Sunday, 26 August 2012

Apple vs Samsung vs RIM

The jury has made a verdict. Samsung was found guilty and faces paying $1 billion to Apple. This is the cost of doing business. While the two companies share many more billions in a supplier relationship, this is merely a small price to pay for Samsung having made an enormous fortune otherwise on their phones in the past few years. If they had paid licensing fees that Apple demanded originally, it would have cost them billions as well. So Samsung took a bet, profited well and now Apple's lawyers have caught up with them. Still not a bad business decision, as Samsung likely saved this way rather than paying licensing fees to Apple over the years.

Now, many had called the entire patent system regarding technology and user interfaces a joke. The patent system is broken, and in the USA they are granting patents with broad interpretations. Keep in mind Apple won on it's own turf, but around the world they have not had as great a success against Samsung and other rivals.

So what does that have to do with RIM? Well we are nearing the release of BB10 and Blackberry is bringing a fresh new look to the mobile computing device. I am happy that RIM has differentiated itself and hope it remains that way. The alpha device does unfortunately look a bit too much like an iPhone, so I hope they bring something new like they did with the Playbook and the active bezel which allows various gestures. Phones have all started to turn into iPhone clones anyways. Then again, how many shapes of phone can you produce with existing non-bendable technology based on square/rectangular pixels?

I look forward to innovative fresh new designs and user interfaces over the next few years. Blackberry is in a position to redefine itself and with QNX-powered phones and TAT-inspired interfaces, we can begin to see some new ideas. Windows 8 also gives us a fresh look over the multitude of Android interfaces with numerous dessert-named versions (confusing to many), and the iPhone's overly-simple and rather bland interface (it is getting a bit stale now and needs a good shake-up as well).

The new BB10 alpha looks a bit like all the other full-screen all-touch phones. In my opinion, a bit too much like iPhone and numerous Android phones out there. I hope they bring the Torch design as it has a unique look and feel and gives us a nice keyboard to interact with. The all-touch Blackberry Storm was a complete bomb, but likely due to the clickable-screen. However, the Playbook brings us a very functional touch-enabled bezel which let's you swipe in menus, keyboard, close folders, and so on.

What I would like to see is a BB10 all-touch similar to the Playbook with some kind of bezel, perhaps with back-illuminated buttons if needed in the traditional bottom-row found under most Blackberry screens that would only light up upon touch. Obviously the bezel would take away from the screen size but can be made small enough to still look good (and different from other phones).

For the physical keyboard BB10 device, a Torch-like device would be ideal. As much as I like the current line of Bold and Curve phones with their always-visible keyboards, they take away from the size of the screen. A slider seems to be the best of both worlds and provides us with that much-loved large screen format that is dominating the market and made Apple's iPhone so successful.

We live in exciting times for mobile technology and I look forward to seeing what is coming up! I am hoping that RIM uses this opportunity to stand out from the crowd and impress!

(Send from my Blackberry Torch 9810)

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