One of the coolest corporate offices I’ve seen.
On the face of it this looks like a really innovative and forward thinking use of tech, providing another way that some clever people are using Twitter for yet another mash-up. This time it has the clout of Vodafone behind it, itself speaking volumes for the medium with some actual investment behind it and solid rationale. Vodafone want to make a song and dance about abolishing roaming charges and by making itself front of mind when thinking about holidaying, it’s doing just that. Clever.
There’s been a lot of buzz about hashtag spamming, most famously used (and abused to horrible effect) by Habitat. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then see more here, here and here. I hope this also serves as a case study for any brand looking to get in to the dark and dangerous waters of the social web of how NOT to do it. When did anyone at Habitat think that using irrelevant messaging would target the relevant and targeted customers who would shop at Habitat.
However, it’s almost as if you’re putting a sign up outside you’re house, “Hello Mr Burglar, just letting you know that I’m off on holiday for 2 weeks so during that time my house will be empty. Feel free to take whatever you like, no one will be here to stop you”
Granted, I’m being a little facetious in so far that you don’t give out your exact address, just providing the first half of your post code but by providing your name (which most people do on their Twitter page) it wouldn’t be hard to find out more if you wanted to.
What I do like though is the ‘Top Destinations’ part of the site which is where you can see which part of the world holiday makers are heading to using #ukhols. Perhaps predictably, considering the people the site would interest, the US was ahead of the curve, with at the time of writing New York being the top destination to be heading to. Paris followed in 2nd place with Vancouver in 3rd.
While the idea for me is more a showcase of the technology and what can be done with it more than it’s something of real value and use, Vodafone have to be applauded for taking a further leap in to the social space. Over the past year, they’ve really made a push for getting involved. Their ‘Live Guy’ campaign, which saw people tracking a man across the UK via GPS and Twitter in order to win a netbook was hugely innovative, engaging and interactive while they recently ran a ‘Twitter Hunt’ to advertise the HTC Magic phone. This is going to be the way of companies looking to engage with savvy internet users who love some shiny new way of engagement, myself included. Thumbs up here.
I was thinking about collating a few of the reviews together in one central place to guage the general concensus on the Blackberry Storm and then saw what we have here to the left only cemented the opinion that it was a worthwhile posting.
A message by the one and only Stephen Fry on Twitter who managed to encapsulate all the reviews I’ve read so far, some weighing in at 5+ pages, all in 140 characters. Another win for Twitter then!
As a tech geek I’ve been watching RIM’s moves in to the consumer market with interest.. Native instant messaging, MySpace and Facebook apps for starters, these aren’t the mainstay of the enterprise user.
I can’t imagine this being the type of PR that RIM expected (especially from someone as influential and with such a wide reach like Stephen Fry) the release of the ‘Storm’ to drum up but as I see it, it’s put itself in direct comparison with the iPhone which has the touch screen experience completely down to a tee.. Obviously it’s not perfect, there are misgivings and sacrifices to be made, but there isn’t anything out there than can touch it (I’m sorry!). The BB Storm goes to show just how good it is.
Both Apple and RIM have tried to win over the different sides, the way I see it is that Apple is (Consumer) and RIM (Enterprise). Apple’s failings whilst making steps in to the enterprise have been well documented. Much of the comments from Stephen Fry above could be quite easily attributed to Apple’s Mobile Me service upon launching, with Steve Job’s admitting that it was unleashed too early and that it was “not up to Apple’s standards.” You can check out the internal mail sent round the company from Jobs here.
Most recently, Al Shipp, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Enterprise Sales left and will not be replaced. Apple’s decision not to replace Shipp may be indicative of its move away from the enterprise space..
An analyst at Forrester did however note that –
“Apple’s singular focus on user experience has resulted in some success in the enterprise – without even trying to break into the market,”
One of the things that the Blackberry does fantastically well, where it’s untouchable (I’ve got to stop with these puns) is the whole enterprise side of things, which it’s positively making steps away from with the more consumer led Blackberry Storm in a bit to get more numbers on board the Blackberry train.
For example, according to a new report, three quarters of the police force are currently using BlackBerry devices while on patrol.
This is due to their accreditation by the Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG). “BlackBerrys were made with security in mind and not as an afterthought.” says RIM senior manager of EMEA public sector sales Graham Baker.
So with all the above in mind, the Storm was expected to be the first major competition to the iPhone. Unfortunately, the very large majority of coverage and reviews say that it’s a great first attempt but more was expected from it.
Or how about this guy who bagged himself a free Blackberry Storm for this tattoo..
A man dubbed ‘T.J’, from Ohio, opted to have a life-size copy of the Storm tattooed on his forearm in order to win a free Storm in a contest entitled “What Would You Do for a BlackBerry Storm?”
“We just wonder what he’ll think of the tattoo once Storm’s been consigned to the great phone bin in the sky and replaced with a faster, sexier and more feature-laden model.” The Register.
If you want to win one where you don’t have to go to such measures, enter here
A round up of a few BB Storm reviews..
PCMag.com – I felt like I was learning to type all over again. I had to get used to the hover-then-click strategy. This slowed me down immeasurably. The other problem with the keyboard is the way the Storm lets you know that you’re over the right key. I often couldn’t see which key was highlighted behind my own thumb. Another major problem I had is that correcting your typing mistakes is hit and miss—or worse. It will often try and suggest proper spellings or words it thinks you’re trying to type. That helped me about 50 percent of the time. The rest of the time, I was typing and retying words. Clicking on the giant button of a screen felt like an unnecessary and unnatural process. If I’m the typical target corporate enterprise customer for the Storm, RIM may have a problem.
