BlackBerry 10 late next year - is that a big deal?

by Volker Weber

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In yesterday's earnings call RIM dropped a small bomb. BlackBerry 10 devices will not be available in the first half of 2012. Is that a big deal? I believe it is. Not because the BlackBerry 7 devices need a quick replacement. The Bold 9900 is a really great device.

The problem is that RIM is over-promising and under-delivering.

In the last earnings call they said they would be providing an update for the PlayBook in October. That sounded like PlayBook 2 was around the corner. It wasn't. At BB Devcon Americas they delivered a beta with the same app suite as 1.0. Even after we pressed hard, they would not say when 2.0 was due. There were still two weeks left in October. Then after BB Devcon they told us it would come out February 2012. This wasn't an update for the PlayBook. It was an update on the PlayBook situation. Huge disappointment.

They announced BBX at BB Devcon Americas, then rebranded it as BlackBerry 10 at BB Devcon Asia. RIM did not say a word about availability of BlackBerry 10. They waited a week, and then told the world, that BlackBerry 10 devices are far away in the future. RIM says the LTE chipsets they need won't be available until the middle of next year. That's probably true.

The elephant in the room however is that RIM cannot deliver software. And that is the big deal.

Comments

I think I used to use Lotus 1-2-3 on my Blackberry.

A long time ago.

Craig Wiseman, 2011-12-16

RIM is toast.

Markus Dierker, 2011-12-16

Care to explain why? They are growing their subscriber base by 30% year over year, they are profitable. They still have the only secure architecture. And they make the best messaging devices. Why would they be toast?

Volker Weber, 2011-12-16

Best messaging devices?

If you don't want to read html mails and pdf attachments on the run, I am with you.

Is anybody really suprised about what is now obviously happening to RIM?

Peter Meuser, 2011-12-16

RIM is toast because their current handhelds are glaringly out of sync with what users are requesting/buying on their own.

They have been promising the world for several years now and have not come even close to delivering.

In a nutshell: Other than for a small, niche market, they no products currently that users would even consider, and they have burned up any faith that they will come through in the far (9 months) future.


Craig Wiseman, 2011-12-16

And yes, RIM has a software quality problem: I just had a look into the long "fixed issues" section of the just released BESD 5.0.3MR6. I now can better understand, why they will more ore less abandon that central piece of the current architecture in favor of the Ubitexx solution.

Peter Meuser, 2011-12-16

I think I have to agree with the rest of the comments. In a world that uses Social networking applications to, organize, protest, crowd source, and communicate, the Blackberry messenger just seems out of date. Could you see any of the last world events of 2011 happen with an ad hoc Blackberry network? nope, You would have, "like 3 people showing up at these things."

The newer, hipper, Internet savy Business crowd is way beyond secure communications, they are about sharing and knowing when to do what and where. What is secure should not be on the network if one is to keep it secure.
One to one email messaging is no longer the preferred method for most communications, just take a look at your mailbox, most of the email is not one to one, so the security point is moot. The pace at which things move and get refactored is way to fast for one to one or even one to a few messaging. This is where the battle has been lost for RIM. I had the first RIM model that looked like a big skypager, I know RIM, had a few Berry's in my day. They were fine when I had less then 1 Mb download speeds on my device(s). Plain text made since then. Now its about video, voice annotations, document attachments, and web page links to view and react on.

The first iPhone I got changed the way I used my laptop. The second iPhone I got changed the way I used my desktop, The last iPhone I got changed the way I schedule meetings, send tweets, search the web and do Integrals. Right now we want to carry on a conversation with the device and anything less then that is not going to work for us. It saves time and will save lifes as people keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel! Siri, when is my next meeting? okay, call Darrell on his cell phone.

Rich Hunter, 2011-12-16

It seems Blackberry Messenger worked well enough to organise the recent riots in London. And if I’m not mistaken more than three people showed up….

The devices and the technology are not the problem. They work. RIM just keeps shooting themselves in the foot at an astonishing speed. The best thing to do is grab some popcorn, lean back and watch.

Max Nierbauer, 2011-12-17

Research in slow motion?

Juergen Heinrich, 2011-12-19

Probably because of what I do for a living, I'm always observant about the phones that people around me (on a train, at the airport, in Starbucks) are using. I guess it wouldn't surprise you to know that iPhones win that casually-observed market share battle, but BlackBerries are a very close second. Then Android, and then (at the moment) Windows Phone a long way back. That says that RIM have a large installed base, but not necessarily that they're shipping enough new units.

If I sit down with a customer and discuss it, BlackBerry is the winner, hands down. However, probably not a surprise, a lot of businesses are starting to talk about supporting the employees' own devices. And then I think we'll see the big change )if we haven't already). The future may be not so much about what the business opts for, but what the employees bring to the party. There will be compromises on both sides... the employees will have to accept extra security on their devices, maybe even a solution which sandboxes the company data.

My conclusion is that RIM will have to do better in the battle for personal device adoption, and although personally I'm a big fan (agree, love the 9900) I don't think their current range of devices will capture the hearts and minds. They really need something major NOW, not late next year... otherwise I do fear that they will lose their market share in a big way.

Darren Adams, 2011-12-21

Darren, very good observation. You are indeed a very smart guy. As if I ever had any doubts. :-)

Volker Weber, 2011-12-21

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