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Why I Think RIM Will Succeed… The QNX Powered Comeback

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The last 12 months for RIM and the Blackberry brand have been HELL.  I trace the free fall back to the day the Torch 9800 was released just over 1 year ago.  I call that wake up day. That is the day for me that started RIM on the path that it currently finds itself in, with stock prices in the toilet, media/public perception being eroded and the RIM faithful having their loyalty tested.  It’s when the critics and bloggers really started to RIP into RIM.  It is the day the public, including fans, started to grow inpatient with RIM.

We all know what happened since, the buggy OS 6 launch, the lackluster 9780 update… the Style… the Playbook without BBM/Email/Calendar, the delayed OS 7 launch etc etc… finishing off with where we are today, with the latest batch of OS 7 phones being on the market for a couple weeks.  Today we find RIM is in the middle of a rebuild, yet, the analysts keep calling out that RIM is dying and many blog sites keep perpetuating these stories, furthering the problem of RIM’s image reconstruction.

There is no denying RIM deserved the criticism it got and needed the wake up call, but, I feel that wake up call has been heard and that the valid criticism and analysis has turned into rampant miss information and creative reporting by people who don’t understand the future plans of RIM and how RIM is making the transition for the future.   I feel we are past the point of reflecting on why RIM got to this position, it has been beat to death, and it is clear RIM has already started to turn things around.

That is now why I write this piece.  I write this piece because… I feel…. things are different now since the OS 7 releases.   I feel that RIM is literally half way through turning the corner.  I feel that the majority of analysts either do not fully understand the mobile landscape as it stands today, are operating on months old information or have up to date information but don’t understand it.  I also feel that there are some out there that know what RIM has in store, know the potential RIM has; however, they want to short the stock price and keep it down in an effort to make money for themselves or those they associate with.

What set me over the top and inspired me to write this opinion piece was the numerous articles that referenced Mr. Misek’s analysis of all things RIM that came out a couple days ago.  It was such a brutal and out of touch analysis of RIM’s situation.  It made Mr. Misek seem like he hadn’t read any of the new news about RIM over the last 4-6 weeks.  The fact that it got so much play all over the internet bothered me.  Mr. Misek’s analysis got so many thoughts running through my head that I felt compelled to write this piece… and what I want to write about is


This is purely my own opinion and it 100% relies on RIM delivering a solid QNX phone, the Colt as it’s called today.  Given a solid Colt……. this is why I feel RIM will RISE.

OS 7 phones were not expected to make record sales

  • The main thing that critics are harping on these days with respect to RIM is the relatively moderate sales of OS 7 phones.  This is something that bugs me.  No one should have expected the OS 7 launch to set record sales, or get every iPhone/Android user to switch to Blackberry. The OS 7 launch should have had two goals: stop the bleeding of users switching away from Blackberry to iPhone/Android and keep RIM relevant in the consumer market.
  • As far as I can see, based on my observations, the OS 7 launch has achieved that goal.  Blackberry users are, by and large, choosing to upgrade to OS 7 phones, thus staying with Blackberry and the majority of positive reviews, especially around the 9900/9930 has given Blackberry a brief injection of coolness that it so desperately needs.  The OS 7 launch needed to keep Blackberry relevant, and, in the minds of consumers so far, it did that more than any other launch in Blackberry history.
  • Critics who don’t understand the OS 7 launch goal, will look at the OS 7 launch as a slight failure and this is just plain wrong
  • The OS 7 launch has given Blackberry the extension of life it needs to take it to the Colt launch in early 2012

