It’s over three months since our last post; I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus while trying to follow trends in IP-based communications, smartphones and tablets. Skype has been evolving as a Microsoft offering that supports multiple platforms, especially on mobile devices. Also, under a new CEO, we are only just now getting a handle on where John Chen is taking BlackBerry. On the other hand I have remained active on Twitter and FaceBook, and launched a BBM Channel (C0004ABB2 – now available on BBM for iOS and Android) to get a feeling for how BBM differentiates as a social networking platform.
During this time I have been involved in the development of a new version of an application for mobile devices, acquired an iPad Air for both business and personal use and an Android tablet (for testing). Today the recently released BlackBerry Z30 showed up at my office. As a result of this experience and the launch of software updates to many of my platforms I intend to cover a few issues such as:
Skype on Mobile – new versions of Skype on iOS, Android and BlackBerry have not only improved video calling resolution but also moved towards a common user interface and improved the back end support of audio and video calling. Skype has also added Video Messaging and has merged Skype Chat with Windows Live Messenger (with mixed reception). On the other hand the reduction of support for the Skype for Windows Desktop API’s to call recording and embedded Skype hardware raises questions about how Microsoft sees the future of the Skype ecosystem.
BlackBerry – we’ve seen a new business structure, along with new senior management, and are just now getting a feel for the changes that John Chen sees are required to leverage BlackBerry’s rich technology portfolio back into a profitable business. Users of the recently released BlackBerry Z30 are giving positive reviews; I’ll provide an initial review next week. And there’s a strong focus on leveraging QNX for its industrial-grade robustness and BlackBerry’s relationship with the auto industry. Finally BlackBerry’s 10.2.1 OS is the operating system that BlackBerry really needed at launch; I can say that I am now running a couple of dozen Android apps as a result of its support of native Android apps.
One other development: call my BlackBerry phone number and I may answer on one of my PC’s (Windows or Mac), my iPad Air, my iPhone 5 or my Samsung Galaxy Tab. More on that in an upcoming post about Rogers One Number. Did I mention that Rogers new Data Sharing plans has allowed me to reduce my overall wireless bill for three phones by over 25%? At the same time, the evolution of Rogers One Number was the final nail in the coffin for ending my long time business landline; I’m only on mobile now.
Finally in a few weeks I’ll talk about the application whose development I have been assisting and the experience of using an intermediary tool to simultaneously develop for iOS, Android and Blackberry.