Can RIM's Cloud push recapture BlackBerry magic?

RIM says it is going big into the cloud with its Microsoft alliance. What kind of boost will this give BlackBerry?

RIMs BlackBerry has been steadily losing share in the smart phone market, but RIM hopes it could use the cloud computing space to offer something new and exciting like it did when it came out with its then-revolutionary push e-mail service over a decade ago.

During a presentation that Alec Taylor, vice president, software, services and enterprise marketing for RIM gave Thursday, cloud applications have become "core to RIM's strategy." Taylor also claimed that RIM is "positioned to lead in mobile cloud services."

As part of its push into the cloud, RIM said it has formed a partnership with Microsoft to offer Office 365 Web-based office applications, which include SharePoint, Exchange, and Lync. RIM said BlackBerry and soon-to-be launched Playbook tablet customers will be able to use Microsoft Office 365 over the cloud free of charge in the middle of the year.

RIM says its announcement with Microsoft represents one example of many new cloud services it will offer its users. But corporate posturing aside, what does RIM's push into the cloud mean for the small business user? That mostly remains to be seen, but I know what I would like to see.

A major peeve I have always had with my BlackBerry, as well as with any other kind of Android, iPhone, or smart phone device for that matter, is how hard it is to share data with workstations, whether tethered directly to a PC or to a LAN. Sure, you can use BlackBerry's sync software to share data with PCs, but it is clunky, to say the least. Being able to use a BlackBerry or RIM's upcoming Playbook to seamlessly share data and access applications over the cloud with different PCs and devices as easily as you can between PCs on a LAN could make RIM's devices exciting again.

I also would love one day to be able to use a BlackBerry for all of my computing tasks over the cloud, whether for storage, office, or any other application. That way, I could work anywhere and everywhere with nothing but my mobile device.

But for a variety of reasons -- not least of which are unresolved security concerns -- the real role the cloud will play in the future of computing has yet to be determined and does not depend much on RIM.

RIM's Microsoft announcement is hardly earth-shattering, as the company will likely never capture the magic again like it did when it captivated the business world with its first BlackBerry devices. RIM will also face stiff competition in the mobile space from Google, Android, and the search giant's cloud services. At least RIM's announcement that it will offer Microsoft's cloud-based office applications is a step in the right direction. RIM also says there is a lot more to come, but only the future will tell how successful it will be.

Bruce covers tech trends in the United States and Europe and tweets at @brucegain.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags consumer electronicsMicrosoftCloudCell PhonesPhonescloud computinginternetRIM BlackBerry

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Bruce Gain

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?