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The Sky is Falling! RIM is Dead! Ambushed by BlackBerry Killers!

Information OverloadRecently it seems like you cannot go a week without reading multiple reports on how RIM and the BlackBerry brand is slowly swirling down the drain. Most of these reports are just bashing RIM for not leading the pack in terms of features and not appeasing a ‘restless’ BlackBerry base. RIM has been playing catch up in some areas for the last year or so but there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. Until then I think there is one point that really rings true through all of these reports. RIM needs to reboot the BlackBerry OS and device line and they need to do it ASAP. Yes that means no more device refreshes that just add another 256MB of RAM to a year old device. We need a experience that truly lives up to the BlackBerry Torch tagline of “Less an evolutionary leap more of a triple axel.”

Currently RIM only really wants to talk about their upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet and its space age QNX based OS. RIM has a very promising product in the BlackBerry PlayBook but they do not have 50+ million tablet users out there who are chiming for a new tablet. They have a whole slew of dedicated fans who want the BlackBerry experience without the compromises in the current BlackBerry OS. For RIM that probably means bringing QNX to BlackBerry PHONES as soon as possible. It also means releasing phones that are no longer limited to the aging 624Mhz baseband processor found in BlackBerrys for the last 2+ years.

I have multiple confirmations from sources at RIM that the next round of BlackBerry devices will be pushing a QNX based Flash/WebWorks OS but RIM has yet to confirm it. This is what RIM needs to be showing off alongside the BlackBerry Tablet OS. Current BlackBerry users are dying to know what RIM has in store for them or if BlackBerry 6 is sticking around for another year. It could be that RIM has huge plans for BlackBerry 6 and I know they are working on supporting a new baseband processor to finally move past the current aging hardware. It could be that all the BlackBerry 6 OS needs to truly fly is a dual core 1Ghz processor…

RIM practically invented the smartphone market as we know it and they are nowhere near dead with over 50 million users. The move to the Tablet OS from QNX is a clear sign that RIM realizes that the current BlackBerry platform is in need of a reboot and they are working on the problem. I have read a few reports claiming how RIM is in a death spiral but most of them just hinge on one or two facts with assumptions thrown in here and there. The best article I have read is more of a call for action from RIM by Michael Mace over @MobileOpportunity (via Business Insider). The article “What’s Really Wrong With BlackBerry” is a interesting read and gives a financial analysis that I do not have the expertise to write. Its point can be summed up into two bullet points:

  • The BlackBerry line needs to be given a several fundamental, visionary innovations that will give its core customers a reason to stay; and
  • The company needs to change its development process to guarantee proper design and integration in all of its products.

I totally agree with both of those points. RIM needs to come up with more reasons for BlackBerry users to stick with BlackBerry instead of just playing catch up with features from the competition. We need more sticky apps and functionality like BBM and push email. These are the features that make RIM stick out and I am hoping RIM has more of them in store. We also need a whole revamp of the whole legacy BlackBerry OS experience to bring the BlackBerry user base into the 21st century. Let me give you a perfect example. RIM has both BlackBerry Maps and BlackBerry Traffic. Why can’t they integrate the two and add turn by turn navigation for a full blown GPS? I know Google has done it before but their is a reason Dash Navigation had such an early adopter fan base before RIM purchased them. They were before their time. Separately BlackBerry Maps and BlackBerry Traffic are just sad alternatives to Google Maps.

I think the new QNX OS and UI design it is bringing would be an amazing foundation for RIM in an upcoming phone. The thing is that BlackBerry users who are sitting on the fence are not going to wait forever. What we need to hear from RIM what their plans are beyond BlackBerry 6 and what they are doing to blow the SMARTPHONE competition out of the water. Don’t get me wrong I am dying to get my hands on a BlackBerry PlayBook but the real measure of RIM will be what it has in store for redefining the smartphone market. At first the competition was copying RIM and their features but now the tables have turned in some areas like 3rd party apps.

What do you think? I am rooting for RIM since they have a history of creating awesome communication tools that get the job done and not toys. I know they have it in them to turn this all around!

