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Blackberry 10 to be launched in January

BBC:

The next Blackberry smartphone, which manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) hopes can revive its fortunes, will be introduced on 30 January.

RIM, once a leading name in smartphones, has struggled to keep up with the likes of Apple and Google in recent years.

The new range will run on Blackberry 10, an upgraded operating system.

RIM has not said when the smartphones, which have been set back by multiple delays, will be available to buy.

Yawn. Sorry, dozed off there.

This is the final death throw of RIM. There will be no BB11. Blackberry stagnated under its own hubris in viewing the iPhone and Android as non-competitors in the corporate market.

It took RIM just under eleven years to sell 100 million devices across a model range longer than my… well it’s a long list. Apple? Just five years with only four models, with almost no model overlap.

Blackberry had the option to adapt or die. They chose the latter when they failed to take the competition seriously.

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Text messaging declines for the first time in the US

NYT:

In countries around the world, text-message traffic has been shrinking because Internet-powered alternatives are becoming so widely used. American carriers have fought off the decline — until now.

For the first time, the American wireless market saw a decline in the total number of messages sent by each customer each month, according to a report published Monday by Chetan Sharma, an independent mobile analyst who is a consultant for wireless carriers. In the third quarter of this year, cellphone owners sent an average of 678 texts a month, down from 696 texts a month in the previous quarter.

Both iMessage and BBM will be the big causes, followed by WhatsApp.

Carriers make money from calls and texts. If we’re not generating revenue for them with their traditional business model then they start lashing out with piss-poor data plans. Why do you think data plans have moved from unlimited plans to capped ones? Carriers need to adopt a different approach to generating revenue to this that’s mutually beneficial and not just screwing the customer.

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Apple Store problems fall on deaf ears

Jean-Louis Gassé’s piece in The Guardian:

I came back from a trip on 2 November, the day the iPad mini became available, and immediately headed downtown. The new store is big, bold, elegant, even more so at night when the very bright lights and large Apple logo on its front dominate the street scene. (So much so I heard someone venture that Apple has recast itself as the antagonist in its 1984 commercial.)

The store is impressive… but its also unpleasantly, almost unbearably noisy. And mine isn’t a voice in the wilderness. The wife of a friend walked in, spent a few minutes, and vowed to never return for fear of hearing loss. She’d rather go to the cramped but much more hospitable Stanford store.

A few days later, I heard a similar complaint from the spouse of an Apple employee. She used to enjoy accompanying her husband to the old Palo Alto store, but now refuses because of the cacophony.

Yikes. Gassée describes about the ambient noise hitting nearly 80dB, louder than the traffic outside.

This harks back to the recent story of the floor cleaning problems with the first Apple mini-store.It’s no secret that with some Apple products form takes priority over function (the white MacBooks with the cracking top cases is a classic example) and The same can usually be said of the stores when moving to newer designs.

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Ofcom sets 4G rollout timeline for consumers to have multi-carrier options by June 2013

Ofcom press release:

Ofcom has today published final regulations and a timetable for the 4G mobile spectrum auction – the largest ever sale of mobile airwaves in the UK.

This new spectrum will be used to deliver superfast 4G mobile services to people in cities, towns and villages across the UK and will almost double the amount of airwaves currently available to smartphones and tablets that use 3G networks.

The rules set out in detail the process involved in the auction – from applying to take part, through to bidding and finally issuing the licences to use the spectrum. Ofcom has also today confirmed reserve prices for the different lots of spectrum on offer and outlines the timetable for the auction process.

Ofcom plans to have all carriers onboard with 4G plans to offer customers for May / June 2013, just over 6 months away.

EE were smart here. Offer bullshit data plans as the only current carrier to support 4G (especially as it matched up nicely with the launch of the iPhone 5) that tie the customer into a 2 year deal so when another network comes along, the customer is stuck.

It’ll be great to see how much their tariffs change when the other networks launch theirs, especially as Three UK1 are known for their cheap unlimited plans.

I’ll call it now, EE plans go from the only plans available to the worst plans out there – or worse, they’ll change them but leave existing customers SOL.

