Wow! What a Day! RIM still is vapourware, Apple has astounding 4th Quarter and Ice Cream Sandwich Fails to Impress


What an incredible day today!  On one day, we had three major updates from three of the players in the smartphone space.

Research in Motion Keynote

First was the keynote address from Mike Lazaridis, co-CEO of Research in Motion.  I watched the presentation waiting to hear or see anything of significance.  The only thing that was announced was essentially a re-branding of the QNX operating system into what they now are calling BBX.  On the day prior, Jim Balisle, the other co-CEO had an interview with the Toronto Star where he made a bold statement,

It is really, really powerful how we’ve intercepted the future

This statement literally translates to how Research in Motion is using HTML5 as the mechanism to bridge between Blackberry OS to QNX.  Seriously, RIM believes that HTML5 is the future?  While I definitely agree that HTML5 is significant and provides a very rich, standards and open based alternative to Adobe Flash, I would not have viewed it as the key statement for the future and certainly not the ‘linchpin’ that would define a companies strategic direction.

RIM did not announce anything tangible at the keynote.  They made reference only to BBX as a future state operating system that would be available on the Playbook and future mobile smartphones.  No smartphones were announced or demonstrated, and in fact, BBX capabilities were not even demonstrated.  The long awaited native email, calendar and address book clients never materialized and continue to be vapourware.

I am left with a very empty feeling and unfortunately for Research in Motion, stick with my opinions that they just not going to make it.  They are a company without a strong vision or strong leadership and frankly, have no idea how to react to or counter the iOS and Android offensive.  Too little… too late.

Apple 4th Quarter 

Apple announced the strongest 4th quarter they have ever reported with strong year over year improvements in Mac, iPhone and iPad sales.  They reports $28.27B in sales for the quarter, up 39% year over year with profits up 54% to $6.62B.

The only surprising fact was that iPhone sales were down from the expected number, selling 17.1M devices in the 4th quarter compared to 20m the previous quarter.  This still represents a year over year growth of 21%.  Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO stated that sales of the iPhone was affected by rumours of the new device, now known as the iPhone 4S.  Consumers and Corporations were waiting for the announcements and delayed their purchase decisions.  This is surely reflected in the fact that Apple has reported over 4M iPhone 4S’s sold in the first weekend.

Samsung Galazy Nexus and Google Ice Cream Sandwich

Another lacklustre announcement unfortunately.  The new Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone fails to substantially provide any key improvements or enhancements over anything else in the marketplace.  It comes with a 1.2Ghz dual-core processor, 4.65 Super AMOLED HD display with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, 1GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. It includes a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera and a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera.

Google Android – Ice Cream Sandwich was the biggest disappointment in my mind.  Absolutely nothing amazing or compelling was introduced.  In many ways, they are introducing features that have been on Apple’s iOS for years and closing the gap in terms of having similar offerings.  Unlike Apple’s recent announcement of iOS 5.0 with new features such as iMessage and Siri, Ice Cream Sandwich has nothing!  Absolutely amazing…  the only really new capability was the ability to use facial recognition to unlock your lock screen – a feature that unfortunately did not work during the presentations and demos.

About Grant Fengstad

I’m a technology professional in the travel and transportation sector and have been very involved with the Internet for over 20 years.