that Google will develop their maps app for BB10, but who knows. That definitely makes me anxious.

      • Google has not supported the PlayBook at all, either via its API (slow, but haven’t tested on 2.1), via the web (broken) or by providing an app.
        The current BB version does the job, but is ancient (screenshots use a blackberry with a trackball!)… so I’m not sure Google is interested in the platform tbh.

        TomTom is great at navigation, but they don’t do maps that will help you get around in a large city, by foot or public transport.
        and the web version of Google maps just doesn’t work on BB10…

        So the mobile warriors will probably be happy, but Apple Maps’ disaster has taught us that consumers today have some expectations when it comes to maps.

  6. I spend too much time staring at a spinning green circle on my pb. Im going to wait for bb10 phones, largely because of the qwerty feature. But i have no intention of keeping my pb. Hopefully the MS Surface will be better.

  7. One last thing I forgot to mention about Android:

    There is a very powerful feature whereby you can hold down the home key and get a vertical scrolling list of places you recently were in the OS / apps, and each item has a thumbnail of the what your screen looked like.

    This is an incredibly useful feature that I quickly came to love. And it’s very on-topic when RIM talks about trying to break free from the “in and out” world of iPhone… I don’t want to have to navigate the hierarchy back to the home screen, back in to the app I was in, back to the screen of the app I was in. No, I want to navigate directly back by pressing a button or performing a gesture, and selecting where I was.

    Hopefully this feature or something analogous could be delivered for BB10.

    • I use a HTC Amaze as my daily driver (HTC’s flagship phone on T-mobile before the One series became available; it was released last October).

      I actually find the multi-tasking button (pressing home button) on android to be quite clunky and not intuitive. Having used the PlayBook for so long, I always have to remind myself that I need to press the button to go to the multi-tasking screen. The thumbnails are also too small to be of any use (versus the multi-tasking screen on the Dev Alpha and on the PlayBook). Frankly, the Android multi-tasking button is basically the same as the multi-tasking on current BBOS phones that happens when you press the blackberry button(except that thumbnails are replaced by icons).

      The other issue is that the S3 has 2gb RAM and so it’s able to keep a lot more apps in memory. On the other hand, in 1gb RAM Android devices (or other Android devices with less RAM), Android force close previous applications but keep the application in the multi-tasking screen. So, when I click it, it restarts the application rather than going back to the same place. For instance, I would be looking at some thing on the Play Store, I go to browser to do some stuff, and then when i go back to Play Store, instead of being in the same place, I would be punted back to the first page of the app.

      My understanding is that BB10 multi-tasking goes way beyond just a multi-tasking page showing running apps. One of the examples shown during the keynote was the Cascades sample app where the picture can be viewed with the picture viewer on top of the app that is currently running. The gallery app is “invoked” when the user is clicking it and it slides on top of the Cascades app. You can then share the photo or zoom into the photo and then go back to the Cascades app using the peek gesture.

      • greatwiseone,

        That’s a fascinating write up. Thanks for all of those details.

        I think the key insight is that I misinterpreted the multi-tasking button in Android as a kind of “history”, and that because of the way Android doesn’t (?) actually close apps when you use the back button to return to the home screen, along with the massive 2 GB of RAM provided by the SIII, the multi-tasking button ends up working like a powerful history feature on the SIII.

        Perhaps this also answers my other critique about how long it takes to launch the browser from scratch on PlayBook VS the SIII. As I suspected, Android likely still has the browser running, so all it’s doing is task switching. (?)

        That said, this perhaps highlights an interesting design choice they’ve made with Android: Don’t actually close stuff when the user returns to the home screen, and don’t keep the list of running apps in the face of the user all the time. Rather, have the OS try to intelligently and automatically close things as needed. I’m tempted to say that Android’s model, if you have 2 GB of RAM, works extremely well from a usability perspective.

        Something that I’ve been aware of wrt wishing the PlayBook email and browser apps would launch faster is that I shouldn’t be closing them. Instead, I should just keep them running at all times. But there’s something about my personality that doesn’t like the carousel being dirty with a bunch of apps. When I’m done with something, I want to “clean up” the carousel.

        For example, in Windows 7, one’s screen stays pretty “tidy” so long as your running apps are minimized. But PlayBook isn’t as successful as feeling “tidy” when things are left running.

        I wonder if anyone else out there can relate to these usability thoughts…

        • The quick browser launch on Android also depends on the spec of your phone/device (if you go to settings and apps, you can see what kind of apps are running in the background).

          RIM needs to do a better job at ramping up app launch speeds compared to the other platform, and from what I’ve seen from the contacts app, they are definitely doing a better job. On the PlayBook, it takes a while for the contacts app to load up, whereas the contacts app loads up VERY quick on the Dev Alpha.