42 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. It looks like RIM’s future is secure with QNX, dual core processesors, unparalleled functionality, and ever increasing apps. Within 2 years, it will be the competetion that will need to catch up.

    • I totally agree that RIM has a pretty promising strategy if QNX is truly the way they are going but they need something in the short term to not hemorrhage BlackBerry users in the next 6-12 months. They need a device that will not only slightly refresh a current model with a tad bit more RAM. They need something sweet! Just like the playbook is drool worthy we need a drool worthy BlackBerry phone.

    • I agree, Daniel. I think the impact of QNX on RIM will be huge! These core developers are precisely what the doctor ordered, and we will be seeing a lot of great new features built right into the BlackBerry OS.

      RIM doesn’t want to give away their secrets to the competition. BlackBerry OS 7 is coming, but RIM also doesn’t want folks to hold out for it. They need to continue to push and sell BlackBerry 6 with the Torch, Bold 9670, etc. till OS 7 is ready.

      I don’t think we will be seeing a dual core phone for a couple of years yet. The battery requirements are huge, but RIM might prove me wrong if they’re getting 10 hours of battery life from the PlayBook!

  2. 1ghz Torch with a WVGA screen and 1gb ram. Seriously the Torch is one of the best smartphones out there imo, just underated by a lot of people who don’t look twice at RIM.

    • Seriously I was just saying that. How many of RIM’s issues would be solved with a 1Ghz processor and a nicer high res screen?

      • I have a feeling that their browser is actually top notch, but you cannot equate them because of the hardware.

        Then people just write off the browser as “crap”, which is rather misguided.

        Even BB6 manages to run extremely smooth for what hardware is available compared to basically any other OS out there.

        • On the flip side, financially I see why they used old hardware.

          Makes production faster, cheaper. Increases profits. Makes subsidization way, way easier. They would have made far, far less money as a result of a hardware bump compared to what they did.

        • The Torch browser is awesome, fast, and also one of the most standards-compliant browsers. There’s also videos of the PlayBook browser beating the ipad into the floor.

  3. Very well said. I’m a die hard and will remain one until RIM does or doesn’t do something to make me go away. The foundation is there and the capabilities are definitely there. I can’t wait for RIM to quiet all the doubters and give us believers the device we have all been waiting for.

  4. QNX represents an opportunity to embrace a real developer channel on new speedy hardware. Of course why anyone would develop an app. for RIM after the way they screwed Kik is beyond me.

    A change at the top is needed along with the hardware and OS…

    • I highly doubt whatever is going on with Kik has any bearing on development for RIM for other developers…

      • Make a successful app., RIM sues you? I assure you that there are many dev. houses that are steering clear because of Kik.

        • You are oversimplifying to make a point…

          But I get what you’re trying to do.

          • I don’t think RIM just took at issue with Kik just because the app was better, am sure the guys at Kik did something stupid to piss them off.

            • Yeah if it was just because they replicated BBM then they would take down the other 5+ apps that do the same thing. Something tells me it has to do with the CEO of Kik interning at RIM before he started Kik. My shot in the dark guess is that he copied some of RIM’s code or their infrastructure.

              • Actually he worked with there incubator during development, it wasn’t until the app was generating more push notif’s then RIM does themselves that someone above took notice and quashed it.

                The difference between this app., and the other IM app’s is quite simply this one worked really well.

                The point I was making using Kik as an example was this: RIM is light-years behind Apple and Android with developer mindshare. Even Apple ‘the closed of the closed’ is realizing that you want developers to obsolesce your native apps., that generates excitement and opportunity.

                RIM doesn’t get this and it might be the killer blow to its future. You don’t eat your own children.

                The sad part is someone made the platform relevant again with a great app., and they squandered the opportunity to do something great with it.

  5. I agree. RIM has a promising future in about two years. The problem is what are they going to do NOW to prevent the mass exodus that is / will happen once contracts expire and people see what else is out there besides BB. I mean come on. You(RIM) can’t just hindge on the excellent email capabilities and messaging to get you through the next year until your new product line start hitting the market. I hope they do something to keep them at the forefront of mobile technology. If not, it’s been fun while it lasted.

