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Blackberry or iPhone

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Blackberry or iPhone?
I used both BB and iPhone. I think BB is better for “Email/text messaging” (dedicated keypad). It takes a few days to get used to the touch screen keypad on iPhone. It’s still not as easy as the BB keypad in my opinion. BB also has strong push technology which pushes email to your blackberry (sometimes you will get email from BB, before it shows up in your Outlook). Overall BB has very reliable email technology (except a few high profile glitches), as that’s where they got started.

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Simple phone, not smart phone

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I found I just need a simple phone for my own use. Like this T-mobile Nokia 1661.

Yesterday I received my Nokia 1661 (ordered in the weekend, the modern logistics by UPS/Fedex is amazing), and I like its FM radio feature !!!

Blackberry is for people who needs to check email after regular work hour, yours truely is one of those people. I hope I can get away from BB one day.

A lot of times “simple is good”. I know my wife only uses her iPhone as dictionary, in addtion to “email checker”. Guess those iPhone App ads. on CNBC, WSJ and Economist magazine are not effective for her.

Why we need Blackberry and iPhone?

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Blackberry everywhere

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Since I have done some travel lately, I have oppertunity to see people in the airport or airplane. It seems to me Blackberry is everywhere. I remember Blackberry was popular a few years ago (also from airport impression), not it’s almost pervasive. There are lots of coverage on Blackberry recently such as: 1) Obama does not want to give up his Blackberry; 2) The Blackberry Storm, first touch screen blackberry launched by Verizon wireless, although sold about 500,000 units in its first month, received mixed review from consumers (the bugs). Of course, I noticed people checking on emails and looked like they are VIPs, which reminded me the default signiture line of Blackberry email: sent from my wireless device. Interestingly, iPhone copied this idea and has this “sent from my iphone” line.

But I see one problem in the Blackberry revolution. Last week my Blackberry browser stopped working. I did some online search and found that Blackberry has 4 browsers (source: crackberry). Isn’t this insane?

One thing Yahoo Mail beats GMail
I have been using GMail for quite some time (since 2004), but I have not switched to GMail yet. GMail has some nice features such as group email threads, and integration with Google talk. But I found one more feature I liked about Yahoo Mail lately: the full header feature. It tells me all the information about sender, the path, etc. This feature alone helped me solve a mystery of return path (address) lately. So go Yahoo !!!

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Got RIM, booked Chicago trip

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Got some RIM stock (Nasdaq: RIMM) yesterday, as I saw some weakness have already priced into its current price. At P/E (ttm) of about 12, and projected single digit growth in 2009 (after serveral years hyper growth), the expectation on the stock is really low these days. At the same time, the newly released Bold (AT&T) and Storm (Verizon) should give them some boost, to counter the attack from 3G Apple iPhone (AT&T) and G Phone (T-Mobile). RIM released its preliminary 3Q results and here is an analyst view (Canaccord).

My Blackberry 8820
I have owned it for almost a month now, and I liked it. I took some advice form Jeremy (blog), and intalled Google Mobile App including GMail Mobile and Google Maps Mobile. Had I have this Google Map, I would not have lost my directions last Friday evening (after a party at friend’s place, and I did not want to ask police because I had a little beer).

Chicago trip
I also booked the Chicago trip for CFA. Since the test will be hold in McCormick Place and I don’t want to drive much, I booked the Hyatt at McCormick Place. To offset the hotel cost, I decided to take the public transportation from Midway airport to the hotel. Seriously I did check the airport shuttle but upon further examination, the travelling time is not as short as public transportation.

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GPhone is here

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To be precise, it’s the G1 phone from T-Mobile, with the “G” software provided by Google. I did not visit the nearest T-mobile store by Panera, but I saw it from T-mobile web site.

T-mobile G1 phone GPhone

The paradigm shift in Smartphone market
About 3 months ago we have seen the debut of iPhone 3G, now with the GPhone from T-Mobile/Google, suddently the smartphone market in the US became crowded, esp. considering we are entering a recession.

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Don’t count RIM out

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With the iPhone coming, and initial positive review from personal technology Guru such as Walter Mossberg. It’s not easy time for RIM investors and Blackberry users. For one, your friend who gets new iPhone in a few days will laugh your Blackberry is so old tech, with his/her iPhone features touch screen, two fingers zooming in/out a picture, iPod for music and video, all of which a Blackberry can not do. 3G? The Blackberry Bold is coming but at least a month after iPhone launch. Ouch.

But not that fast. While RIM has all the disadvantages compared to iPhone, strangely the blackberries are still selling like crazy, and its subscribers base is also growing: it just added 2.3 million in the quarter ended May 31 (fiscal 1Q 09 call). One thing RIM and Apple users in common is they have kind of cult culture. Check out this and you will get an idea. Seriously I think compared to Apple/iPhone, RIM/Blackberry has the following advantages:

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RIM: bear case, bull case

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Bear case
RIM (Nasdaq: RIMM) missed both top line and bottom line in Q1, and issued not so strong outlook for Q2. Read news from Reuters for more details. Q1 revenue is $2.24 b vs. expected $2.27 b; earning was $0.84 vs. 0.85. While I think missing of bottom line is understandable because of spending in R&D, the revenue miss is not because its competitor iPhone was sold out going into the end of quarter.

Competition from iPhone will intensify. New 3G iPhone will be launched on July 11, and it is deceptively priced at $199. The reason I said “deceptively” is the real owner cost is much higher (see Christopher Null, How the half-price iPhone 3G actually costs you more).

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iPhone, Blackberry

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Missing iPhones are found in China
According to InStat, a market research company, there are about 400,000 unlocked iPhone in China. Most of them are purchased in the US, unlocked and shipped to China later. An interesting side point is Chinese (smart phone) users are mostly for entertainment, while the US users focus on business functionality (email, etc., one reason Blackberry was so successful). Chinese translation from Xinhua:


RIM lawsuit

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Blackberry down

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Yesterday one of the big news (Reuters) in the technology arena is the down of Blackberry (a.k.a., the Crackberry) email sevice in north America. This obviously has huge impact on the business and goverment users as they rely on device for email. But how could this happen? Isn’t blackberry supposed to be more reliable than the mobile phone network: one example is in 911, Dick Chenny got his Blackberry working while many cell phones users in White House and Congress stopped working.

Well, while the Blackberry is usually reliable, it is not perfect. According to the news, it appears the networking center of RIM had a glitch yesterday. As shown in the picture below, every email has to route through RIM’ networking center (or data center).

blackberry architecture pic
(source,, a full size architecture picture can be seen here.)

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Flip flopper

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It appears Politicians are not the only flip floppers. The reason we should not follow analyst blindly.

Citigroup Global Markets analyst Jim Suva, talked about RIMM on early Feb (source: seekingalpha):

“Overall, we believe the points brought up during today’s call are highly supportive of our bull case on RIM. Concerns regarding financial services exposure have been largely debunked, in our view, and we think investors should be encouraged by what seems to be a very low replacement rate at Citi, and financial services in general…”

Mr. Suva reiterates his “buy” rating on RIM, and maintains a $140 price target.

Today, according to Barron’s, CitiGroup analyst thinks RIMM will go down significantly. Let me quote:

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