          WRT Android closing stuff for you, personally, it’s really annoying. One of the reasons why I like the PlayBook is that I’m in control over what apps are running (obviously if you have 10 things running other stuff will get removed). On Android, I can’t tell or control what gets closed or not. It’s the reason why I didn’t get an Android phone until it reached ICS because you can actually swipe apps to remove them from memory (on older phones you have to use a task killer). This gives me a little bit more control over what is actually running.

          I haven’t even mentioned the UX inconsistency problems in Android that RIM is trying to deal with by giving people UI guidelines and pre-fab’ed elements in Cascades and BBUI.js. Check out this article…it’s fascinating that these things haven’t been fixed after 4 years.

  8. I’m not sure why you are complaining about your apps so much. Look at the bright side. If RIM had the Netflix app then you wouldn’t be talking about this. You are only doing this on the side and I assumed you have a full time “paying” job. You ever thought about devs who only do BB dev on full time basis?

    • Hi Joe,

      “Complaining” is a bit of a judgemental word here.

      I’m having a bit of a hard time interpreting your post. You seem to be saying:

      1. That I’m complaining about lack of success / profit.
      2. I should feel lucky that RIM doesn’t have a Netflix app, otherwise I wouldn’t have an opportunity at all to make a Netflix app at all.
      3. I shouldn’t be whining about lack of success / profit because I have a full time job, whereas some BB developers do not.

      If that is at all accurate, then we’re not on the same page.

      First of all, it isn’t at all my intention to complain about lack of overall success/profit. On the contrary, I have felt blown away by how blessed I’ve been with my efforts. For about 350 hours of work, I’ve made about 140K on App World sales. No complaints there.

      Rather, my discouragement about Flix was that I was hoping that it would be received well and valued by the community as an important contribution to the platform, filling in part of a big gap, since Netflix is about the most requested app. But based on much of the feedback I get, I wonder whether I succeeded. Perhaps not. If not, then I am disappointed to not have delivered something more helpful to people.

      Secondly, the point about if RIM made their own Netflix app: That is precisely what I want. Even though I’d lose out on revenue, what I ultimately think would be best for the BB community is for Netflix/RIM to make a full fledged Netflix app.

      And your final point about me at least having a day job: Again, my post wasn’t in any way intended to whine about lack of success / profit, so I apologize if it came across that way.

      • Hey Daniel

        Don’t be discouraged by the mixed reviews for your Netflix app – I think consumers just want the real deal and hopefully RIMM comes out with Netflix and Skype apps to make the consumers happy and so there will be nothing to complain about. I enjoyed reading uour article – you are very candid with your views; you should share them with RIMM. You should do a future review comparing the SIII, Iphone and Dev Alpha and point out the strenghts and weaknesses. The mark of a productive phone will have high marks in the following categories:

        1. How long it takes the device to power up?

        2. Ease of navigating the OS.

        3. How easy it is to get to the apps you want.

        4. Ease of typing.

        5. Camera efficency.

        6 Ability to transfer files.

        7. The device build quality.

        8. How quick the device loads apps.

        • Thanks for your encouragement dpr. I think you hit on an important point. If someone is looking for X and you give them X-Y, then many people will be frustrated they still don’t have X. Human nature I suppose.

          Thanks for encouraging me to share with RIM. I wonder who I should communicate those comparison thoughts with. Maybe as you suggest the best way is simply to write an article for BerryReview comparing them. That seems like something people would want to read, and RIM folks seem to read the blogs these days, so it would likely also get it seen by them.

          The only thing in your list that I don’t resonate with as much is “how long it takes the device to power up?”, which is interesting given that it’s the first thing you list.

          I almost never boot up my BB7 device, for instance, so I naturally view that use case as low priority. I definitely agree that watching a device boot up fast is highly rewarding. For example, now that I have an SSD in my computer, Windows 7 boots in 15 seconds to the login prompt. Every time that happens I get this “WOW” feeling. It’s great. But then it’s paired with this realization that I only boot it up once every couple of weeks, and it’s usually due to a power outage. So how much value does saving 20 seconds on boot really have?

          All that said, maybe other people boot their devices a whole lot more often than I do. I’m trying to think of why… perhaps people that carry multiple batteries with them, etc?

  9. I think I feel what Joe is saying. While I was reading the article entirely (which I never normally do on ANY site), I just kept getting this shitty/weird feeling. It feels like you’re… Not giving up on, but that you’re done-ish with the BlackBerry platform. But you never specifically said that, I’m just gathering that from both the article and your comments. I’m not trying to be a prick or anything either – I was planning on commenting on how weird the article made me feel anyway. I’m a little confused, and your response to Joe was kinda… menstruate-y and unexpected, when he was only looking at it from a different perspective.

