Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Blackberry Torch - can it stem the rise of Android and iOS?

Image representing Research In Motion as depic...Image via CrunchBase

Blackberry's maker, RIM, has been in the news recently for the wrong reasons (or is it in fact the right reason - you decide). Several countries in the Middle East are planning to curb the rise of the Blackberry, not because they make their own smart phones. Not even because of their inherent lack of security - the exact opposite in fact. Yes, Blackberrys are too secure for the likes of the UAE and Saudia Arabia!

Seems these denizens of democracy object to their citizens being able to communicate, conduct business and generally browse the web without the State looking over their shoulders. The move to suspend data services on the popular devices has upset users in the Middle East and other countries including China, Turkey and Pakistan, as the authorities attempt to grapple with the free flow of information over the internet. Don't they know that like water, information will find its own level. There is nothing in reality that the State can do to turn back the clock and un-invent the internet. It won't stop them trying of course.

In the end, all they will do is force business away from their economies and make their citizens believe that the State is trying to control them (which it is - that's the nature of the beast I am afraid). They should look at North Korea and China to see where this attitude will get them. North Korea is a desert as far as business is concerned and China only started to experience real economic growth the more it loosened the chains upon its citizens. It's not perfect but it is moving in the right direction.

So, what's your take on all this - will they actually go down what many consider the road to ruin or will they pull back from the brink?

In the meantime, RIM has released the latest version of its smart phone - the Blackberry Torch. Called BlackBerry 6, and boasting various innovations such as the ability to combine information feeds from email, text messaging and social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, its seen by some as an 'iPhone killer' -but then doesn't everyone say that these days. It will go on sale for $199 (£125) in the US in partnership with AT&T on 12 August, with a roll-out in Britain later this year.
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