BBM coming to iPhone and Android

May 14, 2013

The long awaited Black Berry Messaging service is coming to iOS and Android phones.

This move has been rumored for over a year yet it was a surprising news. BBM will come to iOS 6 devices and will work on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and higher. The app will be free and bring cross-platform messaging between BlackBerry, iOS and Android users.

BBM has 60 million active monthly users — certainly nothing to sneeze at — but in the years since it reigned supreme, the messaging space has drastically changed. Apple’s BBM copycat service iMessage boasts over 140 million users. Other services, including MessageMe, GroupMe and Facebook Messenger boast equally large and growing users bases.

And then there’s WhatsApp. More than 10 billion WhatsApp messages are sent each day and its user base is easily in the hundreds of millions. The service is widely successful in emerging markets — exactly the markets that BlackBerry cites as its core BBM user base. WhatsApp is also on a ton of platforms — including Windows Phone, Symbian and, yes, BlackBerry 10.

BlackBerry will argue that BBM is more than just chat — it has groups, the ability to send files and more — but, for users on other platforms, that might be just a semantic difference.

The proposition of bringing BBM to iOS and Android was something that made sense — and was potentially disruptive — back in 2009 or even 2010. In 2013, the onus will be on BlackBerry — and, really, BBM users — to convince other users to switch and use the app.

At a press session after the announcement, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said that he believed a core differentiator between BBM and WhatsApp is that BBM is free. Of course, there are other free services out there, including Facebook Messenger. Still, Heins has a point about free being a potentially big driver in adoption.

One area where BBM could improve its cross-platform experience is around the idea of the PIN. Remembering and finding user PIN numbers can be difficult. WhatsApp and iMessage are so successful in part because these services employ a user’s existing phone number. In the case of iMessage, the experience is actually seamless with SMS, working in the same application and the same way.

Regardless, the crowded messaging space just got a bit more crowded. Let us know what you think about BBM coming to iOS and Android in the comments.


Consumers Are Clueless About 4G

September 13, 2011

On a rare cab ride to work a couple months ago, my driver, upon hearing that I “write about cell phones for a living,” proceeded to tell me about his great new 4G phone.


He waxed at length about how much faster it was than his old phone, and how excited he was about all the apps he could download, even stating that it was just as good as the “i4,” which I took to mean the iPhone 4. For him, the phone’s 4G capabilities were a big selling point.


That’s great, I thought, except we didn’t have any 4G service in Madison, Wis., at the time. Not from Sprint, not from AT&T, not from T-Mobile USA, not even from Verizon Wireless, which has since launched LTE here.


I’m not sure what my cab driver thought 4G was. He may have thought the device, which I discerned from my vantage point in the back seat was one of Sprint’s Android-based smartphones from Samsung, got 4G service in Madison, or he may have just thought the term meant the new handset was better than his old device.


One thing was clear, however: He was sorely mistaken if he thought he was getting connection to a 4G network.


How Good Business Ethics May Help You Survive

December 7, 2009

business-ethicsIn a world where many cut corners, it can be very tempting to do the same. However, time has shown that a faithful and loyal following of clients can help you survive in times of trial such as the recession we currently have all around us. In order to achieve this type of business you need to ensure the following:

  • decent warranties – you keep your promises
  • clear money-back guarantee – if a customer is dissatisfied, give them their money back
  • good bonus systems for clients who come back
  • discounts for large quantity orders
  • good back-office – reply e-mails within 48 hours

You can have combinations of the above mentioned points. In some businesses all may apply, in others only one or two may be relevant. I will be looking at a couple of them to give you an idea of why good business ethics pay off on the long-term.

Bonus for large quantity orders

When you offer a bonus, you have a good chance people will buy for family and friends also. At this time, in October, you have the great x-mas seasonal sales just around the corner. Imagine being able to sell 5 products at a time instead of having to wrap single products constantly. It’s a whole different form of sales, saving you literally hundreds of dollars in personel expenses.

Recurring income – clients who return

Clients who return are happy customers. Keep that in mind, because getting new customers can be pretty expensive. You see 5 figure ads being released every single week (or month) in magazines, and they have very little effect if the companies behind these didn’t take good care of their customers. When you ensure they come back for more, you have recurring income. It’s the best form of income any company can get.

Good back-office – reply e-mails within 48 hours

It’s one of the most overlooked business secrets around, but replies for e-mails are some of the most wanted functions when clients try to find out whether to do business with you. Very often, e-mails will be lying around on desktops for days before a reply is sent, and it sends all the wrong signs to people who are trying to get in touch with your company.

Each of the above points are part of good and decent business ethics. You need to be careful about your credibility online. People will react when you deal poorly with your customers, and it’s never any good idea to save a few bucks to lose a fortune in your online credibility.

So, be decent in your business dealings. It’s well worth it.

Article Source: Ezine Articles

Protect Your Cash or Lose Your Business

December 3, 2009

It seems like every week there’s another story about a small business owner who’s been ripped off by someone they trusted with their hard earned cash. Just last week, my plumber said he was probably going to file for bankruptcy because his trusted office manager took off with $60k of the company’s funds.

Red alert folks!
You must have controls in place in your business to protect what you have worked so hard to achieve. Yes, it can happen to you and your business will suffer for it.
Here’s proof. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) survey conducted earlier this year reported that more than half (55.4 percent) of respondents said the level of fraud has slightly or significantly increased in the previous 12 months compared to the level of fraud they investigated or observed in years prior. Additionally, about half (49.1 percent) of respondents cited increased financial pressure as the biggest factor contributing to the increase in fraud, compared to increased opportunity (27.1 percent) and increased rationalization (23.7 percent).
There’s no time like the present to make sure you are protected. Here are six things you can do to safeguard your cash flow.

1.    Hire properly — Yes, I know your niece (nephew, neighbor, friend’s husband or wife, trusted colleague, etc.) is someone who you’ve known for a good long time. They are someone you trust. But that doesn’t mean you can skip the steps to make sure they are a good fit for your business. No matter who you are hiring, you need to conduct a background check to ensure there are no surprises. And you need to conduct an interview to confirm their values are the kind you want demonstrated in your business.

2.    Spread the wealth (so to speak!) — Responsibilities for handling financial transactions in your business should never be assigned to just one person. You should never allow only one person to perform the task of recording and authorizing incoming and outgoing transactions. At least two people should share this responsibility. And by all means make sure that this person isn’t the only one with signature authority.

3.    Check and balance — Audits should be commonplace in your business. At least once per quarter there should be a scheduled audit of your financial transactions. Plus a surprise audit on a regular basis will keep everyone on their toes too. Internal audits are fine as long as they’re not conducted by the people who process your financial transactions, but you’ll want at least one audit per year conducted by an outside party.

4.    Open communication — Your company culture should foster an environment that makes it easy for staff to raise issues if they see them. No one wants to be a tattletale and often people won’t report what they see because they are afraid of what the repercussions might be. Give them a safe and anonymous way to report things that they think are not quite right. They could save you thousands!

5.    Take a break — Require everyone in your company to take a vacation of at least a week. Often fraudsters will avoid a vacation like the plague because of their fear that their actions will be uncovered. Don’t let tasks sit idle while they are gone. That won’t help protect your business from fraud if everything is waiting for the same person when they return to work.

6.    Model integrity — Trustworthy people work for trustworthy employers. If you like to bend the rules, you are implicitly giving your staff permission to do the same. Just don’t do it. Be the model they want to emulate.
Don’t lose your business because one of your staff decided to help themselves to your profits. Take the time to implement proper financial controls and you’ll sleep a lot better at night.

SOURCE: Open Forum