Tricia Duryee, mocoNews.net
Research In Motion's BlackBerry has launched an application aimed at U2 fans through its partnership with the popular Irish band that is currently on tour to promote the album, "No Line on the Horizon."
Unfortunately, the application can only be considered late given that the tour is more than halfway over, and more likely can be considered a complete bust because it does not feature full-length songs, unlike the name would suggest, "U2 Mobile Album." In addition, despite BlackBerry being the tour's official sponsor, there are no tie-ins between the application and the live concerts, which misses a big opportunity for the historically enterprise-focused company to appear more consumer-friendly.
The free application launched Sept. 14, according to the BlackBerry App World, but it seems like the company only started publicizing it today in emails, which details how users can download it.
In an online demo, RIM provides an overview of the four main parts: music, news, a photo gallery and information about tour dates. In online reviews, users generally like the application, but also complain that it's a bit deceiving. As one user points out: "It only streams intro clips of the songs, and not the full length songs. I feel like I'm being advertised to. Not a useful app, it's a sale gimmick for the album."
The timing of the application must be disappointing for everyone involved--RIM (NSDQ: RIMM), U2 and the fans. In March, it was announced that BlackBerry was going to be the sponsor for U2's tour, and then on July 2, RIM first started advertising the "mobile album" as the tour kicked off. But it took more than two months from that date to get the application out to the masses. At this point, there are only 15 shows remaining, including tonight's show in Boston.
Beyond timing, the application is also missing out what could be a big opportunity. In the online demo, it says new features are coming soon, including the ability to chat with friends at shows and meet other fans from around the world. It makes you wonder, however, if these features will even come out before the tour ends?
To be sure, it seems like the mobile application was one of the big reasons why BlackBerry sponsored the tour. BlackBerry wasn't in it for the tons of promotional tie-ins once you get into your seat. In a very blunt piece in the Boy Genius Report, the author writes about going to see the U2 concert and notes, while BlackBerry may love U2, but "U2 doesn't love BlackBerry." He writes: "What's so unsettling is how disconnected RIM was from the event. Sure, there were a couple banners strewn about Soldier Field, but no one noticed. And the folks that did notice didn't care. Instead of using this opportunity to push their brand forward, it almost seems like just a second thought to throw some quick marketing dollars to try act like your company is doing something in the consumer and 'cool' department."
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