RIM reportedly developing Apple TV rival, codenamed “BlackBerry Cyclone”

It’s no secret that Research In Motion is a company with a lot of problems. In recent weeks, mainstream media, the tech community and the blogosphere at large have all been abuzz with discussion of ‘what went wrong’ at RIM, with extraordinary stories from current and former employees and executives painting an unflattering picture of an organisation in deep denial of its current situation, and one that has struggled to respond to developments and disruptions in the marketplace.

But despite the many tales of woe, they’re not ready to give up the fight just yet and – if reports from NerdBerry.net are accurate – it seems that RIM is planning to establish a new major product line, joining its vast range of mobile handsets and the new PlayBook tablet.

Codenamed “BlackBerry Cyclone”, the new device is a media hub, similar in concept to Apple TV. Connecting to a display via HDMI, the Cyclone will be WiFi-enabled, allowing it to pull content from the web and from other devices on the same local network. Native Netflix and YouTube streaming support are also expected to be key features.

As of yet, there’s no information on what operating system will power the Cyclone, but with BlackBerry in the midst of a transition to QNX on its mobile devices, it’s probably safe to assume that QNX will be the OS of choice for the new media box, when it arrives later this year.

Creating an Apple TV competitor is certainly a curious direction for RIM, which has always unashamedly focused its efforts on business and enterprise markets, rather than developing products for the consumer. Even with Apple’s extraordinary consumer market share, and the vast repository of content available through iTunes, the Apple TV hasn’t been a major success – and given the increasing competition in this niche market, from the likes of Boxee, Roku and Google TV, it will be interesting to see what tricks RIM has up its sleeve to establish its new product in this crowded space.  

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20 Comments

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Well, the company is going to be forced to split in two by the board if they don't turn around in the next six months.

I don't see this going anywhere.

I am so tired of companies trying to play catch up and one-up one another and last year's devices for a share of the upcoming years profits...

How about, you know, actually being inventive and coming up with something totally new and unique rather than trying to copy and reboot and rehash and add a black screen vs a white one and a .00005 inch larger touch screen then expect people to 'oooooooo' and 'ahhhhhhhhh'.

From Hollywood to hardware, to software... it's almost never about innovation, but rather status quo. For goodness sakes, where did humanity's drive go? It's like it got sucked out of everyone about 40 years ago.

From a business perspective, you can't just take risks for the sake of taking risks. Also, there has been a lot of innovation over the last 40 years. I'm glad RIM is making a product to compete against Apple TV. I keep up with tech news and I only know of a couple of other media hubs: Google TV and Boxee Box. As they always say, competition drives innovation. If anything, this may force companies like Google, Apple, and D-Link to make better digital media receivers.

Anaron said,
From a business perspective, you can't just take risks for the sake of taking risks. Also, there has been a lot of innovation over the last 40 years. I'm glad RIM is making a product to compete against Apple TV. I keep up with tech news and I only know of a couple of other media hubs: Google TV and Boxee Box. As they always say, competition drives innovation. If anything, this may force companies like Google, Apple, and D-Link to make better digital media receivers.

All of what you said points back to less innovation and more one-uping... so if they keep all competing with each other for the same dang thing, maybe one day someone will get it right? That isn't innovation, that is stagnation with minor adaptation to appease the shareholders.

As for the risk for risks sake... no one suggested that. How about seeing what might be useful and, you know, making headway towards that. In the last 40 years, you have had products mature, but really, only a handful of companies/people around the world have innovated boo hoo in all that time.

Millions are spent tweaking a small feature of a device so you have one less peep of static, or one more second of battery life rather than seeing a staggering new product brought to market that will not only crush the competition, but swing the masses to you.

Strange that they would compare the new media hub to apple TV. Why would they not compare it to xbox 360?!.. Apple TV has not really been a success just like Google TV.. The only one that has had huge success is Microsoft with Xbox 360 and Sony with the Playstation.. They are not gaming consoles anymore.

Lachlan said,
Strange that they would compare the new media hub to apple TV. Why would they not compare it to xbox 360?!.. Apple TV has not really been a success just like Google TV.. The only one that has had huge success is Microsoft with Xbox 360 and Sony with the Playstation.. They are not gaming consoles anymore.
Well... the major feature that's perceived by most people is that it's a game console. What comes out of RIM wouldn't be - it would be much closer to what Apple has done. But it isn't a good market to go into lol.

I'm sure the only way you'll be able to control/sync it is through a Blackberry. RIM is well on its way to becoming post-RAZR/pre-Android Motorola.

SiLeNtDeAtH said,
Hey RIM: just a suggestion here, but why don't you focus on developing a phone OS that isn't complete crap...mmmmkay?
+1.

hurr durr "BB is much better it has BBM!" Who doesn't have unlimited text's on a smartphone, and who doesn't have MSN/FBChat/AIM. WP7 has 2 of thise embedded into the text threads now too. heh.

SiLeNtDeAtH said,
Hey RIM: just a suggestion here, but why don't you focus on developing a phone OS that isn't complete crap...mmmmkay?

QFT !!!!!!!!

Xerax said,
+1.

hurr durr "BB is much better it has BBM!" Who doesn't have unlimited text's on a smartphone, and who doesn't have MSN/FBChat/AIM. WP7 has 2 of thise embedded into the text threads now too. heh.

I use BBM to message from where I am in the world to other people in the world instantly. I know you give valid alternatives but for business they are not suitable and email is not instant - Delivery, Read notifications etc.

I am looking forward to seeing how Apple;s iMessage or what ever they called it turns out because I think we would jump ship to iPhone if it turns out to be close to BBM.