RIM has a loyal following in Canada, Europe and 3rd World countries

  • The haters like to discount the fact that RIM is still going very strong in Canada, South America, Europe and Asia.  They only look at the USA and then magically extrapolate to the rest of the world.  This is wrong and misguided
  • The critics like to use the example that the rest of the world will eventually move away from RIM, just like the USA has begun to, because they will realize Blackberries are too far behind the competition.  Given the upcoming Colt this assumption is wrong and this is how I break it down:
    • Today a guy in India/Pakistan/Vietnam (somewhere in Asia) is rocking a 9700 or 9300 (even an 8520 or 9000).  The critics like to make us think that in 2012 when he goes to get his new phone upgrade… he will see the current line up of Blackberries and decide they are too far behind the Android or iPhone offerings available to him and he will decide to switch to Android/iPhone…… THIS IS WRONG.  Why do I say this?  Well, because next year there will be a QNX phone that will rival the competition!   Critics like to think that somehow new Blackberry offerings like the Colt will not be available to the foreign markets, that old models like the 9700/9300/9800 will be the only models available in these markets and that the only high end offering available will be Android/iPhone offerings and that’s plain wrong.  The Colt and other QNX offerings will be available!   Whether this is by RIM design or just RIM luck, second/third world countries will not be ready to buy high end products, like iPhone/Android offerings, until after RIM has their high end QNX phones on the market.   Thus, I conclude, that when these second/third world countries are able to purchase these phones and upgrade to the standards of phones used in North America, they will quite possible (and likely) stay with Blackberry, with whom they have lived with and have been happy with for so many years.  To suggest otherwise is without merit and goes against all current second/third world trends up to now
    • The critics like to think that RIM won’t ever make a device that rivals or even leads the competition.  The Colt brings that hope and brings into doubt these complaints by critics
  • In addition to having a strong following overseas, one cannot discount the rabid and loyal following in Canada.
    • While us Canadians are limited by our small population when compared to the USA or overseas, we do support Blackberry more than anyone else and that is not going to stop anytime soon
    • The major carriers continue to push Blackberry and Blackberry continues to dominate the advertising landscape in Canada.  One only has to look to the current sponsorship of the Toronto Blue Jays and Rogers Sportsnet ( ESPNish for Canada)…. guess who….Blackberry.
    • Canadians are no where near turning on RIM and are out buying OS 7 phones based on my observations.  There is a huge buzz about the 9900 in Ontario for sure!!  This rabid following is not going away anytime soon and when the Colt hits, it will be devoured by the Canadian masses.

RIM still carries cache, tarnished cache, but still cache

  • Critics like to bring up numbers of how many users have left the Blackberry brand to go to Android/iPhone and these same critics like to assume that these users will NEVER come back to Blackberry.   I think they are wrong
  • I think they are wrong because Blackberry still, despite the last 12 months, has a lot of cache, identity, prestige, track record and reputation.  I think many people who left Blackberry, actually enjoyed the Blackberry experience and even miss certain aspects of Blackberry (email, keyboard, BBM etc.) but wanted a more robust app catalogue and media capabilities and are trying out the competition.  It is my opinion that many of these users are overall unhappy with the trade off of losing the benefits of the Blackberry OS while moving to iPhone/Android and would gladly come back to Blackberry if Blackberry is able to offer a quality, high end QNX phone that gives them all the media/app content as iPhone/Android has.  Since the Colt will hopefully have the android catalogue on launch and be able to deliver native apps easily, this shouldn’t be a problem.  The rumoured additions of a front facing camera and BBM Video chat are also features that caused people to leave Blackberry for the competition.
  • I think this is especially the case with users that have switched to Android.  I have been of the opinion for a while that Android and Android users have no tech identity beyond a very small rabid tech programming geek community.  The average  Android user doesn’t identify with the Android Platform nor does the Android Platform identify with the average user.  I think Android users are the ones that are most likely to switch back to Blackberry.  Android carries NO cache, no history, no track record and no loyalty in its users
  • In summary, while Blackberry won’t be able to get everyone who left to switch back, I do feel they have a good chance to get a solid percentage to come back into the fold and become Blackberry users again

Android development will skip a beat

  • This is my personal opinion and as the days and weeks go by, my thoughts are being more and more confirmed.  Android development will slow in the next 12-24 months.
  • Ice Cream Sandwich, ICS, will hit in the coming months, and, we generally know that it will not be anything revolutionary, just incremental.  Beyond ICS, we don’t really know what’s coming.  With all the lawsuits and problems Android is having and given that they need to start running a hardware company all of a sudden, it is very much up in the air how much resources will go into Android going forward. Since the rumor mill is usually 12-16 months ahead of release dates, I am going to go out on a limb and say that Android 5.0 won’t hit the masses until mid 2013 to late 2013.
  • This means that the QNX OS will have significant time to establish itself and compete with the Android OS before Android 5.0 comes out with any significant upgrades.  Given this, one could extrapolate that the QNX OS has the opportunity to leap ahead of Android with updates in late 2012, early 2013

