The Use of Carrier SMS Texting Is In Decline

I generally don’t read USAToday, except while traveling, but a pair of articles on texting caught my attention.

The first, “Sore thumbs? Text messaging declines” (link) talks about the decline of SMS messaging by consumers.  People aren’t texting less, they are sending more messages then ever.  According to the article, Americans sent an estimated 2.2 trillion messages in 2012.  What is in decline is how many of those 2.2 trillion messages are sent and delivered by Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and other wireless carriers.

It place of SMS messaging is the rise in popularity of Internet-based short message service (SMS) applications such as Apple’s iMessage, Snap Chat, BlackBerry Messenger, and all the rest.  Unlike the SMS service you sign up for when you buy a new cell phone, these new texting apps use your phone’s Internet connection rather than the voice network on your cell phone.

So what does this mean?  Well, for one thing, it means that many of us can probably save some money on our monthly cell phone bills.  The days of thousands of dollar monthly bills due to uncontrolled text messaging is probably coming to an end.  My entire family has either an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and we all text each other with iMessages.  The number of pure SMS messages charged against my cell phone’s texting service plan in a month are virtually non-existant.

I once read an article online that spoke about text messaging fees from the big four wireless providers here in the U.S.  I didn’t save a copy of that article, but it essentially said that text messages are sent of the voice portion of the cell phone and that it only costs the phone company a few pennies to send a message.  We, the consumer, are paying anywhere from $0.10 – $0.25 for each message we send and receive.  To illustrate, if I send a text message to a friend on the same wireless service as me, the phone company will make $0.40 – $1.00 on what is really just to messages.  They make money when I send the original message twice (they charge me to send and my friend to receive) and when my friend replies.  Talk about price gouging.

The second article, “Fewer drivers nabbed by texting bans” (link) has to do with texting while driving, a very stupid thing to do, and the efforts of law enforcement to reduce the habit.  That piece, I think will be a different rant altogether.

BlackBerry Q10 To Arrive In Late Spring

Last week we saw BlackBerry, the company formerly known as Research In Motion, unveil their new handsets, the Z10 and the Q10 along side their new mobile operating system, BlackBerry 10 OS.

The Z10 has gone on sale on it’s home turf of Canada, as well as several other countries, including the UK and is expected to go on sale here in the US in late March.

Those hoping to get their hands on the more traditional looking BlackBerry, the Q10, may have to wait a little bit longer than was first reported.

Zach Epstein, writing for BGR states:

“[A]ccording to comments from company CEO Thorsten Heins […] while speaking with the Associated Press on Tuesday, Heins said the BlackBerry Q10 will launch in the U.S. between eight and 10 weeks after the BlackBerry Z10 debuts. BlackBerry’s first BB10 smartphone is expected to hit store shelves in the U.S. in mid-March, placing the BlackBerry Q10′s launch timeframe between mid-May and early June.”

Look at this way, “traditional” BlackBerry fans, we’ve waited this long, a few more weeks isn’t going to matter much.

In the mean time, check out this video of the BlackBerry Q10 in action.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYKFpEOSyUQ]

[Via BGR.com…]

BlackBerry Z10 Handsets Appear To Be Selling Out

BlackBerry is attempting an Apple-like company turn around, which is by no means, an easy thing to do for any company.  A recent article said that BlackBerry doesn’t need to beat out iOS and Google Android hands down right now, rather the BlackBerry 10 OS needs to be able to hold it’s own to iterate and mature.

Being a long time Palm fan, I have observed similarities between the transformation RIM is currently undertaking with BlackBerry 10 and the Z10 and Palm’s transformation from Palm OS and the Treo to webOS and the Pre and the launch of the Z10 in the UK is just another parallel.

Writing for BGR, Zach Epstein writes:

“Checks at 40 stores in Canada indicate sell-through of the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone is strong on its launch day, with numerous stores selling out towards the end of the day,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Sue wrote in a note to clients on Wednesday. “Z10 pre-orders reached record highs (for BlackBerry).” 

“That’s the good news. Sue tossed some cold water on the report though, noting very short Z10 inventory across all of the stores he spoke with. “Supply appears limited, with stores allocated avg. 5-10 units/store for walk-ins and est. 20-30 units/store for pre-orders,” the analyst wrote.”

Huh.  You know what other device was the best selling launch day device with sellouts across the board?  Well, yes, the last iPhone, but I was specifically thinking about the Palm Pre with webOS on June 6, 2009.

The Palm Pre for Sprint was selling out all over the place.  Which is easy to do when each store received less than 24 devices each.

We all witnessed Palm’s sad, slow demise, and I have to wonder if the new BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 are the new Palm Pre and Pixi.

For BlackBerry fans and customers, let’s hope not.