  10. joski,

    If you got the impression that I’m done-ish with the BlackBerry platform, then perhaps I did a poor job articulating myself. My intention was to articulate that BB Jam Americas was a kind of emotional inflection point for me, something that rekindled excitement and desire to get busy building apps for BB10.

    If my reply to Joe came across as being overly defensive and weird I apologize. I don’t want people to interpret my article as worthless whining/complaining, although perhaps my reaction to Joe came across too strong.

    Possibly related is that I had surgery yesterday to repair a deviated septum and I’m all doped up on Tylenol 3s, so my Emo factor is probably higher than usual. Kind of ironic that you’re calling my writing “menstruate-y” and here I am bleeding like crazy from my nose. While we’re on the topic, calling a guy’s writing “menstruate-y” doesn’t come across as particularly kind.

  11. I appreciate the developer perspective but honestly I think Apps are an over rated Apple Phenomenon on a phone (Not a tablet).

    Honestly netflix on a phone, get serious. When are people ever without a computer/tablet? I could even care less about skype for that matter. I use skype a lot, always from home or in a hotel. I am never going to be without a computer when I would want use skype.

    I think RIM’s focus is where it needs to be. Build the best communication device on the planet, that is what a phone is, a communication device first.

    Communication also includes the picture taking and uploading to social networks since you aren’t going to take pictures with a computer or even most tablets.
    It also needs to do music since that is a mobile thing. Also reader for subway/public transit users.

    However if RIM builds a noticeably better email/phone/social network device than Apple or Android it will do well.

    Anyway you get my point. Worrying about getting netflix is just dumb. Focus on apps that are truly for the mobile communication experience.

    I hope developers and RIM focus on mobile apps the most.

    • You make excellent points kiddo, and I actually agree with your assessment for the most part. Several months ago, I had that same lightbulb moment: I was considering the whole Netflix on PlayBook issue, and my realization was that, wait a minute, if I’m at home, I’m going to watch Netflix on the big screen with my Xbox. Why would I want to watch it on my PlayBook? And if I’m out and about, I’d only watch a movie in the car, but it’s not like I’m going to burn through my 1 GB Rogers plan watching a movie.

      About the only use cases I could think of are if you’re at an airport or hotel, or if you have an unlimited data plan, and those are small enough use cases that I agreed: What’s all the fuss about not having Netflix on the PB?

      In the end I think it’s largely a symbolic thing: If a platform doesn’t have Netflix, it is very symbolic to people that it is an unloved platform. And aside from symbolism, part of what attracts people to gadgets is novelty factor: Oh, I’ve never watched Netflix on tablet before, that sounds different. It might not be something a person does very often, but there is entertainment factor in trying it out.

      While there are some decent at-home use cases for watching Netflix on a tablet that I’ve discovered, your point really is about Netflix on phones, and I agree… if you have a tablet at home, then again, why wouldn’t you watch Netflix on the tablet over the phone.

      So it comes down to people with unlimited data plans travelling in cars and public transit, etc. Probably not a huge use case, true.

      At the end of the day though, there is something to be said for giving users what they want, even if what they want seems a little bit illogical. If potential BB10 customers are going to be really turned off that the platform doesn’t support Netflix, then there’s something to be said for RIM trying to support that. And, as Alec Saunders has said, if Netflix were to say “yes”, they’d have an army of engineers fly down to their offices by Monday morning.

      I do also agree that making a great core communication tool is the ultimate priority, much more important than having Netflix,and more important than having Skype.

    • Don’t forget that most phones have an HDMI port, which means that you can watch HD content on a monitor. The phone is just the player.
      You could also watch something short, while waiting somewhere which has a wifi connection. There are a few use cases.

      • Good point about BB10 + HDMI. Your comment of “just the player” also reminds me of the demos they’ve done with the PlayBook + CITRIX, where the PlayBook plugs into the monitor and bluetooth keyboard, and acts like a PC.

      • I know but again this is just stupidity. The only purpose for such a connection might be to make a presentation.

        I magine the person that says I’m going to watch a movie by hooking my phone to the TV. Does that person not have a laptop, not have an xbox, not have a smart TV?? The set of people that fall into that catergory is very small.

        My point really is not that you can find no use for netflix it is focusing on net flix is lazy, focus on compelling apps that are designed with mobility in mind.

        • I agree, that this use case only affects a small number of people and you’re right, there are so many other apps which needs to be released before Netflix:
          – Firefox
          – Tor browser
          – Soundcloud
          – Skype
          – Podcasts app
          – RSS reader
          – Sky sports 😉
          – Youtube
          – GMaps
          – OpenVPN

          but BB10 is coming to the PlayBook as well and there, Lovefilm and netflix would be more than welcome, so would a kindle app, etc.