RIM has a vision for implementing services outside the superphone/tablet space that no one else has

  • There has been a trickle of information coming out RIM campus, specifically involved in the integration of Blackberry products outside the superphone/tablet space.  The primary spot of development is in relation to in-car computer systems.
  • QNX has a long standing relationship with car manufacturers and have the track record and relationships that no other top mobile tech company has.  Cars companies are approaching a period where they want to be technology leaders and not technology followers.  Having integrated medic and car systems with access points in multiple locations in the car is the goal.  QNX is uniquely capable of this.
  • Given the 10’s of millions of cars sold EVERY YEAR, this is a huge market that I feel Blackberry is very close to getting involved in.  Imagine every new BMW or Mercedes with an integrated Blackberry QNX system.  When you seriously take a step back and realize how HUGE this market is, its really exciting.  When you think of the millions of cars that could have Blackberry QNX systems in it… it is staggering, it really is amazing no mobile tech company has gotten into the industry yet.
  • Whoever is first to this race will likely be the winner and really, the two main players would be Apple and RIM.  Android is in no way remotely stable enough to get into this business and Microsoft’s OS is way too new and unpopular to enter the space.  If RIM can get into this segment of the industry first, they have a strong chance of being the dominant force in the industry.  QNX gives them that head start that Apple doesn’t have

RIM just revamped the team

  • Critics like to still write articles that RIM is behind the times, stubborn in their ways, old ideas, stale ideas etc etc, this simply is not true.  There have been several high ranking changes in leadership in the last 60 days and several more slightly lower ranking changes .  With additional moves likely to come in the next 2-4 months, RIM is on its way to having a whole new talent pool in senior positions so critics claiming RIM is stale, are just off base.

The above 6 points lay the foundation to allow RIM to make their comeback; however, lots of hard work and execution needs to happen with the QNX phone launch to capitalize on these foundations.    There are some key areas they need to execute on:

  1. The Colt needs to hit in 1st quarter 2012
  2. The Colt needs to have high end specs in every area.  That includes:
    • Dual core
    • HD screen
    • 8 MP camera (with autofocus lol)
    • 1 GB of RAM or more
  3. The advertising campaign has to be aggressive and new
    • With the Colt, RIM needs a brand new image, and with that comes a new advertising campaign.  Already we have seen the news that RIM is looking for a new ad company to run this campaign.  The Colt advertising campaign is where they need to invest the billions of dollars they have sitting in the bank.
  4. The Colt must come with a robust app catalogue.
    • With the the Android App Player and a more developed QNX OS app catalogue, this is very likely to happen
  5. The Colt’s design and UI need to differ from past design, yet, be unique Blackberry
    • I am still of the opinion that the Colt should be a mini Playbook with all its textures and angles.  The majority of people feel the Playbook is the best designed tablet on the market, RIM needs to capitalize on that.  I feel the swipe UI of the Playbook needs to somehow be transferred to the Colt as it is a major plus and would set it apart from all other phones, just like the Playbook swipes set it apart from all other tablets.  We know ICS and iOS 5 will not have swipes of this nature, so the window is open

In summary, I believe the combination of the above 5 factors in RIM’s favour and the execution on the above 5 areas will lead RIM into the future and beyond.

There are a great many people out there who have switched to Android/iPhone and want to come back to Blackberry, they just need a good reason, and the Colt has the potential to be that good reason. When putting things in perspective, RIM still has a huge fan base in North America and abroad.  This will not go away in the next 12 months, thus giving RIM its window to complete its turnaround.

The critics forget that the public, especially the American public, are very fickle consumers.  While it may not be in fashion now to support Blackberry, with a solid QNX Colt, it can still go back to being in fashion, just as it was before.  In the end it all comes down to execution.  RIM has a window of opportunity here that they are lucky to have:  Steve Jobs stepping down at Apple, HP shutting down webOS, Android under siege with lawsuits, this is the time for RIM to bust through with the Colt and take back the industry.

I for one will continue to anxiously await the next leaks of the Colt and all the new products put out by RIM.  I have faith that RIM understands its mistakes and is turning things around.  The next 12 months should be interesting!

