Why would the Lightning connector matter to BlackBerry users you ask? In one word. Fragmentation.
Apple has fragmented their connector platform. 3rd party accessory manufacturers had the 30pin connector that they knew if they made an accessory with that 30pin connector over 100million devices could use it. With the introduction of the Lightning connector they don’t have that anymore.
Now, 3rd party accessory manufacturers are faced with multiple choices. Should they embrace the Lightning connector only and assume that Apple’s faithful fan base will upgrade to Lightning supported devices? Do they manufacturer only for the 30pin legacy connector and hope people purchase adapters? Or do they manufacture the device with both connectors?
Looking at the Lightning connector it seems Apple will be more strict with who they let use the connector. According to Tech Crunch, Apple will manufacture the connector and sell it to its MFi partners. We all know Apple isn’t one to sell things cheaply so manufacturing with the lightning connector will eat into 3 rd party accessory manufacturers margins.
KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told AppleInsider that the manufacturing costs of the Lightning connector is $3.50 which is a 775%
increase over the $0.40 of the 30Pin connector. With factors like this the choice isn’t easy for 3rd Party accessory makers, but that is just the start of it. Apple isn’t the #1 smartphone manufacturer globally, and Apples Tablet market share has been shrinking. Accessory manufacturers must consider Samsung, who’s phones use the MicroUSB Universal standard.
With Android representing 75% or so of device sales last quarter Accessory makers must take notice. What is the best way to address the 100million + iOS devices, and the quickly growing Android Army lead by 30 million Samsung galaxy 3s?
Bluetooth is the perfect solution for 3rd party device makers since all manufacturers have embraced Bluetooth. This technology would have the furthest reach. Bluetooth 4 is broken down into 2 types: Smart Ready and Smart.
Smart Ready devices are devices made to connect with other devices. This is the traditional Bluetooth smartphones with Bluetooth 4 being called Smart Ready. Bluetooth Smart is what 3 rd Party accessory manufacturers should be embracing now that the lightning connector has increased costs, and Samsung has become the #1 smartphone manufacturer by volume (with RIM being #1 in our hearts).
Devices/accessories designed around Bluetooth smart are made to gather/collect specific information. Accessories like heart monitors and watches, alarm clocks would just need to be BT Smart and connect to BT smart ready devices like our phones.
Bluetooth Smart Ready & Smart are a competitive product to NFC. Sine Apple embraced the Bluetooth standard and ignored NFC it would be the most wise for 3rd Party manufacturers to embrace Bluetooth.
So where does BlackBerry come into this?
According to the specs we reported about here, the BlackBerry DevAlphaB is equipped with Bluetooth 4.0LE (LE mean low energy). What this means is that RIM’s BlackBerry 10 headsets will most likely accommodate the Bluetooth Smart Ready standard.
Meaning, if I’m correct in my thoughts, 3rd party accessory makers are left with a conundrum of how to support the different connectors it opens the door to RIM being able to connect with all the accessories that will be made for Apple and Samsung that don’t have proprietary ports.
I don’t thank Apple often but this introduction of the lightning connector at a time when Samsung is doing so well and BlackBerry is at the cusp of a rebirth just makes me want to give a big Thank you Apple!
I will hopefully have a BT connected alarm clock for my BlackBerry 10 device. What accessories/docking stations do you see in stores and wish they were compatible with your BlackBerry?
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