  1. I wonder if Three will become Four the launch for 4G? 

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Square peg in a round hole

Horace Dediu:

If stores did not show any effect of poor management, then why was Browett fired? I suspect it had mostly to do with a mis-match of understanding of the job the stores are hired to do by consumers and by Apple itself. The company treats the stores as a sales channel but also as a communications channel with its customers. Recall when Steve Jobs was asked why they stopped attending MacWorld (and any other trade show) he answered that they had the dialog they needed with customers through their stores making.

Horace writes an excellent and in-depth piece about the firing of Browett from Apple. Sales were good, visits were high – from a purely business standpoint the figures were backing him up. So why was he so unceremoniously canned?

It would take a considerable effort to reverse Apple’s recipe for retail success so even with the wrong guy in charge, numbers will still ride high. However, with Apple Retail, it’s not about the numbers. Browett failed at Apple because he wasn’t a good fit for the staff, the customers or Apple Retail. He was a numbers guy, a knife to a gunfight.

Remember the debacle over layoffs in the summer? Browett was universally hated amongst the retail front line. The Genius Bar in particular had gone from a place that felt special to a conveyor belt of desperate attempts to see more customers in less time.In the good old days, all a Genius needed to focus on was keeping repair times down to less than two days and the happiness of the customer. Now? I hear from former colleagues everywhere Geniuses are expected to see two or more customers at once and the focus shifted from customer service (repairing relationships as Ron called it) to metrics such as number of appointments and total repair numbers.

It seems Browett misjudged this seemingly lack of focus on numbers for an area that was neglected. It’s these figures Apple shouldn’t and don’t care about and that’s where he went wrong.

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iPad sold at Texas gas station was actually a mirror

Yahoo! News:

Jalonta Freeman of Arlington, Texas was approached by a stranger at a gas station, selling what he claimed to be a brand new $800 iPad, for just $200. Freeman and her family did not want to miss out on an offer they thought seemed great, so they gave him cash for the tablet, and the man quickly drove away. When the package was finally opened, the Freeman family discovered the elaborately wrapped “iPad” was actually just a mirror about the size of a tablet. Freeman said she felt stupid, but learned a valuable lesson, and offered this advice, “Don’t buy nothing on the streets from nobody.” An Arlington police spokesperson said that crimes of this kind always increase leading up to Christmas. Last year, incidents similar to this were reported in several states.

I have absolutely no sympathy for her. If someone comes up to you on the street and offers you an $800 iPad (or any must-have product) for a quarter of the price, walk away. It’s either a fake or (and more likely) stolen. No-one in their right mind would stand there and think “wow, what a bargain”.

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Actions for iPad

Excellent iPad utility that pairs with your Mac or Windows PC that provides customisable tiled buttons that trigger keyboard shortcuts. It has a wide range of built-in actions but you can customise other apps and as long as the action you want to trigger has a shortcut, it will run it.

I’d recommend deactivating the sound effects though as they get annoying all too quickly.

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Google Nexus support reminds me of the HP+iPod

A story of poor support from Google and I can only sympathise…

However, Apple have pulled this before. Remember the HP+iPod?

Seriously, HP and Apple went into a weird partnership in 2004 where HP sold HP branded iPods. They were the same as Apple iPods except they had HP branding and a different serial number. In terms of Apple support, they were not an Apple product. I worked on the Genius Bar when these would be brought in and we had to refuse service. Under no circumstances were we to service them – in their eyes it was the same as servicing an S3 Rio.

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Flying with Air New Zealand: An Unexpected Journey

Seriously the best safety instructional video I’ve ever seen. 5 points if you spot Peter Jackson and Gollum.

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App icon template for Photoshop

From the site:

This is an App Icon Template that, through Smart Objects in Photoshop, attempts to automate the process of rendering the various sizes that needs to be bundled with iOS Apps.The idea is to edit the largest size and have the smaller sizes automatically rendered enabling a much quicker workflow when designing icons. You’ll also find a selection of ready-made textures that you can build on and easy export actions that spit out the exact files you need to deliver to Apple.

I stumbled upon this whilst working on an icon for a project I’m doing and it’s pretty freaking awesome. The icon layout is there but what’s more is that the PSD automatically generates all the required sizes and shows you what it looks like on an iOS home screen and in the App Store. Fantastic.