Dells Good Deed

By eweek  |  Posted 2003-05-02 Print this article Print

This week, RIM became one of the last major mobile device makers to preview, much less announce, color support for its devices. RIM has moved so slowly that Good has been able to release software that effectively replaces RIMs operating system on its own devices with one that is winning raves and key distribution partnerships. This week, Dell Computer announced that it would not only start selling GoodLinks (which are clearly "inspired" by the BlackBerry) but work with Good on future devices. This puts Good on board the Dell sales express train that has powered the adipose Axim to the #4 spot in the PDA market in its second quarter of availability. Things look pretty grim for RIM. With such broad and aggressive operating system licensing from three major competitors—Microsoft, PalmSource and Symbian—the company cant really cling to a mobile messaging niche. Competition has turned that application into a feature. Especially given its limited resources, RIM must expand and extend its history of partnerships and find a way to leverage what IT success its had into a platform for developing other kinds of enterprise mobile apps.
Java is a good platform to offer IT developers, but how about embracing open-source developers the way Sharp did with its Linux-based Zaurus? Including an application like Trillian that will bridge multiple IM networks or one by Communicator Inc. to provide secure IM? Or licensing Flash to add some zing to that upcoming color model and even further lower the barrier to application development? On the hardware side, when will RIM add any kind of local network connectivity? If RIM doesnt do something radical soon to broaden its appeal, BlackBerry devices could soon become no more than hosts for the soul of a new machine, one powered by an upstart competitor.
Will the brains behind BlackBerry break out of their rut or is RIM shot? E-mail me. Wireless Supersite Editor Ross Rubin is a senior analyst at eMarketer. He has researched wireless communications since 1994 and has been covering technology since 1989. More from Ross Rubin:


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