105 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Excellent post Brian,
    It way to early to count RIM out which I don’t think will happen, Rim will be around for a few more decades at least.
    They do need to take a few pages out of Job’s book though.
    1) There advertising campaigns are nice looking but don’t really show me why Its any different than other smart phones in the space, BBM seems to be the only feature they really showcase. Apple goes out their way for you to understand it is a great tool for business and play.
    2) The leadership has to start fostering a attitude of internal entrepenrship. BBM took the idea how we use IM, text and messaging to new heights but now other companies are building on their ideas (groupMe).
    3) Development, the Native development kit will bring better quality apps (and developers) so a release canidate should be a priority. more than a few dev can’t stand adobe air and java not always the best choice. additionally streamline the app submission process, it can quite an annoyance especially when mobihand makes it a much more efficient experience.

    RIM has ALL the tools it needs to take back marketshare from Android, now it comes down to Vision and Leadership (notice I say leadership and not management.)

  2. Excellent post Brain+, IMO RIM is run by intelligent people and they will still continue to remain relevant with QNX or not. I also believe they have great talent and only need some discipline in execution dept. RIM is not going anywhere anytime soon.

  3. A very insightful article. I always believed the rise of IOS and Android devices had more to do with RIMM’s missteps than the quality of these OS’s. RIMM should have gotten capacitive touchscreens and QNX much sooner than they did. The keys will be to heavily advertise the abilities of the QNX phones, while making sure the phone is not rushed out too soon and has all the features (email, bbm, messages, text, emails) ready to go and be integrated fully with Blackberry OS. Blackberries have always been the most effecient phones, they just needed the marketing, hardware and horsepower to exceed the competition.

  4. Great piece (except for little “Miss Information”)!

  5. “3rd World countries”? What is this? The 80’s?

    Being graduated in IR, I beg of you not to use that anymore. :p

    Very good post, but I’d like to add something:

    I feel that QNX phones really would benefit of being NOC-free. They should be able to be used without BIS. Many people don’t get it (and carriers don’t bother to explain) why they need a special data plan with Berries, or why a berry with full bars is slower than another device with less signal strenght.

    I’m not saying do away with BIS. I’m saying let the general public, those that do not care so much about security or on tiered plans use BlackBerries without being tied to BIS.

    • Lol… Developing countries then?

    • I’m for one who loves BIS… Push Email and BBM all the way!

    • No BIS? Meaning no BBM and Push email… I think not! Please rethink your strategy! Mr. MBA

      • BIS and its security has to stay

      • He specifically didn’t say NO BIS. Read the post again. He is suggested an OPTION to have a data plan without being either BIS or BES. For the majoirty of the world’s iPhone and Android users this is exectly what they want. Why complicate matters by forcing the Blackberry special data plan?

        Do you think every iPhone and Android user are using BBM or push e-mail? Not when you can run WhatsApp, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, Facebook etc over any data plan. Many people are not tech enough to bother with e-mail except to set-up a Facebook account.

  6. Awesome job with this. You have eloquently written almost everything I’ve thought over the last 3 months. I believe your opinion to be correct and I’m as excited as everyone to see what RIM gives us with the Colt or whatever they end up calling it.

    • Thanks babis, I just had so many thoughts in my head and needed to get it all down in print!

      I feel there needed to be a counter to the negative “anal-ysts” out there

  7. lol… just dropped another “analyst” report…. more reason why I needed to write this piece….

  8. Brian, your on the BR Team! Congrats!

  9. Will it include backwards compatibility. I have a small/simple real time traffic application that I just launched for India and I can’t seem to get a grip on the ever changing mobile ecosystem.
    For anyone in this space to succeed they have to join forces and create a partially global standard that all developers can collaborate on and a unified store/market. The fragmentation has added dimensions of complexity that is hard to embrace and/or ignore.

  10. Second /Third world countries ..?
    they are not yet ready to buy high end phones Lol…. open your eyes man even school kids in these parts of asia are using Iphones…!

