Monday, August 8, 2011

RIM's Experience Woes

Rumors have been circulating for a while now that RIM is having trouble setting up their Blackberry Enterprise Server software to support their new QNX-driven devices. This doesn't surprise me as it's a symptom caused from a bigger issue: the experience isn't their primary concern. As RIM faces growing pains due to their OS software transition, they're not making the effort to shield their customers from the effects.

QNX devices are unable to get email, calendar or contact information. The customers suffer. When QNX is available for the Blackberry, there is no guarantee the existing apps will be available. Again, the customers suffer. How will existing customers react to their transition? What type of experience will new Blackberry users feel as they wait 9 months for apps to show up on the app store?

What exactly could RIM do in order to offset these problems?

  1. The priority should have been to get the basics working flawlessly (email, calendar, address book). RIM should have focused on video and cancelled their purchasing of the 3rd-party video-editing software company. Communication takes priority over video editing.
  2. You cannot put together a software dev team overnight and expect magic to happen. Developers who understand the Blackberry framework are an asset to the company. Laying off your existing devs to hire new ones? The folks in finance might see this as smart, but for the health of the company? It's bad.
  3. Secure quality apps. Find the top app developers and offer incentives to produce QNX versions. Quality apps need to be available on the QNX platform. My favourite app on the BB was "BB Alerts". How ridiculous is it that RIM doesn't know whether this app will even exist?

I don't claim to understand the inner workings of a multi-billion dollar IT company, but from these seemingly minor incidents, I'm not even tempted to consider any RIM devices.