The past week there has been story after story in the Globe and Mail of the struggles of Blackberry creator Research In Motion (RIM). Last week was one of the hardest weeks the company has had in years missing revenue expectations and slashing future forecasts. The stock price tumbled over 20% last week in just a couple of days. Today this story broke about RIM handing layoff papers to over 200 employees at their home headquarters in Waterloo Ontario.

Research In Motion

Things are not looking good for Blackberry and being a Blackberry owner myself, I’m a bit concerned for their future. Here are 5 reasons why RIM is in trouble;

1) Consumer Confidence – Most of the news people have been hearing about RIM lately has been negative. Whether it’s falling stock prices, layoffs or poor products, it seems the company that once couldn’t do a single thing wrong is now doing everything wrong. Once the average consumer gives up on Blackberry and moves to some sort of Android or iPhone, chances are they aren’t coming back.

2) Playbook “Failure” – There have been reports that sales of the new Blackberry Playbook tablet have been good, but not great. I’m hearing quite a different story from friends who work at stores who sell the Playbook tablet. One of my friends who works at a large department store said they were shipped 25 Playbook’s on launch date and still haven’t sold a single one. Another friend from an electronics store tells me he is making sales, but not nearly as many as the iPad 2 or other tablet PC’s. It seems to me Blackberry is giving info on their shipping numbers, not actual sales.

3) Lower Stock Price – The lower the stock price goes, the more people hear about it and the more the big companies who hold RIM stock are pulling out. The stock price hasn’t been this low since August of 2006 and it’s only projected to go lower until RIM can show some type of turn around.

4) Length Of Time Between New Products – Everyone in the tech world has been hearing about Blackberry’s new operating system for over a year now and we STILL don’t have a new Blackberry that uses it. Reports are that Blackberry’s carrying the new OS may not be available until early 2012 even though they’re releasing a new Blackberry Bold later this year!

5 ) iMessage – This one may seem a bit funny, but yes the new Apple messaging system “iMessage”, which is due out later this year, could leave many Blackberry users jumping ship. Just a quick search through Twitter on the day iMessage was announced I could find user after user saying something to the effect of “Well, now that there’s iMessage, I don’t need my Blackberry anymore.” If Blackberry’s haven’t lost their “cool” factor with the 18-34 crowd yet, they will soon enough and once that goes they may never get it back.

I don’t plan on getting rid of my Blackberry anytime soon. As a matter of fact, I was considering dropping my Curve and moving to the Torch however, all this bad press really has me thinking twice. If RIM doesn’t blow people away with their next line of smart phones, we could see RIM join Palm and many others in the smart phone cemetery.

iphone battery life If you’ve purchased and iPhone or an iPod Touch, chances are you know the great battery life they hold. For example, the iPhone 4 with 3G on has over 7 hours of battery life. The new iPod Touches have even more. As we all know, the older a battery gets, the less battery life a full charge gives you. I’m actually pleasantly surprised that my 3 year old iPod Touch still carries the amount of battery life it does. However, I have done a few things to help keep it that way. Here are a list of a few things I’ve done with my iPod Touch to increase it’s battery life.

1) Turning Wi-Fi Off – The battery saver that I’ve found works the best has to be turning off my Wi-Fi when I’m not using my iPod. Yes, it may be a bit of a pain to always go back into settings to turn it on when I need it, but the benefit in battery life saved is far too great. As long as your iPod or iPhone is on, it’s always searching for a Wi-Fi network. This drains your battery power significantly the more you enter and leave Wi-Fi areas. I always turn mine off when I’m not using it.

2) Turning Push Notifications Off – This one kind of goes hand in hand with turning the Wi-Fi off, the only difference is I leave the notifications off even when I turn the Wi-Fi back on. I understand I’m losing out on one of the great core functions of the smart phone, but I figure I can go without knowing my best friend’s daughter just ate her first vegetable until I actually sign in to Facebook.

3) Only Charging When In The Red – Some people don’t really believe in only charging your battery when it’s in the red, but I do. I have an HP laptop that I always charged regardless whether it needed to be or not. Now I can barely get 20 minutes out of the battery. Only charging my iPod touch when I get the “20%” or even “10%” messages has certainly helped increase my battery life.

I know these sound like fairly steep sacrifices just to save battery life and many of you are probably thinking “these would be a lot easier to do on an iPod Touch than an iPhone” and you may be right. I know that I’ve suggested these ideas to family and friends for both the iPhone and iPod Touch and both are very successful, if you don’t mind the sacrifices.

I know not everyone has a Blackberry and you guys/girls reading this blog probably think that since I have one, that’s all I’ll ever post about in the smart phone category. Well, good news! I also have an iPod touch so I can review most iPhone apps just as easily. I figured for today’s post though, I’ll start with what I know best; my Blackberry apps and tech news.

I’m sure if you’re as interested in tech news as I am, you always want the latest updates as they happen. Well lucky for us, the Blackberry App World has tonnes of great news apps which have technology sections as well apps from technology sites!

The 3 apps that I check almost 2 or 3 times a day (if I’m away from my PC or laptop) are;

1) Globe and Mail – This app comes from the Globe and Mail newspaper here in Canada. I enjoy reading it because it gives great insight on what’s happening in the technology world in Canada. For example, I wouldn’t be able to find anything on the CRTC decision to increase bandwidth costs here in Canada on any other non-Canadian apps.

2) CNet – I really enjoy they’re reviews on new products as well as their constant updates on what’s happening in the social media, search engine and tech realm.

3) NY Times – This was one of the first Blackberry apps that I downloaded, mostly because at the time they’re wasn’t anything nearly as functional in the App World. Now that there are a lot more tech news apps, I find myself visiting it less however, I do find that they have exceptional writers in their tech department.

So those are my top 3. Anyone have any other suggests on some great tech news apps that I should download from Blackberry App World?

Back in April of 2010, I realized it was time for me to jump into the smart phone market. For about 3 years I was stuck with a simple Nokia cell phone that had no email or internet browsing ability and could barely take a decent 100x100px picture. Since I didn’t mind my service with Virgin Mobile I decided to stick with them and see what they had to offer. The first thing that caught my eye was the iPhone but I knew a lot of people with one and I found that it was more of a toy than a phone. I also had already purchased an iPod Touch a year earlier so I figured it would be silly to essentially have two of the same thing.

That’s when I saw the Blackberry Curve 8530 for the low, low price of free with a 3 year contract. I’ve never been a fan of cell phone contracts, but I didn’t want to spend $300.00 on a phone so I went with it. I couldn’t be happier with my decision.

There are 3 main reasons I would suggest you get a Blackberry over an iPhone or an other smart phone, the easy to use keyboard, the simple handling of emails and an app store that is growing bigger and bigger on a week to week basis. Having an iPod Touch I already knew how difficult it was to get used to typing using the touch screen. The Blackberry keyboard makes it easy to type out long or short messages using letters, numbers or symbols. Controlling emails on the Blackberry was also very easy to setup and keep track of. I couldn’t imagine where I’d be if I didn’t have the ability to check email wherever I was. Lastly, the Blackberry App World which I wasn’t too impressed with when I first started has now won be over a few short months later. Sure the iPhone and Android app store have more of a selection, but I’ve found that the Blackberry App World has all the apps that I really need. How many of the 200,000 iPhone apps are actually useful?

All in all, I’d definitely suggest a Blackberry to anyone who owns a business or is a business professional. I’d even suggest a Blackberry to a regular 18-34 year old because the app store is growing and there is no better smart phone communication app than the Blackberry Messenger.

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