    No one is gonna crazy about dual core QNX crap in 2012… world moves 100 times faster than RIM

    • Lol…I hope you don’t really mean that. If you do then you seriously do not understand the economic situations of these countries. There are 100’s of millions of people who are low income people who can’t afford iphones in these countries, let alone the millions of people who live in non capital cities with not even 3g coverage yet. Yes you are right SOME people in these countries can afford high end phones, but buddy, if you think they are all running around with iphones and androids you are sadly mistaken and if you think the majority of these countries have strong 3g networks you are sadly mistaken

    • I challenge you to provide evidence that

      A) that a majority of the population of these developing countries can afford high end phones
      B) even if they could afford it, please cite your sources that say there is even adequate 3g coverage in these countries, not just in the capital cities

    • You know he can’t cause he is an iSheep that can’t research without Steve Jobs.

  11. The iTard that wrote this article can’t even provide his name on it… What a coward!

    • Wow… Amazing still articles like that get posted…

      • People have this “insane” thought that nothing at BlackBerry is changing, and that Apple is the “Be all, End all” and it’s not… Those people need some pills! Like you said QNX is compared to OSX, and if RIM can do everything that Apple can do but better, than something is going to break Apple’s Shell. Whether it’s Push-Email, Security, High Stability and Reliability, Dual-Core Gaming, Push Messaging, etc… It will break!

        • bingo, people aren’t thatttt stupid. If RIM can actually make a product that IS BETTER than the iPhone, tech analysts will not be able to hide it.

          Eventually people will realize that Blackberry has a superior offering and will switch to it.

          Its not rocket science. Blackberry is a familiar brand. If they make a solid product people will not worry about going back to it. Simple as that.

          • Guys, there is too much wishful thinking going on here. Lots of very subjective comments due to feelings about everything Blackberry. e.g. If BB make this move now they will win back the market, People buy phones because they are better, more secure, techinically superior, do this or that. Rubbish!

            People bought the iPhone when it was the latest gadget in town, it had a cool exterior design and interface, and megabucks of advertising, they also piggy backed the design on the iPod which was already taking over the portable music player market (at that time I had a far superior MP3 player/recorder, but it was not cool and the interface was crap). At that time Nokia was the main player in the mobile phone market, they have now dropped the ball big time.

            Apple kept advertising more than anyone else, made sure everything stayed looking cool, developed their brand and fixed lots and lots of the bugs as quickly as possible. This happens all the time and it is exactly how Oracle became such a dominant database player in the early/mid 90’s, when there databases were technically inferior by miles.

            The keys are what it looks like, what it “promises to do”, and continuous advertising. Android has really just copied a lot of what iPhone innovated that really sells phones. Both iPhone and Android appeal to the high tech market, but ALSO to the masses who want to be/look high tech.

            Blackberry needs to do the same. Technical superiority will only sell so many phones to tech or business people. The masses will go elsewhere unless Blackberry has something ultra tech-trendy and then reinvent the brand ala Apple.

  12. Excellent article, There is one point missed on people who may want to come back to Blackberry and that is that this could take time for people to wear down their contracts. I tried Android, and got fed up of the constant updates from app’s, battery life of high res large screen phones is abysmal, and not everyone wants a touchscreen keyboard, I just couldnt tap out a message anywhere near as quick as I could on my BB, as soon as I could, I returned to BB and am glad I did so, my 9780 is stable, reliable, good battery, and to be honest, I think there is too much hype about apps, really … I have tried many, and only really use 3 or 4 regularly. I look forward to QNX, and hope BB dont abandon keyboards … long live RIM :)

    • RIM is in this for the long haul, whether it takes 6 months, 12 months or 24 months for someone to wait for their contract to end to get a Blackberry, it doesn’t matter.

  13. Actually, BBA Brian, I think you’re forgetting your history.

    RIM’s problems really started with their poor and uninspired response to the iPhone — releasing the technically proficient Storm but with the REALLY, REALLY HORRIBLE 4.7 OS. OS 5 should have been called 4.8 because it added very few changes but lots and lots of bug fixes. Even so, OS 5 was stable but still not great on the Storm.

    From there, RIM continued to pretend that the iPhone didn’t exist, and they continued with the Bolds, Curves, and Pearls as if nothing had happened. They still hadn’t realized that the landscape had changed. They weren’t pushing the all-touch experience enough so users were flocking to other platforms.

    It took RIM till BBOS 6 to start to turn things around. BBOS 6 in the Torch was the first step RIM made to really respond to the competition with a decent all-touch experience on a BlackBerry. BBOS 6 was still short-changed by a slower CPU, which made it appear to lag behind in performance compared to the competition.

