Mobile is on our mind here at Camcloud, having just launched Camcloud Mobile (sorry for the shameless plug). We went the web app route for now, rather than build native apps. A bunch of reasons for that, the main one being time to market. The full pros and cons of that decision is another post in itself.
Since our mobile site is for our members area, it’s not just a content site serving up a bunch of images and text that needs to be rearranged for a smaller screen size. We have functionality that needs to work on both iPhone and Android, and there are differences between the platforms that required a reasonable amount of effort. Even within the Android universe, the behaviour of browsers, video players, CSS handling, etc just never seems consistent.
What’s my point… oh, my point… yes, Blackberry. We didn’t even bother trying to optimize for Blackberry, it was too much effort, and we’re certainly not alone in this regard.
So with all this as background, it has been interesting to see the reaction to BB10 this week:
This kind of reaction has been very typical of developers and people who have really engaged with the platform.
Even the ever hostile tech press is cautiously starting to come around to the idea that RIM might not be dead, and there MIGHT be room for a #3 mobile platform.
I think it’s fair to say that BB10 is a ‘stop the bleeding’ release for RIM. If they can excite their subscriber base and drive upgrades, find a few pockets of growth internationally, and stop the hemorraging in the US, they might have a shot at owning the #3 spot over the next few years, and then live to fight another day.
The question is, will the #3 player be important? Typically in technology, they’re not. #3 players struggle for mindshare, marketshare, and profitability, and more often then not either enter a death spiral or get acquired.
Will it be the same for mobile computing platforms? Hard to tell. Carriers certainly don’t want a duopoly, and the growth of Android shows there’s demand for more than just Apple’s ecosystem. So you could argue the dynamic is different than previous platform wars.
RIM is a very different company from 12-18 months ago, and anyone who doesn’t see that isn’t paying attention. If mobile computing has room for a #3, I’d place my money on RIM.
It’s still a wait and see game and it will be interesting to see how it pans out.
For now, like most mobile developers, we’ll spend our time engaged with the Android and iPhone community improving the user experience on those platforms. But we’re not writing RIM off just yet, we’re anxiously keeping an eye on what happens with BB10.