Hayes - July 10, 2000
Research In Motion, more commonly known as RIM, is a Canadian company
founded in 1984 and is now publicly traded on the Nasdaq exchange under
the ticker symbol RIMM. The company got an early jump on wireless technology
with a concept of "Always On, Always Connected", something which RIM
has excelled at. RIM's primary focus is wireless e-mail, which has evolved
into a mission critical application for most users over the past several
years, leading to tremendous success for RIM's 850 and 950 versions of
their wireless Blackberry e-mail device line.
1999 RIM introduced the Blackberry 957 wireless e-mail device.
The above images show the smaller Blackberry 950 on the left and the new
Palm sized RIM 957 device on the right. Through RIM's alliance with GoAmerica's
Go.Web service the Blackberry line is able to communicate with the Internet
using 'Web Stripping' as opposed to Palm's Web Clipping technology. The
Blackberry device will not display image clips, but rather simply display
the text of the Internet site you may require information from. It is
important to keep in mind that the device's primary function is not Internet
access; so much as it is e-mail centric. Nonetheless, wireless gadget
lovers are comparing the 957 to Palm's Palm VII wireless device, and both
devices now have a pool of devoted followers.
Strategy and Trajectory
The Blackberry 957 Wireless palm-factor device is, as previously mentioned,
an e-mail centric product; with enterprise wide capabilities. There are
two methods for implementing a Blackberry wireless e-mail solution, the
first is through desktop redirection of e-mail and the second and more
preferable option is to integrate the product with Microsoft's Exchange
the first scenario 'Desktop Redirection', the end users computer must
be constantly on and constantly connected in order to send and receive
e-mails on the 950 and 957 Blackberries. The solution is good for small
offices with desktop systems which usually remain on anyway. For roaming
users, or laptop users a more advanced scenario is highly desirable.
integrating RIM's enterprise messaging software component with Microsoft's
Exchange server a roaming user with a Blackberry wireless device is able
to send and receive e-mails regardless of whether or not his or her workstation
is on and connected. Considering 45% (Probability 85%) of the Fortune
1000 companies utilize Microsoft Exchange, this product is already a hit
within many financial and technical institutions.
can be written for the Blackberry 957 in Java and the device is fully
WAP compliant, which will allow for more direct competition with Palm's
Palm VII product. In fact, RIM is holding a Blackberry Java developer
competition to promote the device. For those of you who are used to the
smaller, 'pager-sized' 950 you will love the additional screen size, however
some minor key changes will trip you up for a while until you have fully
familiarized yourself with the mildly modified keypad.
Blackberry 957 makes use of a 900 MHz network for wireless communications
through Mobitex networks. The device also makes use of an integrated and
rechargeable battery pack which charges automatically when placed into
the Blackberry cradle.
The Blackberry's main strength lies in its tight and thorough integration
with electronic messaging, and extends its reach through Microsoft Exchange
Server enterprise services. RIM has already signed strategic business
alignments with Internet Service Provider's such as EarthLink which is
presently running a 500 user pilot with the device.
growth rates are simply an indication of where the industry is going.
E-mail has become as important as the telephone, if not more so as far
as business and even personal use are concerned. RIM has wireless e-mail
in hand; it doesn't require a second e-mail address and works directly
with your present e-mail client. We expect to see RIM continue to grow
in triple digit percentiles for at least the next three years.
The product must improve in Internet connectivity and speed to compete
on a more head to head basis with the Palm VII. Presently the product
uses web stripping to pull text from an Internet site and does a fairly
effective job of it, but it needs to not only be faster, but also to have
an enhanced interface for browsing the Internet.
software enterprise integration capabilities for Lotus Notes, which
has an install base of over 50,000,000 users. RIM cannot continue
to overlook such a rich source of potential sales targets.
software enterprise integration for Novell GroupWise, which has an
install base of over 20,000,000 users.
to push into the ISP/ASP space where it will be able to capture a
good percentage of the non-business class 'need to be wired' culture.
a Java based Internet browser for the 957 and introduce a color LCD
screen option. The combination of the two coupled with enhanced e-mail
would be the Blackberry on Steroids.
the user base continues to expand the monthly service rate must become
more affordable. Presently the cost for unlimited wireless email is
$39.99 a month. We recommend a reduction of 25% in monthly service
costs to bring the monthly service fee to $29.99 (USD).
The monthly flat fee for unlimited e-mail usage is $39.99, which is prohibitive
for personal use, and not exactly a thrill for business use, but the product
and service are top notch. If you are a business or individual who relies
on e-mail messaging to conduct your daily life, this product is for you,
make sure to compare it to the Palm VII prior to making a purchasing decision.