    Android came along and put even more heat on BlackBerry, and the iPhone continued to gain market share at a staggering pace. This is what triggered the move to BBOS 6 and the all-touch experience.

    I still think that RIM has a lot to do yet to improving the BlackBerry exerience: improving performance, improving the software (OS & UI), minimizing software bugs (through efficient design & testing), and minimizing hardware platforms RIM AND third party developers need to support.

    • I am not forgetting any history at all.

      Re-read the intro.

      I reference the free fall of stock price/media perception/public perception etc started with the really with the 9800. Before the Torch 9800 RIM was not in a free fall.

      Yes their were root causes for the free fall, which you reference very well, but, that is not what I was writing about.

      Your points are all valid about how RIM got to this point; however, as I wrote above it has been beat to death already and not worth droning on about anymore.

      Complaining about OS 4, 5, 6 and 7 is pointless now… they have come and gone. Their will be no more java based OS’s anymore.

      Java257, its time to move on and look to the future, which was the point of my piece.

      You reference RIM needs to improve on performance… how? OS 7 performance is stellar for what its capable of doing, not having apps is not a performance issue per say.

      The UI for OS 7 is fine and many people prefer it over other UI, the UI for Blackberry is not what the issue is.

      You are right, app selection and developer support needs to improve.

      You are right, a company can always be better at squashing bugs in software; however, there never has been a perfect OS nor will there ever will be

      You reference minimizing hardware platforms as something RIM needs to do…. pretty sure there are no OS 7 Pearl, Style models coming. There is a perfect balance to be struck IMO between no choice and too much choice and I think Blackberry is riding that balance better than anyone.

      Anyways, RIM is moving to address the issues you outline and many issues have already been addressed with OS 7

      • First, BBA Brian, we’re just having a discussion. I was just commenting…

        You do make a lot of valid points in your article, but I’ll comment on what you countered.

        Performance in the 9850/60 is still a bit of an issue. Every now and then, the device will freeze for 10 seconds and unfreeze on its own. Perhaps the 9900/30 doesn’t do that, but it had a longer test cycle. This can be easily fixed in a new update, but will carriers support that? Otherwise, the 9850/60 is a very fast device, and with an update, it will be a very good device.

        This adds to my argument that RIM, a much smaller company than Apple and Google, must reduce the number of devices they design, test, sell.

        Sadly, today I saw another one, a Curve 9380. What is that?? Another less than stellar phone. Each phone RIM makes should be the best in class, making the best phone they can make in that form factor. The Bold already shares that form factor. As a result, the Curves should be discontinued. Sell last year’s super Bold to replace the Curve in the line-up. That way, you have less devices to test, and you can still offer up cheaper phones for students and price-conscious consumers.

        No one suggested there was a perfect OS, but BBOS can be radically improved with just a bit of work and some management/policy decisions. Tell me, can you kill a misbehaving app in BBOS? No. BBOS might kill it eventually, but most of the time, I have to reboot. RIM should offer a way of killing the app. If they do that, it will drastically reduce the number of battery pulls, not to mention consumer headaches.

        If RIM wants to build a new phone every few months, then they’ve got a lot of devices to design, build, test, and maintain. You’ve already got a physical keyboard phone in the Bold, a slider in the Torch, an all-touch in the 9850/60 (nice marketing name!), and a clamshell (BB6 device). Who needs a Curve, or several Curves for that matter?

        Apple is much, much larger company. They have one iPhone to test every year. How many people have to reboot their iPhones?

        Also, third party developers have many more BlackBerrys to test against. The platform is just too fragmented with too many devices to support. Management has to step in and say: NO MORE!

        • Joe, you raise very good points.

          I just disagree with a lot of them.

          iPhone didn’t get to where it is today solely, or even predominantly, because their is only one model. It primarily got to where it is because it followed the smash hit iPod and Apple’s advertising is unreal.

          It has created its own aura over the last 4 years that can never be duplicated.

          While I do agree that Blackberry has too many options, I disagree that they need to consolidate to only a few models and also only make high end devices.

