BlackBerry, once king of corporate IT, now in decline

Blackberry manJust days after Research In Motion released an anticipated 2.0 software update for its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, the Canadian company is seeing its once lauded corporate IT prospects declining steeply. A new report by IT industry research firm InformationWeek announced today that just 7 percent of IT administrators plan on increasing their use of RIM products in the future. The report surveyed over 530 technology professionals, and the statistics — although grave for RIM — are nevertheless unsurprising.

Just a few short years ago, the BlackBerry was considered the lynchpin of corporate IT policy. RIM’s revolutionary mobile phone allowed secure and reliable email communication, coupled with a supremely usable physical keyboard — a combination business users found intoxicating. Even as recently as 2010, BlackBerry handheld use was still growing by more than 46 percent year over year. In fact at the beginning of that year, five of the top ten selling smart phones in America were BlackBerries. Of course, a lot has changed since then — Android, Google’s mobile OS, which is free for phone makers to run on their devices — has proved to be an unbridled success. It now accounts for almost 50 percent of the mobile market, with an estimated 400,000 device activations per day. And Apple’s iPhone, well, suffice it to say that if a single device is responsible for an estimated $9 billion profit in the last quarter alone, it doesn’t leave much room for competition.

Which is entirely the point; over the previous two years, RIM had allowed itself to become increasingly complacent to the demands of mobile consumers, digging in its heels and instead relying on vast corporate contracts to sustain the BlackBerry franchise. However, as smartphone use has gained prevalence in this country, a fundamental change has begun to affect RIM’s bottom-line: consumers, as opposed to corporate IT departments, now dictate which devices drive business use, and not the other way around. By shutting RIM out of the consumer game, Apple and Android have forced IT departments to adapt to their platforms. The numbers speak for themselves: The study found that 67 percent of respondents consider Apple a strategic partner for enterprise mobility, compared with 36% citing RIM and 38% citing Microsoft, according to the press release. It goes on to state that, “While BlackBerry represents a median of 70% of company-purchased smartphones in use now, that percentage plummets to 25% when respondents look ahead 24 months.” Recently, RIM has also lost valuable government contracts, once a mainstay of its business, as even federal agencies have become cowed to Android and iOS’s popularity. In a changing world in which 52 percent of businesses allow employees to BYOD (bring your own device), it is the typical consumer, and not the IT administrator, who BlackBerry must now woo.

The news isn’t all bad, however: 46 percent of respondents expressed that it was the poor leadership of RIM’s former co-CEOs that has lead to the current state of the BlackBerry. With some luck and much innovation, RIM’s new chief executive, Thorsten Heins, may have a shot at turning the ship around. The new BlackBerry 10 operating system is just around the corner, and with phones that — while not wholly original — still look promising, RIM may have a final chance to redeem itself in the eyes of the consumers it must now win over. Hey, it sort of reminds us of another highly innovative company that almost went bankrupt before reversing its fate: Apple. That company is now the most valuable in the world. For RIM, only time will tell.

Image Credit: BGR 

Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.

‘Diablo Immortal’ is just the beginning. Mobile games are the future

Diablo fans were furious about Diablo Immortal, but in truth, mobile games are the future. From Apple and Samsung to Bethesda and Blizzard, we’re seeing a new incentive for games that fit on your phone.
Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.

Golf ball-sized Lume Cube Air is a pocketable LED for photos and video

Off-camera lighting for smartphones and GoPros just got even smaller. Meet the Lume Cube Air, a smaller portable LED light designed for photos and videos that weighs only about two ounces.

Best Google Pixel 3 XL screen protectors

It's tough to find good screen protectors, but the 6.3-inch OLED screen in the Google Pixel 3 XL definitely demands to be protected from scratches and impact damage. We've picked out the best options and included insight into the downsides.

Taking shots in the dark with Night Sight, the Pixel’s newest photo feature

The Google Pixel range has always been the home of some of the mobile world's best phone cameras. That performance is now getting even better with the introduction of the low-light Night Sight mode.

Pocket Casts adds more cross-sync, curation, and Siri Shortcuts

Pocket Casts is a pocket staple for many podcast fanatics. But it's about to get even better with the introduction Pocket Casts 7.0 that adds intelligent curation, Siri Shortcuts support, and a streamlined UI.

Upcoming Galaxy S10 may support 8K video and have Neural Processing Unit

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.

Netflix is testing a cheap mobile-only subscription tier in some markets

Netflix is trying to reach potential subscribers in emerging markets. To that end, the company has begun rolling out a cheaper, mobile-only subscription tier, which comes at around $4 per month -- half the price of the Basic subscription…

Samsung will reportedly announce its folding smartphone at MWC in February

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy F, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.

Check out 30 of the best iPhone games you need to be playing

The iPhone has some of our favorite games available for any mobile platform. Here are the best iPhone games for every big-name genre, whether you're into puzzles, strategy, or something else entirely.

Text messages are disappearing on Pixel 3s, but a fix is on the way

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are arguably the best Android phones out there right now -- but they aren't perfect. Users have reported a number of issues and problems related to the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Here's how to fix them.