The last few years have been extremely difficult for RIM. The troubled company has been trying to hold on to its success of the past decade. With iOS, Android, and Windows mobile grabbing the market share, RIM is unable to keep the growth steady. In fact, the market share is dwindling and the shareholders are not very happy.
Focus on strengths
RIM has a few strengths that are unbeatable. The patented keyboard is the biggest one. You can type without looking at the phone! You can type quite fast and so far, no other device has been able to come up with a better keyboard. This keyboard obviously provides better user experience for business users. For example, much as I love the iPad, I can’t ever imagine typing without a keyboard for extended periods of time.
Encryption is the nuclear arsenal
Governments, mega-corporations, law enforcement, intelligence agencies, and even individuals have great use for the encryption provided by BlackBerry. Nobody has been able to come up with a better encryption system. There have been instances where even governments have been unable to decrypt the code and they have asked RIM to place a server locally. It’s that secure. RIM must enhance and market the encryption feature on the BlackBerry that no other mobile manufacturer can give us today.
Don’t ape the gorilla
If Apple came up with an iPad, RIM did not have to ape Apple. HP actually killed its tablet project. If a mammoth like HP can stop manufacturing the tablet, RIM should have never entered the tablet market in the first place. RIM should just focus on its niche area and strive to succeed. RIM does not have to start competing on every front. Remember what happened when Adolf Hitler attacked Russia during World War II? Germany was fighting on multiple fronts. Similarly, RIM needs to stay focused and not compete on all fronts by aping competitors.
Kill the Touch Screen
There are numerous Android and iOS touch screen devices out there. RIM need not build another one. BlackBerry Storm never did as well as the BlackBerry Curve or the BlackBerry Pearl!
Gaming Apps aren’t the only thing in the world!
It’s true that apps lead to a lot of revenue. Business users use quite a few apps. Moreover, Business = Revenue; so theoretically, business apps can generate a lot of revenue since a business will see value in spending for it. BlackBerry, being a business phone, needs to focus only on promoting apps for business and maybe social media. Focusing on all types of apps is pointless and even if developers build a wide range of apps (say, for education) it is a bit too late for RIM to enter new app markets.
Create New Markets
RIM must use its strengths to venture into new markets where nobody can follow.
- Licensing its encryption to high-security areas like Defense, Financial Telecommunication (like SWIFT), or secure Government communication.
- Licensing its encryption to enterprises will lead to a lot of revenue. BYOD will work if companies use RIM servers and integrate it with various devices. I am sure companies want secure communication and also allow users to use the iPhone.
- Licensing its encryption to consumers directly will also lead to a lot of revenue. RIM can come up with an app that allows all iPhone users and Android users use its encryption. RIM can charge for the iPhone/Android app and also a subscription fee to generate revenue.
If companies like Surf Easy and Hotspot Shield can make money just by selling encryption, so can RIM. I would surely pay $50 for an app or $10 a month for as service that allows secure communication between my iPhone and the Internet that nobody in the world can hack into. Imagine the revenue RIM could generate from the millions of smartphones out there!
- RIM can also venture into building new devices for law enforcement. For example, a BlackBerry with a fingerprint recognition device built-in that scans and identifies fingerprints securely from various government databases will generate a lot of revenue. This device will enhance national security and nations will surely spend for it.
Apple (iOS) and Google (Android) are the new kids on the block. However, RIM has been here forever (well, almost forever). Only time will tell if RIM will emerge unscathed from this bloodthirsty mobile war, or whether it will fade away into oblivion. Until then, the clickety-clack sounds of BlackBerry will keep ringing in our ears.
There are a lot of cloud storage options available today – Dropbox, SkyDrive, MozyPro, Carbonite, and many more.
But here’s my problem: I already have a 2TB external hard drive where I store all my files at home. Copying around 1.5TB of data in the external hard drive to the cloud is very expensive since I would need to buy (or rent) the space, and pay a monthly charge. Plus, I lose the option of plugging in my external hard drive and copying my data from my computer directly.
The question then is: how can I transform my external hard drive into a secure cloud? The answer is simple: Pogoplug.
Buy the Pogoplug device from Best Buy for under 50 dollars. The Pogoplug device has 4 USB ports and 1 Ethernet port. Just plug an Ethernet cable to the Pogoplug device and connect it to the Ethernet port on your cable modem or wireless router. Now, plug in your external hard drive to one of the USB ports.
From your laptop or any other computer on the same network, just go to Pogoplug.com and activate the device. Enter your username and password to complete the activation. You are done! It’s plug-and-play.
Here are the cool features of Pogoplug:
- Your external hard drive is your cloud! That’s right. You can access your external hard drive via any browser and upload/download the files. The capacity is limited by the size of your external hard drive.
- Share files with anyone, anywhere. Select the file/folder you want to share and Pogoplug will send an email with a link to the recipient who can then download the files.
- Use the Pogoplug app on your smartphone. I use the Pogoplug app for the iPhone and it is really cool. Just launch the app and all the photos and videos on your iPhone are automatically synced to your external hard drive over 3G or Wi-Fi. Pogoplug automatically categorizes the files as per the month or date they were taken.
- Play music or videos remotely. You can play music from your external hard drive via your smartphone or the Internet remotely. Pogoplug optimizes the videos and music for you. You don’t really need to copy your music between devices anymore.
- Set up a Backup or Redundancy. Here’s the coolest feature. Just plug in another external hard drive and select a folder from the 1st hard drive to be backed up to the 2nd hard drive (via Settings>Backup on your Pogoplug online account). Whenever a file is added to the 1st hard drive, it is automatically copied to the 2nd hard drive thereby creating redundancy. The chances of both hard drives failing at once are extremely rare, so your data is safe.
- Print remotely. Plug in a printer to the Pogoplug device via USB and you can remotely print over the Internet or via your iPhone. Make sure Pogoplug supports your printer.
- Automatically copy files from multiple computers. If you have multiple computers in your home/office, it’s a headache to backup the data from all the computers. Install the Pogoplug software and select the folders to be copied automatically (via the Active Copy feature). The files are automatically synced to the external hard drive. This is extremely useful for multiple home users and small businesses where data from multiple computers need to be backed up.
- Use the Bonus Cloud Storage. When you create an account online, you get a 5GB cloud storage too. You can keep your work-in-progress files here just in case the power goes off and you cannot access your external hard drive. Of course, if you have a UPS, you may never need this feature.
With a Pogoplug hardware and an external hard drive, you can build and run your own cloud. Small businesses can use this setup to cut down costs and store important files within their on network instead of putting them up on the Internet.
It’s as simple as that – your own cloud for zero dollars a month.