This morning, Research in Motion (RIM) will broadcast the launch of long-awaited BlackBerry 10 over the Internet. The event will happen simultaneously in New York, Toronto, London, Paris, Dubai, Johannesburg, Jakarta and Delhi. Viewers will see the unveiling of the first two BlackBerry 10 smart phones, one completely touch and the other sporting a QWERTY keyboard.
BB10 supposedly combines a best-in-class browser, a rich application ecosystem, and cutting-edge multimedia capabilities. RIM claims that BlackBerry Flow, BB10's all-new touch interface, provides a user experience unlike any smart phone on the market today. Other notable features include BlackBerry Hub, BlackBerry Balance, an ingenious built-in camera, and an innovative virtual keyboard.
The big question is whether BlackBerry 10 will give BlackBerry loyalists the cure for iPhone and Android envy they desperately need. Otherwise, RIM's ebbing market share, particularly among consumers, could continue.
To say that a lot hinges on BB10 is an understatement. To showcase the new OS and quash to the notion that the company is headed for oblivion, RIM will be among those paying big bucks Sunday to run a TV spot during the broadcast of Super Bowl XLVII.
BlackBerry still retains a large number of enterprise customers, but BYOD has more and more system managers looking at the iPhone, iPad, and ANDROID-powered devices. Some analysts think BlackBerry 10 has a better chance of competing against Windows 8 smart phones than Apple's iOS-powered juggernauts, but only time will tell.
The live webcast of the BlackBerry 10 Launch Event will begin at 9 a.m. New Orleans time and can be viewed at www1.rim.com/newsroom.html.
More information about BlackBerry 10 can be found at BlackBerry.com/BlackBerry10.
Should your next notebook be a Chromebook?
The other day, a viewer stopped me at the home improvement store to complain about the prices of items I show on the Fox 8 Morning News. "$1,399 for an ultrabook; $1,999 for a hybrid; $2,300 for a Mac? Who's got that kind of money!? Why don't you show something people can afford?"
Very well. Let's talk about a Chromebook, a notebook computer that starts at $199!
A Chromebook doesn't run Windows. It runs Google's Chrome OS, which allows it to boot-up in seconds, browse the Web using the Chrome browser, and run popular Google apps, such as Gmail, YouTube and Hangouts.
Chromebooks automatically update themselves, so your notebook always has the latest version of the operating system. Setup is minimal, virus protection is built-in, and your files are automatically backed up in the cloud.
Unlike with other operating systems, you don't need to install patches and software. The only downside is Chromebooks must be connected to the Internet to do most of what they're capable. Models with 3G connectivity, which usually include a free 100 MB-per-month data plan, are available, but prices quickly reach the level of bargain laptops running Windows.
The Web-centric nature of Chromebooks, however, hasn't prevented Wi-Fi-only models, like the Acer C7, shown today on the Fox 8 News Morning Edition, from selling like hotcakes.
Acer President Jim Wong recently stated that his Taipei-based company is having more success with Chromebooks than Windows 8. The company's C7 notebook reportedly accounts for between 5 to 10 percent of the company's U.S. shipments. Reports say that another Chromebook, the Samsung S3, is currently the #1 best selling laptop on Amazon.com.
Is a Chromebook right for you? It depends. Google's interpretation of the netbook will satisfy the needs of young children, users with casual Web consumption needs, or students looking for an inexpensive way to write papers. Beyond that, the usefulness of the device might be quickly called into question.