[Via BGR.com…]

BlackBerry Confirms OS Upgrade for BlackBerry PlayBook

Well, well, well…isn’t this an interesting turn of events?  The BlackBerry PlayBook has the potential to become an iPad mini and a Nexus 7 competitor.

The OS upgrade, from PlayBook OS 1.x and/or 2.0 to BlackBerry OS 10 was announced during the BlackBerry 10 launch event last week.  (It was also mentioned as far back as March, 2012.)

The BlackBerry PlayBook, originally released in 2011, was suppose to be an iPad “killer.”  The market disagreed.  You can still purchase PlayBooks online and in retail outlets, but it is running it’s original OS which, evolutionally speaking, is stuck between BlackBerry OS 7 and the new BlackBerry OS 10.  The PlayBook OS was built on the technology acquired from QNX.

I think it’s amazing that another company besides Apple is going to reward their customers with a software update that will refresh previous generation hardware.  Heck, this might even be the excuse I’ve been looking for to purchase a refurbished BlackBerry PlayBook and then upgrade it to BlackBerry 10 later on.

You can read more about the BlackBerry PlayBook on the BlackBerry website.

[Via GadgesOnTheGo.net…]

BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 Announced

Last week, BlackBerry, the new corporate name for the Canadian company formerly known as Research In Motion, unveiled their new name, their new BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system, and a pair of new BlackBerry smartphones; the BlackBerry Z10 and the BlackBerry Q10.

Waterloo, ON – BlackBerry® (NASDAQ: RIMM; TSX: RIM) [on January 30, 2013] launched BlackBerry® 10, the re-designed, re-engineered, and re-invented BlackBerry platform that creates a new and unique mobile computing experience. Available on two new LTE-enabled smartphones, the BlackBerry® Z10 (all-touch) and BlackBerry® Q10 (touch with physical keyboard) smartphones powered by BlackBerry 10 offer you a faster, smarter and smoother experience than any other BlackBerry you have used before.

“Today sees a re-invented BlackBerry launching an entirely new mobile experience,” said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO of BlackBerry. “We are thrilled to be introducing BlackBerry 10 on the new BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones, to deliver a faster, smarter experience that continuously adapts to your needs.  Every feature, every gesture, and every detail in BlackBerry 10 is designed to keep you moving.”

BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 Smartphones

The new BlackBerry 10 smartphones are elegant and distinctive, and the fastest, most advanced BlackBerry smartphones yet. They feature 1.5 Ghz dual core processors with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and an expandable memory card slot. They include the latest enhancements in high density pixel and screen technology to display clear, sharp, and incredibly vivid images. Both feature a micro HDMI out port for presentations, and advanced sensors such NFC (near field communications) to support mobile payments and the exchange of information with a tap of the smartphone. They also have a removable battery.

Models of the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 will be available from carriers to support their respective 4G LTE or HSPA+ networks, and all the available models include connectivity support for global roaming. The BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones will also each come in White and Black. For more information about the new BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones powered by BlackBerry 10 please visit www.blackberry.com/blackberry10

A range of accessories for the new BlackBerry 10 smartphones, including the new BlackBerry® Mini Stereo Speaker as well as a variety of carrying and charging solutions including a unique charger that provides on-the-go charging, will be available from select carriers and retailers.

Pricing and Availability

Worldwide, we have several key markets that are revealing pricing and availability today, including the UK, Canada and UAE.

In the U.S. market, we expect availability with most carriers for the BlackBerry Z10 to be in March. Today, U.S. carriers will start announcing pre-registration and price plans.

We expect the first global carriers to launch the BlackBerry Q10 in April. We will announce new pricing and availability information as carriers roll-out around the world.

[Via GadgetsOnTheGo.net…]

RIM Executive in Denial

The public flame out of a smartphone company is never easy to bare, but at least RIM CEO Thorsten Heins is trying to keep us entertained.

