Research in Motion (RIM), the Canadian based manufacturer is claiming the BlackBerry 10 is going to be an innovative and cutting edge operating system, though from the details announced, it’s clear they are doing what some might call ‘borrowing’ from a concept for unifying contacts listings that is found in the Windows Phone People Hub. Contacts in BlackBerry 10 will include the name, phone number and email address, etc. In today’s appetite for all aspects of social media, users will also be able to read contacts latest tweets, Facebook statuses, blogs and so much more.
It is expected that this new contact management feature will be available when RIM launch its next generation of smartphones, anticipated to be sometime early next year.
T.A. McCann, spearhead of the development of the contacts and BlackBerry Messenger applications for the new platform said, “BlackBerry has always had this heritage of productivity. We are just going to make it better yet again, when we launch BB10.”
Well for those thinking this so called innovation sounds oddly familiar, I should tell you why. Windows Phone’s People Hub has a similar feature, expanding contacts list to see that particular contacts latest Facebook post, or tweet and even Windows Live status updates. On Windows, if you go ahead to choose a particular contact, you are able to see even more information pulled from all persons related Facebook, Windows Live Messenger/Facebook IM or even use the feature to write on the contact’s Facebook wall. All this information, such as the person’s social media activity can be seen in one page. So despite RIM claiming to be innovative, they have a way to catch up to the features already available, from the information provided so far, many have commented that their ideas don’t even match those of the People Hub which they appear to have ‘borrowed’ from.
Additionally, a unified contacts list was available as far back as 2009 when Android 2.0 debuted in the Motorola DROID. With passage of time, Google has enhanced this contacts list experience.
RIM became a leader in wireless innovation with the launch of the BlackBerry in 1999, however, since that time, following the introduction of other competing products; its market share has declined, losing 95% of its share since 1999. In an attempt to reduce the operating budget, the company had been rumored to be selling its company jet, as well as offloading as part of a strategic reviews, a number of recent acquisitions, including cloud selling service provider NewBay. RIM had seen their share prices fall more than 60% in the course of last year and were dropping further behind against the likes of market leaders such as Apple and Samsung and prior to this announcement, several market analysts were predicting RIM’s actions were too little too late.
Given analysts are already disappointed that these new features are likely to be less advanced than options already available on Android and Windows and with Samsung already disclosing that they rejects RIM’s advances on being a BB10 OEM, many will see the writing as being on the wall for RIM.