I’m happy that RIM’s presence in the Philippines has upgraded itself into a more intimate level. Back then, any semblance of RIM or the Blackberry had to come from the corporate marketing arm of telcos Globe and SMART. Warranty took forever because the items had to be shipped to Canada. Case in point: my Blackberry Pearl is still under the care of SMART’s Infinity guys and it’s been roughly 2 years since I last saw it. So I was really curious to know what the deal was with RIM coming to the Philippines. My guesses were:
- They wanted to do their own marketing efforts devoid of the telcos that discussed pricing more than features and benefits
- They’ve moved into heavy consumer marketing thanks to the Pearl since their pinnacle of growth in 2008 (4,000 employees to 12,000 in 2009), thus the expansion
- They’re launching the app store but need to do a lot of NTC stuff to get things going
Whatever reasons abound, it’s about time that they’re here! And they’ve been busy. Two weeks after the Storm demonstrations, RIM launched the 8520 Curve in Manila making this the cheapest BlackBerry device ever to be released. In the USA, the 8520 goes for USD $120.00. It technically should be as cheap here in the Philippines. But the biggest clincher is the fact that the 8520 is the first Mac OS compatible BlackBerry unit. Previously, I had to use third party conduits such as SyncMate, Pocket Mac Sync for BlackBerry, and Missing Sync for BlackBerry which were not 100% reliable. There would always be a contact missing or a lone file that wandered about, not making its way to the sync folders.
I think the one big problem with the BlackBerry is consumer perception. Unlike early adopters, they think these phones are just like any other brand. They don’t understand why it has to have a different set of rates for post paid line subscription. Here’s an attempt to explain it. RIM’s technology has to do more with data compression and pushing email to your phone. So not only is your email treated like instantaneous SMS (sometimes you really can’t tell the difference if someone is emailing or SMS’ing you), the data required to push that information to you is efficient.
Follow me. So a 1MB transmission on a regular phone is very different from 1MB on the BlackBerry. You actually save in per MB costs. Which is also why, if you start browsing the Internet using the SMART or Globe Internet service on your RIM device, you are charged a tremendous amount of money with a per kb charge rather than time. This is perhaps the only flaw in the system. But built in BlackBerry apps such as Yahoo! Messenger, BlackBerry Messenger, Facebook, and the like, compress data at such an amazing rate.
I honestly wish RIM the best of times here in the Philippines. Such a huge potential to grow an appreciation for data (geeky, I know, albeit profound). 🙂