Mobile Today – Stores and customer blogs were venting their frustration over the lack of Wi-Fi on the Storm. The decision has been universally interpreted as a means for Vodafone to force customers to go online and download music through its 3G network. Vodafone customer services said: ‘[With the Storm] we’re looking at streamlining people toward the unlimited Vodafone internet package.’ In other words, if you use Wifi then we can’t get any money out of you for using the internet.
The Register – While the Storm comes with Blackberry Internet Solution support, Enterprise integration will cost an additional 16 quid a month – once it’s working. RIM has long tried to position itself as a consumer brand as well as offering the best push email service for business users. The Storm is well equipped to reinforce this perception, but many customers are buying it on the basis that it will also integrate with their Enterprise Solution and are sadly disappointed.
Admiral H – The most exhaustive review I’ve read. – If you absolutely want the best all-in-one device on the market right now, get the iPhone 3G. It’s got the best web browsing, media (photo/music/video & YouTube) experience and their e-mail solution is solid. If you want the best BlackBerry possible, pass on both BlackBerry Bold and BlackBerry Storm and wait for the next one. Both are relatively raw as of this moment. It’s better to wait for the next revision when Research In Motion’s devoted more time into polishing their software. Don’t get me wrong, Research In Motion has done the best job so far of coming up with a true iPhone contender. But it’s no definitely iPhone killer, until they address all the mentioned issues
Gizmodo – The Storm is a strong effort from RIM, but it’s not quite the killer phone that they or Verizon need it to be. It’s good— RIM clearly put a lot of thought into the design. But I think it fall short of what they were aiming for, and ultimately what all the hype is driving people to expect. Some of this is fixable: The damn thing needs to crash less often. But SurePress is not the end-all, be-all of touchscreen technologies—it’s not really an evolutionary step forward, even. The experience may be fairly refined, but more polish is still needed. Had this Storm been left to brew a bit longer, it would’ve been much more powerful
PC World – Ultimately, the Storm’s touch interface feels like a failed experiment. It’s too bad, because the Storm has some nice features and makes a great first impression. I found the Storm awkward to use for everyday data entry tasks. I worry, too, about how well the mechanics of the click screen will hold up under the pressure of continual use by heavy typers. Where touch wasn’t a major issue, the Storm functioned well. The Storm’s camera certainly outshines the iPhone’s, not only in megapixel count, but with regard to its autofocus and flash. The GPS worked well, too. People who were hoping for a credible iPhone alternative fortified with BlackBerry’s strengths as a mobile tool for corporate travelers will likely find the Storm a disappointment. When it comes to touch interfaces, Apple still has no peer.
Engadget – Going into this review, we really wanted to love this phone. The selling points are easy: the phone is gorgeous to look at and hold, it’s designed and backed by RIM (now almost a household name thanks to their prevalence in the business and entertainment markets), and it’s packed with features that, at first glance, make it seem not only as good as the iPhone, but better. The only hitch in this plan is a major one: it’s not as easy, enjoyable, or consistent to use as the iPhone, and the one place where everyone is sure they have an upper hand, that wow-inducing clickable screen.. just isn’t all that great.
On paper it sounds like the perfect antidote to our gripes about the iPhone, and in some ways it lives up to those promises, but more often than not while using the Storm, we felt let down or frustrated. For casual users, the learning curve and complexity of this phone will feel like an instant turn off, and for power users, the lack of a decent typing option and considerable lagginess in software will give them pause. RIM tried to strike some middle ground between form and function, and unfortunately came up short on both. Ultimately, this could be a great platform with a little more time in the oven, but right now, it feels undercooked — and that’s not enough for us.
TIME – After 24 hours of actually testing the new BlackBerry side by side with its main competition — Apple’s iPhone 3G and T-Mobile’s G1 (the “Google phone”) — the novelty quickly wore off. I hate the click screen, and none of the handful of people I let try it had anything nice to say about it either. That’s a shame because the Storm has a slew of handy extras that neither the iPhone nor the G1 can match. But an annoying user interface is a deal breaker. The trouble with having to push down on the entire 3.2-inch screen every time you type a letter or confirm a menu choice is that it slows you down. The idea behind the clickable screen is that it will minimize errors by getting you to think before you press. Instead, it took much of the fun out of using the device.
If, like many Americans, you’re planning to scrimp your way through the holidays, the Storm isn’t worth busting your budget for. Even die-hard BlackBerry fans would be better off with RIM’s new Bold, Pearl or Flip. All three have many of the same pluses as the Storm, minus the drawbacks of the unusual display. This is one storm you’ll want to steer clear of this winter.
Chicago Tribune – Unfortunately, the Storm is more like a flurry, failing to add much more than a trace of innovation. If you use a BlackBerry, you quickly will grasp the basics of how to work this phone. But if you’re a smart phone newbie, the kind of person RIM wants to lure, looking for a touch-screen model, there are better choices. The Storm is sleek and offers nice multimedia functions; videos look great. But navigating the phone can be cumbersome.
Let’s get right to the point: The touch controls on the Storm do not compare with the more responsive iPhone or Google phone. RIM should have included a trackball with the touch controls, like HTC did with T-Mobile’s Google phone. An example: When you want to reply to an e-mail, you hit the menu key to bring up the familiar list of messaging options. The “reply” button is between “save” and “forward,” both of which I frequently hit instead, leading to frustrating back-tracking. A trackball would have alleviated this problem. If you’re looking for a new BlackBerry, my choice would be the Bold.
So if you made it this far, there’s the take of quite a few very well respected blogs. What’s your take on the Blackberry Storm? Do you use one and love it? Interested to hear what you think, I know there’s a lot of Blackberry love out there !