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RIM’s BlackBerry Device Roadmap for 2010?

I am not sure what information RBC analyst Mike Abramsky was using to develop this roadmap put out by BusinessInsider but the info looks in line with what we currently know. He marks the Bold (Torch?) 9800 slider coming out for AT&T in Aug 2010 which is a bit later than the July-ish release date we were hearing before. The device will be exclusive to AT&T for 6 months which might add some contention like the Bold 9000 launch. It is also right on schedule with what we have been hearing about the release of OS 6 with the new WebKit browser.


It will be kind of crazy if RIM manages to pull off all of these device launches before the end of year but something tells me they will leak into 2011. I still find it kind of annoying that the Curve 9300 will probably not get OS 6 at launch but I guess RIM needs to continually update their device line.

What do you think of this roadmap? Is RIM on the right track? Personally I find the devices less exciting than the software that will be coming on them. I think RIM needs to continue differentiating on software and its features since the hardware is not changing drastically.

4 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. When is RIM going to realize that the users want touchscreen devices! We all saw that eye catching video of BlackBerry 6 on a touchscreen device. Yay! But this roadmap appears to be contrary to that. The reality is that RIM is stuck in the world of hard keyboards. Hard keyboards are fine perhaps for some users, but far too many of RIM’s products have them, including every one of the upcoming devices in 2010! What about users who want more screen space to browse the Internet for research or just for fun? I don’t want to carry my laptop when I have my BlackBerry. That should be the goal!

    RIM, please don’t fall asleep at the wheel. Why not develop the Storm line further? The Storm 2 is nice, but it is already obsolete, and the current OS 5.0 browser is far too slow and disappointing to use. With only 256 MB RAM, it will likely not get an upgrade to OS 6. If it does, there is no room for apps! Perhaps the new 9800 will be the only one in RIM’s arsenal that can truly showcase the new webkit browser and put BlackBerry on the same page as the iPhone and Android for web browsing experience. If RIM has such a fantastic browser which can put them on equal footing with the competition, scream it out! Showcase it with newer devices featuring large touchscreens! The 9800 won’t please everyone as many won’t want to carry a thicker device with a hard keyboard they won’t necessarily use.

    This “roadmap” was fine in 2008, but in 2010 we are just not seeing the evolution of BlackBerry towards being web-friendly. RIM is holding back and holding on to its base. The best way to beat the competition is to SHOWCASE what you’ve got.

    RIM’s competition have heard and understood that message loud and clear, and they are pushing large touchscreen devices such as the new Droid X and even the Dell Streak. Apple’s new iPhone 4 is shouting to the public, “We have the sharpest display to enhance your web experience…” Motorola and HTC are selling Androids with 4.3-inch displays — more display space equals more sophisticated apps… and a better user experience! They are all pushing the envelope on what is possible: larger screen sizes, faster 1 GHz and 2 GHz CPUs, larger on-board RAM, faster 4G data rates. I can’t believe RIM is still releasing devices today that are not even 3G capable. So disappointing!

    iPhone, Android? Do they have hard keyboards? They’ve seen the light. BlackBerry has to evolve from a simple messaging device and embrace the Internet for where it’s going: web apps! To browse the web, you need screen space… which is what the competition is giving web-addicted users. What is RIM doing for us now?

    I have a Storm 9550 running OS 5.0. With only 128 MB RAM, the device is very limiting. I can’t easily upgrade to a Storm 2 without paying a huge penalty. I have the screen space but not the browser to take advantage of it or the memory to support it. I can’t install any more apps so, for me, why even visit App World? If RIM wants App World and BlackBerry apps to proliferate, put more RAM in the devices! “If you build it, they will come…” As my term is coming to an end, what new touchscreen BlackBerry device can I look forward to? Please don’t suggest a 9800.

    The main reasons I carry a BlackBerry is: 1. Security (built-in app security, encryption, etc.); 2. Robust & reliable hardware; 2. Superior messaging. I hope to see RIM build on their strengths!

    Question to RIM: are you willing to go the path of obsolescence? I tell you this, you are walking that path right now.

    I have three quick ideas:

    1. Shorten your test cycles by reducing the number of different products you have to support (as well as 3rd party developers!). Stick to three or perhaps three lines: (a) Pearl Flip/Clamshell (small form-factor, hard keyboard), (b) Bold (premium, hard keyboard), (c) Storm (premium, touchscreen), and (d) Tablet? Push all product lines equally!

    2. Forget the cheap smartphone line of products like the Curve. They will be drowned out by even cheaper Asian devices. The Curve was good for it’s time, but now it is seen as a cheap Bold. It’s time to drop it. Instead move users who want a smaller & cheaper phone to the Pearl line, which will highlight power in a smaller package.

    3. Greatly expand the Storm line giving it equal footing as the Bold & Pearl lines!

    BTW, the 9800 is a Bold in Storm clothing… not a true Storm!

    • Joe, I read your post and it’s like you didn’t even read the article. There are multiple touchscreen devices in that roadmap. When will they learn? It looks like they have. Also, OS 6 has the webkit browser which will finally make RIM competitive in the browser arena.

      You’re right about the 9800 not being a true storm, and it’s a good thing! The storm was horrible. Surepress was perhaps RIM’s biggest misstep ever. It looks like the 9800 will be a great device offering a fixed capacitive touchscreen with on-screen keyboard, plus a physical keyboard so you’ll be able to touch type at a good speed if you want to.

      Touchscreen keyboards will never be as efficient as physical keyboards for this reason: great keyboards require two types of tactile feedback: a click when you press, but also the feel of the keys themselves letting you know where they are without pressing them. Surepress ignored that second kind of feedback which makes it less useful than a physical keyboard.

  2. I, for one, will be looking very carefully at the 9800. I’ve had my Bold 9000 for the last 20 months (Longest I’ve ever kept the same cell phone), have struggled with the variations of OS 5 (not supported by AT&T) and I still love my Bold . . . but it’s running short on internal memory, the camera is a real yawn and the browser is one of the worst I’ve ever used – but I still wouldn’t trade it for any other brand.

    I’m think I’ll be pre-ordering soon as I’m up for an upgrade in, ohhhh . . . can you say August 2010!!!

    Thanks for the delay to RIM / AT&T – or whomever.

  3. Sorry, the others may have touchscreens, but they are small touchscreens. Certainly not large enough to make effective use of their new webkit browser.

    The debate on SurePress will surely continue! I certainly don’t think it was a misstep. Indeed the real problem with the original Storm was the buggy OS. The Storm with OS 5.0 was fantastic! However, it is lacking a decent browser and more RAM!!!

    I installed Opera but it avoids SurePress, and in doing so it creates a real problem for me as I inadvertently select things that I touch! So does Bolt!

    I personally like SurePress. Even you admit that “great keyboards require… a tactile feel: a click when you press.” This is what RIM was attempting to do, and in my opinion, they succeeded! Everyone wants RIM to make BlackBerrys that resemble Apple’s iPhone. If it’s the iPhone they want, let them buy it.

    But you do have a valid point to make. Perhaps RIM should make both types of touchscreens to please different users. Personally, that would work for all interested parties. Nevertheless, we still need something like the Droid X, with a BlackBerry badge, that is!

    Thank you for your post.

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