Monday, October 22, 2012

10 solid reasons RIM will make a comeback

10 solid reasons RIM will make a comeback

By:  Tim Collins  On: 09 Oct 2012 For: ComputerWorld Canada Creator

GUEST BLOG: We always hear the bad news first when it comes to RIM. So, let's look at the good news now

I’m the only diehard in my office who is still sporting a Blackberry. I’m holding out to see the Blackberry 10. 
Going into 2011, everyone at my company used Blackberrys. We were huge fans. We BBM’d each other constantly. We even blogged about how much we loved our Blackberrys. Then RIM started to nosedive and one by one, my staff started showing up at the office with iPhones.
Bring the RIM magic back home
One of my IT recruiters posted a blog in November 2011 called The Blackberry Battle: Bring the Magic Back Home. She pitched nine ways RIM could make us proud of our Blackberrys again.

A year later, Michelle has replaced her Blackberry with an iPhone, while public support for the Blackberry has dipped so low that it’s absurd to even think that a marketing solution could spur a comeback.
In spite of its challenges, I still believe that RIM will make a comeback. It’s not just wishful thinking. With a solid cash flow, a growing user base and a dedicated army of developers, RIM is not another Nortel. 
Wouldn’t it be incredible if the BB10 was as awesome as RIM says it’s going to be? Wouldn’t it be amazing if RIM did bring the magic back home and started hiring back the thousands of people they laid off?
If you are rooting for RIM to rise back to the top, bear with me while I tell you why this is all possible.

10 reasons RIM is poised for a comeback

1) Developers believe in BB10. RIM has a knack for motivating some of the most brilliant minds on the planet. I personally know several developers who are still working for RIM and who are not the least bit interested in jumping ship. These insiders have job offers. But they are excited to be there for the release of BB10. Check out the Developers have 1000 Reasons to Believe in BB10 video from Blackberry Jam in San Jose.
2) Teenagers and messaging. It’s still the best messaging device bar none (this is why teenagers still carry Blackberrys--a pretty important demographic).

3) RIM has always had the best keyboard. My bet is that the genius engineers at RIM are going to have the best touchscreen keyboard on the market.

4) They smell the coffee.Thorsten Heins has woken up RIM from their dreams of past glory. Now they are facing reality and Heins promises big changes.

5) Licensing. The BB10 operating system is being licensed for other hardware like Microsoft Windows Phone 8.
6) Cash flow + growing existing user base. They still have $2 billion in cash and a user base of 80 million that grew by 2 million last quarter.

7) They dominate the high-security niche market. RIM is famous for the security of its smartphones. That’s one reason they dominated the corporate market before BYOD hit the fan. It’s still the go-to device for most governments around the world.
8) Leaked specs. According to leaked BB10 specs reported by the Droid Guy, “RIM would be releasing smartphones that would pose a threat to Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One X and even iPhone 5. If the recent leaks were legit, RIM might be back with a vengeance. BlackBerry 10 A-Series may also be the Canadian company’s key to reclaiming its position in the market where it has dominated before.” 

9) Incremental Improvements are boring. The last iPhone had only incremental improvements. The top two smartphones look more and more alike with every new release. If BB10 can offer us something new that we always wanted but never thought was possible, we’ll buy it.

10) The competition is distracted. Samsung and Apple are embroiled in legal battles that won’t end any time soon. Now Apple is going to battle with Google. This is going to be very distracting for them while their competitors RIM, Microsoft and Noikia come back to fight another day.

Comeback of the Century
I'll say it again. RIM is NOT another Nortel.  I’m excited to watch RIM pull off the biggest comeback of the century. It happens. Just look at Ford’s recent recovery, against all odds.

Your Thoughts?
 - Do you think RIM will survive this downturn?
- If BB10 is well-received by media and consumers, could RIM find itself on the shopping lists of Microsoft, Facebook or Samsung?
- Can BB10 become the Windows of smartphones operating systems?

Long story short...

I still have hope for RIM, but we need to be blown away by BB10.

My Personal thoughts on RIM.   GF

I hope so, but what I hope for is a thin, really light phone, not a brick like the Nokia Lumia series. Not to take away from Nokia, but their phones are too noticeable,  as in weight. As a note to RIM, whom I have the best wishes for their endeavour, please don't make the thing a tank. Light is good.

