For a variety of reasons, chief among them not being the news that some investors are giving up on the iconic smartphone maker, RIM has been losing share in the smartphone market and unable to fight off the immense competition from Apple and Google. And now we’re hearing that RIM developers are jumping ship over the same concerns we’ve heard before from the Android camp: Fragmentation. Only with RIM, it’s the mother of all fragmentations. Here’s an interesting quote from a Bloomberg story this morning by developer Purple Forge’s CEO Brian Hurley:
As soon as RIM brought in a touchscreen and mixed it with a thumbwheel, a keyboard and shortcut keys, it made it really difficult and expensive to develop across devices. What Apple scored big on is having a touch screen and a button and that’s it. In deploying Apple applications, there are very few surprises. In Android, there are increasingly more surprises. But in BlackBerry, there are immediately lots of gotchas across the board. When we put an application in the field, there was a 20- to-1 difference between Apple and BlackBerry downloads.
Anyone still think Apple needs to branch out the iPhone family into multiple phone models with different screen sizes, slide-out keyboards, screen resolutions and so forth?
You may also remember how the critics had been calling out Apple for the iPhone’s lack of the physical keyboard. Good thing folks at Cupertino had the foresight to remain true to Apple’s trademark simplicity. And if you thought Hurley’s comment was harsh, check out what Mobile Roadie CEO Michael Schneider told Bloomberg: “At the end of the day, I even felt like developing for BlackBerry could be hurting our reputation. We were putting a ton of resources into something users were not engaging in.” RIM’s luck could change in early 2012 when QNX, their new operating system powering the PlayBook tablet, is adapted for BlackBerry smartphones, but it will be really hard for them to catch up on the lost time.