I’ve been a RIM user for a few months (BellSouth) and a RIM investor for more than a year (bought at $24CDN, thanks!).
I think that the Blackberry is a kick-ass product that acutely hits the market it’s focused on. I also think that, even with the smaller screen of the 950, it is 200% more useful than any of the three Palm Computing devices I’ve owned (and subsequently abandoned to my stack of milk crates containing useless gadgetry).
I certainly hope that we’re not going to get into a debate because your correspondent thinks that the Canadian government is engaging in unfair trade practises and trying to kill the US PDA market with cheaper, inferior products.
Technology Partnerships Canada is a highly elitist and conservative venture capital fund that the government has created to help established companies (not startups) go-to-market and which returns short-term revenue both to the company and to the fund. Beyond the initial grant, TPC his supposed to be %50 self-funding. It goes without saying that TPC has a potential audience of fewer than 200 companies, and RIM is one of a handful of companies (read: NORTEL) for which TPC was specifically created.
The RIM Blackberry is the fastest-to-market wide-area-coverage wireless email device on the market. Full stop. It’s an amazing success story from a company that’s really not the world’s greatest marketer, but with the right push it could unseat Palm and Handspring as the collective heirs apparent to the connected PIM (hell, even just the PIM) market.
The RIM 957 has embarrassed everyone else:
Palm, Minstrel, Microsoft, Handspring, IBM… they were all caught sleeping by the MOBITEX network (of all things!) and the device which exploits it.
If I was RIM I’d be spending that $23M on opening up a can of marketing whup-ass on the PDA guys (looks like they are). Let’s see if the 957 passes the Palm VII in sales in the next few months.