Also, its better not too have every feature under the sun, just the ones that work really, really well and are simple to navigate, and to use. Yes there are sophisticated clients, but don't forget about all the guys who will buy your stuff on the street. Their word of mouth advertising is the best sales pitch ever. If they enjoy the product, then it will sell itself.

The way I saw it with earlier RIM products is that they cut too many corners on their hardware, not enough RAM, slow CPU's, low res screens. The software ended up sucking because once they added apps and multimedia, everything didn't work well. If RIM had made the proper hardware changes (evolving) instead of acting like Detroit, they wouldn't have lost the clientele they have, I'm pretty sure of that. So as far as a magic pill, there isn't one, but if I can pass on a few thoughts, this is it. 

Don't make your phone like the Androids where they can do everything, but not everything well. Make sure its solid, with usable features, great (read popular) apps, and good, consistent performance. That includes your desktop software. Don't torment your customers with poorly thought out tools or software.  If your grandma can use it without fail or complaint, your heading in the right direction. Frustration= bad sales. Just ask Microsoft.

And most of all don't make a brick of a phone. The iPhone 5 really broke through on that, although the screen is still too small to be fun, however their sales are worth paying attention too. And Apple just keeps whittling away at the formula, despite the detractors. People don't want fancy without the usability.

You got the call on the 7 inch screen right on the tablet, but YOU fell down on offering an OS that was open to all of your customers. No apps, no default email, etc. Then they spoke with their feet, and your prices had to be dropped, into the basement. Great tablet, bargain price. No profitability. That's bad. So its all about coordination, good apps, nice hardware, and solid performance without getting stupid like some of the Android offerings now. Polish, polish, polish. Look to Ferrari or Porsche on how to get it done. The only reason you guys at RIM are having to work so hard is that you stood still for too long. Don't fret, Android and Apple both sucked at the beginning with their offerings, but they stayed at it and look where they are, so stay at it and don't get complacent.   

Good Luck

Apple iPod Touch (2012) Review: Better Than Ever

Even with the impending arrival of the iPad mini, Apple’s iPod touch lives on, and in a big way. The Cupertino-company wasn’t content to just slap a faster processor and camera on-board; it went all out, and basically combined the most recent three iPhones into a colorful new package — and there’s a new loop, too. Cool/lame/who cares.
The screen is bigger, the camera boosted up to 5-megapixel and there’s now an A5 processor to fuel all your apps, videos and Web browsing needs. If you ever handled an iPhone or previous iPod touch, the experience is a familiar one, which is definitely not a bad thing. It’s now more refined than ever, sporting a thiner (that comes with one big sacrifice), and lighter design that finally doesn’t have that scratch-prone rear shell previous models came with.
Apple’s lineup of iPods is still the tip-top of the portable music player mountain. The market may be slowing as smartphones become more widely available, and tablets get cheaper, but if the iPod touch has been on your radar, Apple has definitely hit a home run with its latest model.
And if you want to check out the game, Bike Baron, it’s worth the time.

Samsung Will Stop Providing LCD Panels To Apple As Of 2013

By  | October 22nd, 2012
Reports coming out of Korea today are suggesting that Samsung Displays have already taken the internal decision to terminate an ongoing contract with Apple in a move which means that the company will no longer supply the Cupertino-based giants with Liquid Crystal Display panels for their mobile devices. Although Apple and Samsung have been long-term corporate partners, the rivalry that has been growing between the two companies has been intensifying of late with the relationship eventually reaching meltdown.
Samsung Displays have benefitted from being one of the major components suppliers to Apple over the last few years, but as Apple makes its move to stiffen up their supply chains and squeeze higher profits out of their processes; it looks like Samsung have been caught in the crossfire. Rather than supplying the panels at the current rate and generating a smaller income front the deal, Samsung looks likely to take the rather large and possibly controversial step of walking away from the deal altogether.
An unknown Samsung employee who is said to hold a senior management position within the company has moved quickly to confirm the speculation, stating that they are "unable to supply flat-screens to Apple with huge price discounts. Samsung has already cut our portion of shipments to Apple and next year we will stop shipping displays". Although Samsung has so far been the largest provider of LCD panels to Apple this year, the iPhone makers have placed a higher reliance on the likes of LG and Sharp for their display technology, meaning Samsung stand a good chance of organically falling down the supply pecking order.