The BlackBerry making chief was quoted as saying “There’s nothing wrong with the company as it exists right now,” in a recent interview with Canadian Broadcasting Corp’s Metro Morning show.
Uh…ya.  Hilarious.
RIM’s stock value has dropped something like 70-75% in value since the beginning of 2012.  2012!!  Adding insult to injury, there have been departures from the executive wing, layoffs coming for some 5,000 employees, 6-day work weeks and restricted summer vacations for the remaining employees, and RIM’s golden egg, a new iPhone-like BlackBerry running the newly rewritten BlackBerry OS 10 won’t be ready until the first half of 2013.  (And well all know that when a tech company says ‘the first half of’ we can safely assume the very last of the first half.)  Research in Motion is the new Palm.  Anyone remember the Palm Pre and webOS 1.0 back in 2009?
Yup, that sounds like a company that’s headed in the right direction.
Look, I like BlackBerry hardware. I still have my Curve and Storm2.  They were good messaging devices and I get the whole “Crackberry” thing.  If RIM really wants to get some market share going, I say look to recent history to get  a new game plan.  HP’s Palm TouchPad shot up to the number 2 tablet in the US when they had a fire sale to draw down inventory.  The TouchPad, #2!!  People where lining up for HP’s ‘hot’ new little tablet and got the lines Palm always wanted for one of their devices.
RIM is reportedly sitting on a $1 billion dollars stockpile of Blackberry smartphones and Playbook tablets.  They should start selling them at a deep discount, without cellular service contracts from the BlackBerry website.  Who knows, it could work.  I’d like to have a BlackBerry Bold with BlackBerry OS 7 and a BlackBerry Playbook in my collection.  They would be fun toys to play with.  Maybe RIM can get a temporary boost in marketshare, and more importantly, mindshare, until they can get the new BlackBerry smartphone out.  If there is no 2-year contract that I’m bound to, there is no reason why I can’t march into an AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile store and buy a new BlackBerry…assuming that the top four US carriers actually picks up the new device.
So, to recap:
1. RIM CEO Heins is drinking too much “BlackBerry” Kool-Aid
2. Make no mistake about it, RIM is in serious trouble
[Photo credit: David Manning/Reuters, via The Daily]

Facebook 2.0 Released for BlackBerry, BlackBerry Playbook

The Facebook 2.0 client is out for both current edition BlackBerry smartphones and the new BlackBerry Playbook.

The new features of Facebook 2.0 for BlackBerry include:

  • Facebook Places – Users choose to share where they are, what they are doing and who they are with – with Facebook friends. Get directions to and from a Facebook Places by clicking on the map image, which will seamlessly launch the Bing! Maps on the BlackBerry Playbook.
  • Facebook Events – View events and birthdays and receive notifications of new invitations. View event details like the time, place, guest list and more. Users can even RSVP and write on the event’s Wall.
  • View ‘Likes’ – See the names of the friends that ‘liked’ a user’s post. Users will also be able to tap their friends’ names to launch directly to their profiles.
  • Privacy control on status updates – Control who can see each update users share. Simply click the lock icon in the lower-right corner of the status publisher to select who to make the status update visible to before posting it.

As my long time readers know I own a BlackBerry Curve 8330 and most recently used a BlackBerry Storm2, which I had to turn in for a Droid Pro back around February.  I miss having my BlackBerry and still think about picking up a new Bold at some point.

[Via CrackBerry.com…]

BlackBerry Bridge Now Available to AT&T PlayBook Owners

After a long string of bad news, a dramatic decline in stock prices, departures of senior management, and calls from investors and alleged employees to restructure how the CEO and President of the Board roles work, there was finally some good news for BlackBerry fans on AT&T who plan on purchasing a BlackBerry PlayBook.

Yesterday, AT&T allowed the BlackBerry Bridge software for AT&T branded BlackBerry phones to be released into the BlackBerry App World.

“BlackBerry Bridge is an app you can download to your smartphone to get access to your email, calendar, contacts, memo pad and tasks—all on the large tablet display. Depending on your wireless service provider you can even browse the web using your existing BlackBerry smartphone’s data plan.”

That last item, browsing the web using your BlackBerry’s data plan will run you an extra $20/month for the privilege AT&T has announced.

You can download BlackBerry Bridge from the BlackBerry App World (link).

Rumor: RIM Cancels 10″ Playbook, Realizes They Need New BlackBerry Phones

The Boy Genius Report blog has word that the executive management team has gotten a cold, hard dose of reality and has finally realized that they need to get new QNX-powered BlackBerry smartphones out the door as quickly as possible.

The sobering fact that RIM’s stock has taken a nose dive in recent weeks has served as what I can only describe as a wake up call.  According to BGR, plans for an iPad sized 10-inch BlackBerry Playbook are being scrapped and the company will “focus as much effort as possible on building and releasing its first QNX-powered BlackBerry smartphone.”

The specs and timing for a new BlackBerry running the QNX operating system are, obviously, thin at best.

“Specs of the purported next-generation BlackBerry smartphone include a single-core 1.2GHz processor — though it may be swapped for a dual-core if RIM can find a way to reduce the drain on the battery — along with a 4.3-inch high-resolution touchscreen display. Further details surrounding the device were not made available, nor was a codename, launch name or a time frame for the device’s release.”

The previously planned 4G cellular version(s) of the BlackBerry Playbook is still planned for release in the October timeframe.

As a strictly utilitarian device for email, text/instant messaging, and phone calls (who makes those anymore?), the BlackBerry is a great phone.  Messaging has always been at the core of what a BlackBerry is.  (I own and have used a BlackBerry Curve and Storm2 and loved them both.)  But today’s “prosumers” want more features than that, and when compared to the iPhone and Android devices, all of the RIM devices fall flat on their faces.  If RIM is serous about turning their company around, they need to get QNX-powered phones out the door as quickly as possible.

[Via BGR.com…]