          • I agree if RIM is serious about tablets they need all those “sit on your fat A$$” type apps, but I think if the phones don’t sell they can forget about the tablet market.

            I still say focus all efforts on mobility. Podcasts is a good one from this perspective.

            They need a good maps app but google maps not really, as we’ve seen with the playbook someone will make one anyway and I guess Bing Maps will likely be on BB10.

            I want to see things like peak and hub simple but very useful.

            Developers should be thinkking what is the app that is better on a mobile phone than on any other device.

            Instagram is an example, even WWFr.

  12. Note that using a BB10 phone + HDMI could save you $60 a year. The other day I was shaking my first at Microsoft that I have to pay $60 a year for Xbox Live Gold, just so that I can watch Netflix on my TV. (I don’t play Xbox games these days)

    I was actually thinking a good enhancement to my Flix app would be to allow it to act as a remote for another PlayBook or BB10 phone running Flix. That way, if you have both a PlayBook and a phone, and you wanted to watch Netflix on the big screen, you could plug your phone into the big screen, and then go sit on your couch browsing Netflix content on your PlayBook via the WebView control, select your show/movie, and it would tell the BB10 phone to play the content.

    Walla, you’ve saved yourself $60 a year if you’re a user like me.

    Granted, not as convenient to have to plug your phone in every time you want to watch Netflix content, and then have to go find your PlayBook.

    • I use a second laptop and get all streaming services. I use Amazon Prime mostly.

      • For the last several months I’ve had this sense that RIM should aggressively peruse a content relationship with Amazon rather than trying to build their own music/video catalogue with some little player than has a small selection.

        Am I crazy?

        • Agreed. RIMM really needs to expand their book, video, music catelogs in order tom compete.

          • I have yet to find a book that is one Amazon that is not on kobo. In fact i ended up buying a kobo e-ink reader to complement my playbook.

            It isn’t the slection on Kobo I have a problem wwith it’s the fact that the app seems to lack basic features like a dictionary and also highlighting.

            I don’t really get why RIM doesn’t update the Kobo app on Playbook.

        • Agreed. BBM Music has a way too small music catalogue, it just can’t compete and I feel it’s going to be the same for videos and books.
          The problem is that RIM needs to offer a comprehensive catalogue if it wants to have a chance in the consumer space, but it is just not big enough to waste time and money on building its own content network.

          They’re not alone in this situation, even Google is way behind and they know it. Would Amazon really want to help RIM out?

          • +1

            In reply to “Would Amazon really want to help RIM out”: From my perspective, Amazon’s primary motivation for selling cheap Kindles and Kindle Fires is so that they can sell content, which is their core business, and how they make money. So for them to become a chief supplier of content to BB10 would be first and foremost helping Amazon. And, it would help RIM. It’s a win-win.

            As a business, it might be a tough pill to swallow for RIM, who I’m sure would love to earn money on selling media content to their customers, but I think priority #1 should be establishing the platform, and having RIM sell a tiny pool of media content is not going to help them establish the platform nearly as well as if they were to partner with Amazon on content, IMO.

            • You may be right about Amazon. I had forgotten that they tried to flood Ubuntu’s launcher with their content. Good thing they had to back down there, but they could be looking at doing the same on other platforms.

  13. Daniel ;
    Loved your article, got where you’re coming from. BB JAM Americas was truly exciting and uplifting.
    iPhone is the smartphone for dumb people. I agree with you that android has compelling features, but you may as well go out on the street and hand your wallet to the first person you see .
    Comparing the dev alpha to the others is unfair, BUT writing an article about what you see on the others and would like to see and see better on BlackBerry X would be awesome.
    Netflix is the app equivalent of a status symbol. There is a reason their stock has fallen so far. They should be grateful that BlackBerry even lets them on.
    Again, love your article. Be watching for your apps.

    • I don’t think comparing the Dev Apha is unfair at all. People who visit this Site know the Dev Alpha is not the final model and is still a work in progress. But, the best way to know how you stand is to compare with the competition.

      • I think that’s a good point too dpr, so long as the readership has the right context / understanding of the comparisons.

        And I think it depends too on the type of comparison you’re making. For example, it’s probably not fair or useful to compare device boot times right now.

        On the other hand, it’s probably ok to talk about certain UI concerns. One such concern I have is the address bar of the browser in BB10, especially in landscape mode, which takes up gobs of screen real estate and seems to be inconsistent with BB10’s mantra of “content is king”. That’s another example of where I like what Android is doing: The address bar is hidden by default and can been seen by scrolling beyond the top of the web page. (come to think of it, is that how BB7’s browser works?)

    • Thanks for your kind words G-man. And good point about needing to be very careful comparing the Dev Alpha to the SIII and iPhone 5. Agreed.

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