The move to cut supply ties altogether may raise some eyebrows considering that Apple’s orders may be dwindling, but still represents a large portion of the Samsung Display revenue stream. Although that may be true, it would seem that the company have found alternative business in the form of Amazon and Samsung Electronics who now have their LCD panels provided by Samsung Displays. There has understandably been no official word from the company about the legitimacy of the reports, but it is widely expected that 100% of Apple’s LCD panels will be supplied by alternative companies come next year.
(via KoreaTimes)
You can follow us on Twitter, add us to your circle on Google+ or like our Facebook page to keep yourself updated on all the latest from Microsoft, Google, Apple and the web.

  • Square leases new HQ, expects to have almost 1,000 workers by 2013

    Square is growing like a weed and that means only one thing: new digs. It has signed a lease for a new headquarters building in San Francisco, a block away from Twitter. Square expects to have nearly 1,000 employees by the end of next year.
    Squarephoto: GigaOM
    SquareSquare has already outgrown its home in the historic San Francisco Chronicle building and has now signed a lease for a new headquarterson Market Street in San Francisco, as it prepares to accomodate almost 1,000 employees by the end of 2013.
    Square, which launched in 2009, has grown from 150 employees a year ago to more than 400 today. The official move, which will take place in mid-2013, will put Square a block from Twitter, Dorsey’s other company, which he founded and still works at.
    The mobile payment company has been on a roll with a big $200 million funding round last month and a big deal with Starbucks, which will integrate payments from Square Wallet early next month. Square also expanded into New York earlier this month with the acquisition of New York design firm 80/20. It is now processing $8 billion on an annualized basis.
    It’s a nice win for San Francisco, which gets to hold on to a hot startup. And it puts more development right on Market Street, which is not so pretty in the blocks between Civic Center and the Union Square shopping district.
  • A little something cool...

    What's the real state of people's finance's?

    More Americans Worry about Financing Retirement

    Adults in Their Late 30s Most Concerned

    Despite a slowly improving economy and a three-year-old stock market rebound, Americans today are more worried about their retirement finances than they were at the end of the Great Recession in 2009, according to a nationally representative survey of 2,508 adults conducted by the Pew Research Center.
    About four-in-ten adults (38%) say they are “not too” or “not at all” confident that they will have enough income and assets for their retirement,1 up from 25% in a Pew Research survey conducted in late February and March of 2009.
    An analysis of these surveys also shows that concerns about retirement financing are now more heavily concentrated among younger and middle-aged adults than among those closer to retirement age—a major shift in the pattern that had prevailed at the end of the recession.
    In 2009 it was “Gloomy Boomers” in their mid-50s who were the most worried that they would outlive their retirement nest eggs. Today, retirement worries peak among adults in their late 30s—many of whom are the older sons and daughters of the Baby Boom generation. According to a Pew Research analysis of Federal Reserve Board data, this is also the age group that has suffered the steepest losses in household wealth in recent years.
    The new Pew Research survey finds that among adults between the ages of 36 and 40, 53% say they are either “not too” or “not at all” confident that their income and assets will last through retirement.  In contrast, only about a third (34%) of those ages 60 to 64 express similar concerns, as do a somewhat smaller share (27%) of those 18 to 22 years old.
     These findings stand in sharp contrast to the age pattern that emerged when the same question was asked in a Pew Research survey conducted in 2009. In that poll it was Baby Boomers between the ages of 51 and 55 who were the most concerned that their money would not last through their retirement years. Only 18% of those 36 to 40 years old were similarly worried they would fall short financially after they retire—a third of the share who express a similar concern today.
     A companion Pew Research analysis of data collected by the Federal Reserve Board in its Survey of Consumer Finances suggests a reason that retirement concerns have surged among adults in their late 30s and early 40s.
    The median net worth of this group has fallen at a far greater rate than for any other age group both in the past 10 years and since the beginning of the Great Recession.
    Led by declines in home value, the median wealth2 of adults ages 35 to 44 was 56% lower (in inflation-adjusted dollars) in 2010 that it had been for their same-aged counterparts in 2001— the steepest decline for any age group during that decade and more than double the rate of loss among those ages 55 to 64 (22%). (Household wealth is the sum of all assets, such as property cars, stocks and retirement accounts, minus the sum of all debts, such as mortgage, credit card debt and car loans.)
    Expressed in dollars, the median wealth of those in the 35-to-44 age group in 2010 was $56,029 less than the median wealth that their same-aged counterparts had in 2000. In contrast, those ages 45 to 54 and 55 to 64 have lost about $50,000. With fewer assets to begin with, the median wealth of adults younger than 35 fell by a total of $5,270 between 2001 and 2010. The median wealth of those 65 and older increased slightly—making them the only age group whose net worth grew over what it had been for their same-aged counterparts a decade ago.