  6. These Analysts are as stupid as they come by. The Iphone isn’t shit compared to what QNX will do for RIM. Steve Jobs needs to be taken down, not just a couple of noches either… RIM needs to make him cry, and have him beg for his mercy to stop releasing Awesome products that beat his crappy ass Iphone… Let me say this Jobs, a greasy crusty toe nail clippers is a more useful tool than that Iphone, the truth is coming out, that’s why you feel the need to go to verizon!

  7. Uhm, is there proof that Kik was generating more push traffic than all native BBM clients put together, or the fact that it was pulled for that reason?

    Or is this some kind of personal vendetta/investment based on general conjecture?

    • I’d love to see how outsiders determined that the app was generating more push traffic through RIMs servers and were able to quantify BBM traffic in general…

      • RIM limits third party developers to around 100k push requests per day, and kik was going over this (probably around 150k per day).

        I guarantee you that BBM sees at least a million push requests per day and probably a few times that.

        There is no reason to think this was even close.

  8. QNX devices won’t be ready until the end of next year and I don’t think RIM will be doing too well with just the 9780 , so let’s hope they’ll be able to release a new GSM device in the meantime, but it will probably just be a candybar with a touch screen. No innovation.

    RIM is doing well in the enterprise sector because their system works well when companies or gov agencies have a dependency with MS Exchange. It’s a work phone. You do work “things” on it and nothing beats a keyboard when you write emails a lot.
    But there is demand for the other smartphones and solutions to make it acceptable to use them in a corporate environment.

    For consumers, Blackberry only really shines for its instant email and security features (How long before the other 2 platforms catch up?), but I don’t think that’s a priority for most people buying smartphones (They should, privacy is important ;))
    All the other platforms have IM that works well enough, consumers don’t need BBM.
    Other platforms have access to IMAP folders, multiple calendars and tons of time-wasting apps. RIM is not very competitive by being too rigid and is losing ground fast. So is Nokia.

    I’m excited about the Playbook though 🙂

    • Wouldn’t your first statement contradict what the author said above about the next batch of phones are going to be QNX? Chances of RIM releasing some candy bar form factor device with no touch screen while the iphone is hitting stage at verizon is slim to none don’t you think? Don’t you think is android is going dual-core early next year mean that blackberry would probably being going dual-core as well?

      • Yes, it does contradict his statement because I don’t believe the next batch is going to have QNX on them.
        The new Storm won’t have it, unless it’s killed.

        I didn’t say the candybar wouldn’t have a touchscreen ;). I think it will have both a keyboard and a touchscreen.

        Blackberrys will go dual-core next year, yes, but when is the last time a Blackberry took the lead in terms of hardware features? They’ve just released a phone with a 5MP camera, there is no phone with an HDMI output, the screen res is so 2008, etc.

        • Screen res is physical screen size dependent though, which people neglect to mention…

          Most devices are going 4″ to 4.3″ or higher sized screens, which equates to higher pixel counts.

          The smaller the screen the less necessary the high pixel count is.

          • I agree with you. The screen res on iPhone4 is just ridiculous, but the Torch should have had a higher screen res. It makes web browsing that much easier.

            The problem is that OS6 is sluggish enough as it is. I guess they had to compromise so as not to have the same problems the Galaxy Tab is having.

        • What do you have to say?

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  10. I couldnt have said it better myself man, RIM has to be saying to themselves that they realize they are behind…..or maybe not……only time will tell i guess…..Great Post

  11. QNX is too little, too late. After two more years of slide, RIM may look like Microsoft in the mobile market. Everybody’s talking Apple, and will continue to when VZW’s launches, but IMO an even bigger problem for RIM is Android. Many businesses who laugh at iPhone are seriously looking at Android because of application and security potential (the new VMware development looks impressive, for example), but mostly because end-user are demanding the L&F. (Not to mention our developers hate BB, but Android is a lot easier.) I can’t tell you how many of our users are buying their own Android devices and dropping their BBs at the helpdesk demanding Exchange access on their own phones rather than be stuck with a BB. Even if QNX is great, will it be better than what’s already out there, esp 2 years from now? Enough to stop the purge? Perception will be the hardest thing to overcome. Good luck to RIM.

