The Boy Genius has published an angst filled missive directed at RIM on the future of BlackBerry OS. Here are a few choice quotes:
“RIM’s OS is more than antiquated, it’s borderline laughable.”
“There’s so many limitations to RIM’s OS, and even RIM’s data network that it offsets all the wonderful things they’ve managed to accomplish.”
“RIM delivers the same tired package in new hardware and people are starting to catch on. App World? Seriously? From every single developer I’ve spoke to, it’s a non-starter.”
“I’m just frustrated that RIM is going through hardware like it’s nobody’s business yet fails to deliver on the things that everyone wants. Screw business people, screw consumers, everyone wants a WebKit-based browser. It’s inexcusable RIM doesn’t get it.”
To be fair, you should read the whole piece. I’ve quoted some of the most negative things Boy Genius has to say to make a point. The point is that the business of mobile telephony is a software business now, and no longer a hardware business.
I’ve spent the last couple of days as a guest of Nokia learning about a tremendously exciting project they have under way in San Francisco which I’ll write about in the future. It’s obvious in conversation with the Nokia team here that the company has a tremendous and far reaching vision of what mobile can be about. However, Nokia suffers from a similar affliction to RIM. Symbian OS is different from BlackBerry OS. The same as BlackBerry OS, however, it is a maturing design that is now behind the state of the art.
Both companies are known and respected as innovators. RIM primarily gets credit for email, while Nokia introduced the world’s first GPS enabled phones, and the best camera phones in the market. Both are being perceptually eclipsed because others have shifted the basis of competition from handset innovation to applications and the overall integrated user experience. The basis of competition has shifted to the operating system and a war for developer mindshare.
RIM and Nokia have a challenge ahead of them. As early smartphone innovators, they created this market. They are undisputed leaders. Others, however, are poised to steal the market away from them. RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis and Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo ought to have an internal “Manhattan project” under way to counter the threat from Apple, Google/Android and Palm. Perhaps more than any other aspect of that effort they should consider stealing a page from Apple, focusing their efforts on fewer new phones, operating system innovation, and more new software.