    Retirement Worries Increase

    Overall, a larger proportion of Americans are worried about their retirement finances now than in the final months of the Great Recession in 2009. The share of adults saying they are “not too” or “not at all” confident that they will have enough income and assets to last through their retirement years has grown from 25% in 2009 to 38% in the latest Pew Research poll.
    In addition, surveys conducted by the Gallup Organization over a longer time period suggest that these concerns have grown steadily in the past decade, a trend that began before the housing market collapsed or the economy fell into recession.
    According to Gallup, the percentage of adults who fear they will not have enough money to live “comfortably” in retirement has grown from 32% in 2002 to 66% last year. During that same period. the share who worry that they do not have enough money to retire increased by 12 percentage points, from 54% to 66%.

    The Demographics of Retirement Anxiety

    While many Americans worry about retirement finances, there are some differences among demographic groups.
    For example, college graduates are much more likely than those who have a high school diploma or less to express confidence in their retirement finances (71% vs. 53%). Among those who attended college but do not have a bachelor’s degree, six-in-ten are sure that they will be financially prepared for retirement.
    Those with household incomes of $100,000 or more also are significantly more confident than those earning less than $50,000 that they will have the financial resources to live on in retirement (79% vs. 51%).

    Change Since 2009

    Across most demographic groups, Americans are less confident now than just three years ago that they will have enough financial resources to last through their retirement years.
    The decline in confidence is greatest among Americans with less education, those with annual family incomes between $30,000 and $74,999, and adults in their late 30s and early 40s.
    Among those with a high school education or less schooling, the proportion confident about retirement finances declined by 14 percentage points to 53% between 2009 and 2012 . In contrast, concern fell by 9 percentage points among college graduates and 10 points among those who attended college but did not graduate with a bachelor’s degree.
    The pattern was less uniform among income groups. Confidence dropped the least among adults with the highest and lowest incomes, while the pattern is mixed among those in the middle-income ranges.
    Confidence about retirement finances declined by 9 percentage points among adults in families making at least $100,000 a year and by the same share among those earning less than $30,000.
    In contrast, confidence fell the most (19 percentage points, to 51%) among those earning $30,000 to $49,999 and by 14 points in families with incomes of $75,000 to $99,999. At the same time, the proportion of those making $50,000 to $74,999 who are confident about their retirement nest eggs declined by 11 points.

    Retirement Worries and Age

    Concerns about retirement finances increased in every age group in the past three years but grew the most among adults 35 to 44, the latest Pew Research survey found. Older and younger adults express the most confidence that they will have enough financial resources in retirement, while middle-aged adults expressed the least confidence.
    But in a marked change from the 2009 survey, adults in their late 30s and early 40s are now the least confident that they will outlive their money.
    Among this younger age group, the proportion who are “not too” or “not at all” confident they will have enough to live on in retirement has more than doubled, from 20% in 2009 to 49% in the latest poll. Three years ago, adults in this age group were the least likely, along with retirement-age adults (19%), to express doubts about their retirement finances. Now adults ages 35 to 44 rank ahead of every other age group in terms of their concern about retirement finances.
    A Pew Research survey conducted in September 2011 produced results that closely mirrored those in the latest poll. In that survey, 51% of respondents ages 35 to 44 were concerned about retirement finances, compared with 41% of 45- to 54-year-olds and 37% of those ages 55 to 64.
    Again, the oldest and youngest respondents were the least concerned. Only about a quarter of those older than 65 (25%) and younger than 35 (27%) were worried.