    • LOL well i’ll tell you what….my dad just picked up the EVO…he had the 8530 for about 3 months and he just picked up the EVO and paid FULL RETAIL PRICE for it….i wish he just waited because of the so called “EVO KNIGHT” being released. But he told me lastnight that he tried to get me one but sprint wouldnt let him do it so……im sort of glad he didnt LOL….he it sits in the back of my mind because when im home like right now, i have my BB and my Ipod 4G next to me….I do my BBM and read my messages with my BB and I use my Ipod to run the WEB and other apps that i cant get on my BB……Now i alwasy say to myself I wish i could use one device for everything….Now i would never subject myself to an Iphone for a few reasons whcih I wont get into right now. An android would be a good choice but for what I do, day in, and day out…….in the long run a BB is best for me……Of course, I would love to run the WEB on my device all day long with out waiting 10-15 second for the page to load…..But I have 1 year left on my contract, and i really think RIM is gonna blow the market wide open at CES…..I think there gonna announce alot of great things there… sure an android would be better for me. But i like the over all feel of BB and I always choose the underdog LOL…..sounds rediculous but thats me……..GO RIM !!!!!!!!

  12. I have been a die hard BlackBerry user for as long as I can remember. I had been waiting for the next Storm to be released having been an original Storm I owner. I am sorry to say that I have moved to an Android device. Whether it was RIM or VZW that killed the Storm 3, I don’t know. Had a Storm 3 been available or the Torch, I might have stayed with BlackBerry. I must say, I am liking the Android platform. I get full push of all of my messages using ActiveSync. I have multiple ActiveSync accounts. With BlackBerry, I could only officially sync one account with BES. If RIM makes a compelling device in the next year, I will switch back but it must be compelling and be of comparable screen sizes to their competitors.

  13. All I want from RIM is bbm on different platforms. I recently retired my blackberry after 5 years of recruiting and defending RIM but I believe it’s over. OS6 is a failure already and it was supposed to be system that reassured blackberry users that they were still competing. I’m encouraging a mass exodus from blackberry because the grass is certainly greener on the other side.

  14. As you guys can see RIM is still doing pretty damn good:

    The thing is they need to be wiping the floor with Apple and Android instead of competing with them. RIM has a 10 year headstart. They should be killing not catching up!

    • and they will be, they invented the smartphone and they will finish it… The aren’t messing around no more, they are taking their time to perfect it! We want a Dual core Iphone Killer RIM!!!

    • Nokia also had a head start and they did a lot of R&D and patented a lot of things.
      They just failed to deliver and somebody else, more agile, saw an opportunity to steal a huge chunk of the market.

      5 years ago, RIM was far behind in terms of consumer features and they did improve the experience a lot over the years, but it’s just not enough, none of their flagship phone has ever been a great phone for consumers who demand more from their phones than to be a fancy, secure pager.

      By the time the playbook will be out, so will the iPad 2. By the time a new Blackberry with an improved OS and hardware platform will be out, so will iPhone 5 and tons of Android devices.
      Let’s hope the new phones at least match what is done on other platforms they come out. Right now, RIM is always 6-12 months behind.

  15. Until QNX, they will be 6-12 month behind. Who cares about the Iphone 5 or Android devices, with Tat im pretty sure they are going to be making some interesting software that will allow you to customize the phone the way you like it, in terms of high tech! Kinda like the theme builder for blackberry’s now which isnt high tech.

  16. BlackBerry 6 or QNX, RIM’s smartphone hardware is SO 2008 it’s sad. I wouldn’t even call the Torch anything really new, to me it’s just a Storm with the Bold’s keyboard sliding out the bottom.

    I’d love to see a Storm style product with a landscape slide out full QWERTY.

  17. Very true. To be honest I still prefer communicating on a blackberry. It is still more robust in terms of a purely communication device.

    I do no longer view blackberry as a smartphone. The apps available on iOS and android are leaps and bounds better than the offering on blackberry. I literally spent days sifting through the app store and found a treasure trove of great apps. The same cannot be said of blackberry app world.

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