The smartphone ecosystem has experienced game changers such as Apple with iPhone and Google with Android in the recent past. Blackberry the most important player in this segment with a huge user and fan base has the first option to stay on top of the market, here are five things RIM should consider:
1. Improve the web browser - Few years ago the Blackberry’s web browser was enough. To visit a simple news mobile site or to access the banks WAP site. Today consumers expect to be able to load any website from their smartphone. Blackberry has still a way to go here. It is a shame for a Blackberry user to ask his friend for an iPhone to enter a certain website that the BB does not load.
2. Touch screens - Don’t get me wrong its not the Storm, its having their normal qwerty models with touch screens while keeping the the keyboard. This would enormously contribute to usability, specially when web browsing and using maps. Its clear that heavy Blackberry users love the keyboard, and that it would be a mistake to eliminate entirely, at least for now, but
3. Integrate with email services and devices - The Blackberry enterprise service (BES) works exclusively with Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino and Novell Groupwise on Blackberry hardware. First of all they need to expand their BES offer to work with Google Apps and other cloud based collaboration services. In terms of devices RIM has to open up, only with a Blackberry app for iPhone and Android they will keep their dominant position in mobile corporate email. Too crazy? wait and see.
4. Enhance App development and App store - Currently anyone can develop standalone apps for Blackberry but needs to be a Blackberry Partner to to be able to connect it to the web. Opening or lowering barriers of entry to developers would definitely help them grow the ecosystem. The App World (Blackberry App store) should support more business models to address the needs of enterprise applications, such as individual and group monthly subscriptions to apps, corporate accounts and OTA provisioning impossible to do in the iTunes store.
5. Preload phones with consumer applications - Weather, Maps, the appstore and offcourse improve the music player. Installed ready to use instead of icon ready to download. Given that iTunes is a must for music in the laptop or PC mobile devices as Blackberries have to learn to talk to it seamlessly. There are Blackberry apps that simulate iPod and are able to connect directly to iTunes without the Desktop Manager, probably the way to go. Give consumers easy access to weather, maps and good music and consumer market should not be as hard as it has been for RIM.