App Industry Roundup: BlackBerry gets serious about iPhone competition, previewing E3 game releases

Jun 15, 2010
Finance

Struggling to gain a foothold in the touch-screen phone segment, Research in Motion is developing a smartphone with a new operating system. Also, a G4 iPhone app is released in time for E3 but fails to answer important questions about Olivia Munn. BlackBerry attacks iPhone, again After its first disastrous foray into touch-screen devices to […]

Struggling to gain a foothold in the touch-screen phone segment, Research in Motion is developing a smartphone with a new operating system. Also, a G4 iPhone app is released in time for E3 but fails to answer important questions about Olivia Munn.

BlackBerry attacks iPhone, again

After its first disastrous foray into touch-screen devices to compete against the Apple iPhone, Research in Motion appears to be preparing a new touch-screen phone — this time to include a slide-out keyboard — to regain its lost sales momentum. RIM introduced the BlackBerry Storm nearly two years ago, a phone so awful that it was blasted by reviewers and was such an embarrassment to Verizon Wireless that the carrier changed tactics and embraced the open philosophy behind Google’s Android operating system.

The key problem with the Storm was that RIM didn’t change it’s operating system to accommodate for a touch-screen environment. It was the same OS you’d find on a standard qwerty-based BlackBerry, and that led to a confusing and confounding touch-screen experience for BlackBerry fans who wanted the cool factor the iPhone offered.

Now, according to a report in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, RIM is heading back to the drawing board and finally looking to redesign it’s operating system specifically for a touch-screen phone. The touch-screen smartphone will include a slide-out keyboard, the Journal reports according to the usual people “familiar with the device.” The phone could be the BlackBerry 9800 — c’mon, fix that name! — which gadget blog Electronista speculates is heading to AT&T.

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Also, like Google and to compete with the Apple iPad, RIM is experimenting with a tablet device. RIM didn’t confirm the tablet plans to the Journal, but did say that a BlackBerry phone running a new operating system and a new Web browser will ship in the early fall.

The stakes are very high for RIM at the moment. Apple and Google have seriously encroached into their market share. It remains the No. 2 seller of smartphones, behind Nokia. But in the U.S. and Canadian markets, shipments of RIM smartphones dropped to 38 percent in the March quarter from 54 percent from the year-earlier period, according to Strategy Analytics. Meanwhile, Apple’s share climbed to 23 percent from 18 percent during the same period.

RIM needs to get it right this time, creating an easy to operate phone that taps into the current app craze while continuing to deliver a service that made it so popular in the first place.

E3: New iPhone games expected

The E3 video game show gets underway today and it should be a bonanza of previews for upcoming games on the iPhone, Android and other mobile operating system platforms. Of course, it will also showcase the big console gaming news, such as Microsoft’s new “Kinect” motion-sensing attachment to the XBox 360 platform.

So far, the news about iPhone games and Android games has been scant, but a new app to follow all that information was recently introduced by G4, the cable channel devoted to gaming news. The app looks to be loaded and a nice addition if you’re interested in news related to gaming — and really, who isn’t? — but it does appear to be missing some key features. Here’s one: Where is Ninja Warrior information? 

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Ninja Warrior, of course, is the most awesome TV game show ever. I’m not kidding. Most. Awesome. Ever. It airs on G4 and should not be missed. Perhaps an app update will follow soon, G4 people?

And then there’s the Olivia Munn issue. Is she leaving G4’s “Attack of the Show” to permanently join Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show?” C’mon G4, don’t forget to cover your own pressing news!

Radio Shack iPhone deals

Finally, if you’re looking to buy an iPhone 4 on June 24, you may want to shop at Radio Shack. The retailer will not offer a discount on the phone, but it did say that buyers can trade in used gadgets to lower the price of the new iPhone. It’s unclear what the trade-in values will be, but its probably worth a look if your old iPhone will just sit in a drawer.

My recycling idea: let your kid use your old iPhone as if it were an iPod.

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Eric Benderoff

Eric Benderoff is the principal of BendableMedia.com, an editorial services firm, and a founding member of the Appolicious content strategy team. His personal technology column for the Chicago Tribune has appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide. He is a regular guest on Chicago's WGN Radio and is a frequent commentator about consumer technology on national TV news programs.

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