Monday, April 23, 2007

BlackBerry on Windows

The article linked above addresses RIM's intention to make BlackBerry software available on Windows Mobile devices. This really isn't new. Manufacturers and carriers have had the option to put the BlackBerry OS directly on their devices (BlackBerry On Board) or to connect their existing OS (Windows Mobile, Symbian, etc.) to the BlackBerry environment with BlackBerry Connect. This just sound like a marriage of the 2.

Now I recognize that there are some major differences between the 2 existing programs and this new one. I just don't see the benefits to the new one yet. Where BlackBerry On Board put a clean OS on a device, the new program puts a clean OS on top of another OS. Windows Mobile isn't what I would call a clean OS. Most Windows Mobile devices slow to a crawl or stutter when trying to perform more than 1 or 2 tasks. The BlackBerry "application" will be doing a lot of work. I expect the impact on performance to be noticeable, very noticeable. Oh sure, it's an application, so I can shut it down when I need too, but that's like turning off my car when I am going downhill just to save gas. It will not happen.

Since few, if any manufacturers have adopted the BlackBerry On Board model, I had hoped for some innovative applications of the BlackBerry Connect model on Windows Mobile or Symbian. Sure enough, there were plenty of announcements, and very few devices. I had the opportunity to play with a Samsung phone with BlackBerry Connect for 4 month. The 4 months is important to note because that is how long I tried to find someone at Samsung or RIM who could provide support getting the phone connected to our BlackBerry Server. Mind you, I am better connected with both companies than your above average customer, yet after 4 months, I found no one who could help. Samsung, RIM, you can't say that I didn't try.

I hope I am wrong about the future of this application. I currently carry a Windows Mobile device and a BlackBerry. A good marriage of the 2 would be phenomenal. I'm just afraid it will be like marrying a Hatfield to a McCoy.

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