    The Late-30s Spike

    To better understand the relationship between age and retirement worries, Pew analysts created a moving average indicator to more precisely track changes in retirement confidence over the age range.3
    Since the results of the 2012 and 2011 polls were so similar, data on the retirement confidence question were combined to produce a sample of 4,511 cases.
    The graph on the preceding page tracks the rise and fall of retirement worries from ages 18 to 75 in the 2011-2012 surveys. The second trend line plots retirement concerns over the age range from the 2009 Pew survey.
    Overall, worries about retirement finances in the 2011-2012 surveys are comparatively low among those in their early 20s. For example, only about 27% of those ages 18 to 22 say they are not too or not at all confident they will have enough to live on in retirement.
    But concerns begin to rise among adults in their early 30s and spike among those a few years older. Among adults 36 to 40, about half—53%—are not confident about their retirement finances. These worries slowly ebb among individuals closer to retirement age, dropping to about a third (34%) of those 60 to 64 and falling even further among older adults well into retirement age.
    A very different pattern emerges when the moving average is plotted using 2009 data. Retirement concerns peak among those ages 51 to 55; among this group, about four-in-ten (42%) lack confidence that they have enough money for retirement.
    In a further departure from the most recent pattern, adults 34 to 38 years old were the least likely of any age group in 2009 (13%) to express concerns about their retirement finances—roughly the same age group that expressed the most anxiety three years later.

    Declines in Wealth

    Why are thirty-somethings suddenly the most worried about their retirement finances? Federal data on changes in household wealth suggest one answer. In the past decade, households headed by adults ages 35 to 44 have lost the most wealth of any age group, and nearly all of those losses have occurred since the Great Recession began in 2007.
    In the past 10 years, median wealth of households headed by adults 35 to 44 years old has dropped from $99,727 in 2001 to $43,698 in 2010, a 56% decline.
    In contrast median wealth fell by 29% among households headed by adults ages 45 to 54 and declined by 22% among those 55 to 64 years old.
    Households headed by adults 35 and younger lost 35% of their wealth, though their initial holdings—and subsequent losses—are significantly smaller than those in other age groups, dropping from $14,864 in 2001 to $9,594 in 2010.
    Wealth increased in only one group in the past decade. Among households headed by adults 65 and older, wealth increased by 2%.
    Not only did adults in their mid-30s and early 40s lose the largest percentage of their wealth in the past ten years, but they also lost the most money.
    In actual dollars, the median wealth of those 35 to 44 fell by $56,029 from 2001 to 2010. Among those 55 to 64, wealth declined by slightly more than $50,000, while adults ages 45 t0 54 lost slightly less.

    Friday, October 19, 2012

    Gold. What's new, what to expect.

    Gold held up better than stocks, with the GLD down 1.1% on Friday, while the Dow lost 1.5% and Nasdaq tumbled 2.2%, dragged down by Google, and new weakness in Apple. Gold has experienced a remarkable bull market run from $250 an ounce in 2001 to $1,900 an ounce last summer, has not had an easy time of it since.
    Three times it has plunged as much as 19%, and rallied back, only to run into resistance each time at $1,800. It is potentially doing so again.

    That’s probably puzzling investors who have been seeing so many big-name analysts and fund-managers become very bullish for gold, with reasoning that seems sound.
    The latest Reuters poll shows precious metals analysts have become more bullish for gold and silver than they have been in several months.

    Even technical analysis was backing the bullish outlook. My technical indicators triggered a sell signal on February 19, almost exactly at that peak, but had me and my subscribers back on a buy signal in mid-August and back into a 20% position in the gold etf GLD.

    The case for gold, at least from the fundamental side, still sounds bullish.
    As Ray Dalio, chief investment officer at Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest macro hedge fund recently told CNBC viewers, “We have a situation where there is too much debt, which leads to central banks printing money, which is bullish for gold.”

    Other analysts add that fears of the looming ‘fiscal cliff’ in the U.S., and possibility that rating agencies will downgrade the credit rating of the U.S. again, are positives for gold over the next several months.

    There is also the expectation that the Fed’s latest QE3 program will be inflationary, and gold is the traditional hedge against inflation.