Research in Motion is set to reports its earnings tonight. Great? Horrible? Who cares, unless you like to trade in and out of this stock. I expect results to be healthy due to still-relatively inelastic demand for its smart phone. What matters will be the company's fundamental shift into the consumer market.

Let's face it. The consumer market is ever-changing. This means that RIM must update its models more often, identify trends, or even follow them.

This is a different area for RIM, because the bread and butter for the company has been its high use in corporations.

Take RIM's move to smartphone applications. By changing designs more frequently, the company will need to put more resources in design, look, and fashion. It is my hope that the company does not get distracted in doing what it does best: have a simple user interface to simply access email.
The bigger questions to ask are: will App World succeed much like the iPhone is succeeding?

Check out App World.
Do you see a problem? I do.

Sure it just launched, but you cannot easily see what applications are available. The site tells you to first download an application FIRST. Fair enough. Apple requires iTunes to be installed first. The second issue is that payment is not easy either. It will be a two step process (find what you like, then set up a paypal account).

This sort of design may limit RIMs ability to quickly acquire customers. There's “work” involved (one-stop shops on when checking-out an online purchase are generally appealing). And the site is a store front asking for a lot of upfront commitment from the user.

Not a good idea.

Blackberry

The consumer will find iPhone's choice of apps more appealing. Why?
One reason alone is that there are simple, silly, and mindless apps out there:

http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/03/30/aircoaster-iphone-app-turns-the-stock-market-into-a-scary-ride/

Apple has the advantage of having opened an apps store well before RIM. What it means is that RIM will have a hard time generating revenue from its App store.

Older articles on Blackberry, iPhone, Palm Pre here.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada


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