A Business Technology Place

Saying Goodbye to BlackBerry Classic Keyboard!

BlackBerry Chief Operating Officer Ralph Pini announced in a blog this week the decision to stop making the BlackBerry Classic. Pini writes that “sometimes it can be very tough to let go” but that “we will no longer manufacture BlackBerry classic.”BB Classic

It’s been so long since I’ve seen a BlackBerry in service that I was surprised they were still making the classic model. It’s no secret that BlackBerry hardware sales continue to fall and the company is desperately trying to reinvent itself. Just what would take to recapture the magic that a BlackBerry device once held in the business world?

The physical keyboard on the face of the device and track ball created a loyal following of addicts. It changed the way we both read and composed email. I don’t have any statistics to prove this but it sure seemed like BB users made less spelling mistakes with the classic BB keyboard. Amazingly guys with big fingers made it work too! I started composing email messages with a phone number in the footer so that someone reading on a BB could just scroll over the number for an instant phone dial.  The device was good at messaging and security. No frills. No Angry Birds. All business.

But take heart die-hards. Pini reminds us that “For now, if the Classic is still your device of choice, please check with your carriers for device availability or purchase Classic unlocked online. “ If you find a supply of them you may want to buy more than one.

Onward and upward!

Thought readings 5

Each week I capture, mark, and comment on blog posts and news articles around the internet. This is short list of three links that I think others will find valuable for their thought lives.

  1. A Simple Device Diagram for Responsive Design Planning by Adam Edgerton of Metal Toad Media. This is a great resource post for development teams. It discusses screen resolutions of common devices so that teams can better optimize experiences on their solution sites.
  2. Caller ID spoofing scams aim for bank accounts by Byron Acohido of USA Today. Crime has no boundaries in the digital world. This article discusses how criminals are using cell phones and SMS to obtain bank account data.
  3. Why I am Leaving Goldman Sachs by Greg Smith published in the New York Times. A resignation letter published in the NY times by a Goldman Sachs executives is good for ratings and controversy. But I found the contents of the notice to have intellectual value. Mr. Smith compares customer focus to profit focus. The classic battle for the attention of shareholders and employees takes center stage in his piece. It’s worth your read.

Let me know what links you shared, tagged, or commented on this week.

Tablets, mobile devices, and Chrome OS offer different computing models

The Personal Computer model of the 80s and 90s is done.
In the early days of home computing, the personal computer was the choice for computing power from the home and office. The hardware required software to manage the operations of the computer and all of the software was installed locally to the device. Microsoft dominated these early days with the Windows and Office.

Through the 90s and 2000s we saw several advancements that started to change the world of the personal computer. The expansion of the internet to main stream life connected consumers to each other as well as consumers to businesses. The accessibility of broadband to the home made it possible for consumers to retrieve large amounts of information in the form of pictures, video, and rich text.  Advances in hardware speed and the reduction of computing device sizes helped engineers to create portable devices so that consumers could access information from anywhere.

Now we live in a connected world where individuals and businesses can not only consume digital content but they can create it as well. Facebook, Twitter, and mobile applications are all examples of this.

Today, consumers can choose from tablets, mobile devices, and cloud computing hardware.
I’m not a big Apple fan, but I’ll admit the iPhone and iPad have revolutionized the computing model that consumers use today. It’s a good thing, the advancements in user interface, ease of use, and practicality of the apple devices are creating more competition and advancements that benefit all of us.

Mobile devices work because of their portability and this makes them flexible to serve to consumers from almost any location. They have really become the swiss army knife of computing devices. Except they go one step farther. You can add and remove many blades from the device (software apps) to make the tool relevant no matter which venue of life you find yourself.

The tablet devices are filling a void between mobile device and laptop computer. The mobile device screen is just too small for some needs, while even the laptop computer can be bulky at times to carry. I see the tablet device as a portable and powerful information consumption device. Their use is exploding because consumers love the ease-of-use and breadth of applications.

But the tablet may be a challenge to use for heavy content creators.  The touch screen keyboard and limited hardware could decrease the efficiency for creating content. At least for now, until a generation grows-up using the touchscreen type keypads.

This past week, Google launched ChromeOS on a netbook frame to the general public. This event isn’t about netbooks, it’s about a computing model known as cloud computing.  Google has created a device similar to a smart-phone in a way. It’s a stripped down OS that removes most of the hardware operating system responsibilities and focuses on giving access to internet based applications through a browser. That’s the computer. A browser with access to the internet.  If you stop and think about it, many if not most, of the applications you use today are already from the internet.  It wouldn’t surprise to me to see ChromeOS on a tablet frame sometime in the near future.

Regardless brand loyalties or preferences, consumers win with all this advancement.
Consumers have many choices today. Unlike the PC-only model of the 80s and 90s, they have the ability to choose between different device types (PC, laptop, netbook, tablet, mobile) as well as different models (Local installation, cloud computing, and mobile application). It’s really about how the consumer creates and/or uses content. Consumers will choose those devices that work consistently and makes their lives easier by solving needs.

What do you think? What type of device and experience do you prefer?

Your operating system. Now you see me, now you don’t.

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What operating system(OS) does your PC use? Did you make a conscious decision to pick that OS or was it picked by the manufacturer of your PC? Microsoft and Apple like to sell the features of their latest OS versions because they want to show how their products add value to your computing experience. Linux teams promote their OS because its free to use and open to anyone to contribute improvements.

But for most people, the brand of the OS is really not a concern to them. They just want their PC experience to run without problems and errors. They use the PC as a tool to complete a task, share a memory, or research information.

Now you see me

Think back to when PCs were becoming common place in our homes during the 80s and 90s. At that time, you would go to the store to buy software that you then installed locally from a set of disks or a CD disc. Everything ran locally on your PC. Your OS was important in this model because you had to make sure that the software was ‘windows compatible’ or ‘MAC compatible’.

Now you don’t

As the Internet became part of our lives, and maturation of browsers to run applications and display information, the OS became less of a focus for software tools. Think about your personal computing usage this week. You didn’t install any extra software to run Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo mail, or online banking. Today you can run all of the standard office productivity suite, check email, balance your check book, pay your bills, research a new purchase, etc. all through a single piece of software, your browser.

There are still specialized software programs out there that require local installation. Computer aided design, digital artwork, film editing, etc. But for the most people, they can run all the software they need through a browser. You don’t really see or think about the OS in this model.

Now you see me again

The latest trend is mobile computing and running applications on your mobile device. Do you know what OS is installed on your mobile device? You might not know the specific OS name, but you do know that application you just downloaded only works on an iPhone right? It’s interesting to note that in some ways the mobile applications are similar to the early PC days. An application only runs on iPhone or runs on Android.

Now you don’t see me again

I think over time, the mobile device applications will go the way of the PC applications. They’ll run through the browser on your mobile device. The OS will stay invisible and you can still send that picture of Johnny to your friends. Software makers will be start to either make mobile versions of their online applications or they’ll take mobile devices into their design considerations.

And with that thought I’m outta here…..(poof!)