          I feel they should have

          1. high end “bold”
          2. high end full touch
          3. high end Torch slider
          4. low end curve w keyboard

          I don’t think they need a low end full touch ala the 9380

          with respect to the QNX OS, they will no longer be bound by the carriers for updates, they can send out the updates directly, just liek with Playbook

          • What’s the point of building a low end Curve when they can sell last year’s premium Bold at a huge discount. They don’t have to test another device, and last year’s premium Bold would still be a great device for a couple more years.

            • I disagree. Just because parts age doesn’t mean they get cheaper to produce. The marvell 800 mhz maybe cheaper or the same price as the 600 mhz found in the 9700/9780/9300.

              So if the cost is the same, why not beef up specs

          • Believe it or not, we’re not that far apart. You also agree RIM needs to reduce the number of devices they design, build, test, maintain. That’s a big step for RIM. Replace the Curve with a Style, perhaps. I’m not absolutely convinced we need a Style but there is some room for a clamshell as a non-touch device. It makes for a more compact device with a full keyboard.

            All of those, except perhaps the Style, will run on the same hardware platform. Same amount of RAM, same CPU/GPU, same features.

    • Joe257 I have to call bullshit on statements like:
      “iPhone continued to gain market share at a staggering pace. ”

      You can prove me wrong by providing evidence but from everything I have read iPhone market share has creeped up a little while Adroid market share has gone from something like 3% to 46%.

      Once again we have someone that has been sucked in by the Apple media Machine.

      • Here you go, fresh stats:

        RIM and Apple are growing at the same rate in EU5 while Android is destroying Symbian.

      • C’mon, kiddo2050, first of all, I’m talking about the years 2007-2009 when RIM released the Storm. Also, I have TONS of research papers that show the staggering growth of the iPhone. It has since leveled off quite a bit, but in those years 2007-2009, it was meteoric! Android has since taken over the lead in the last 18 months. Nevertheless, they are both growing faster than BlackBerry.

        I am still optimistic that RIM will turn this around a bit, but they need to refocus and start looking at making the best phones with the best components and a really stable OS (especially since carriers won’t always provide upgrades).

        • Joe if you’d role back a few years you’d have tons of research paper on the phenomenal growth of the Blackberry. My point is simply the perceived iPhone growth just doesn’t seem to be there as you stated it was. And of course when you market share is near zero growth is going to look phenomenal.

          Apple’s market is more limited than people realize. You can see this in the lack of sales of the iPhone 3S when the iPhone 4 came out. The 3S was REALLY cheap, but the type of people Apple appeals to must have the latest and greatest. So despite the 3S being cheap it likely didn’t sell well.

          • kiddo, RIM was #1 in sales bar none in 2006. Apple was #1 in 2008/9. Android is now #1. Apple must have made a meteoric rise in 2007/8. They now have 350,000 apps. Android has about 300,000. BlackBerry has 30,000.

            Now, I don’t need 350,000 apps. I only need 50 great apps, but that number of apps shows wide acceptance of the platform.

            • I don’t thnk RIM was ever #1. Sure there are lots of Apple Apps but much of it is perception. For example there is a showtime app, really do we need that? will Anyone be using that beyond 2 or 3 times, but showtime feels they must have an app.

              The main problem for BB in Apps, as far as I know (and I’v not a developer) is that it’s hard to program for and RIM makes the process hard. That is they are shooting themselves in the head rather than it being that no one wants to program for it.

  14. Thanks for the post, BBA Brian. There is a lot of value here. Marketing is half the problem too. I still haven’t seen any BB7 ads!!! Nut’n!

    • to even further your point…. I haven’t seen ANY blackberry ads in the last several weeks, not even Playbook ads…. something is brewing…

      • I think RIM is trying to control costs, but I think you have to blow your horn when you’ve got something good to sell. RIM needs to get the attention of consumers.

        I have a suggestion — a 4G Playbook! :)

        I also think the QNX phones are already closer than we think. I just don’t want RIM to rush them out. They MUST be the best phones out there. HOLD NOTHING BACK!

        Someone suggested proper marketing requires you to hold something back for the next generation. That is just such rubbish! If you hold back, you’ve left a door for the competition to gain an advantage. Close all those doors! Indeed, by the time you’re ready to build the next version, there will be better hardware available such as a 12 MP camera, 4 GB RAM, 3 GHz quad core processors, etc., etc.

  15. I’m not so sure this is true:
    “Blackberry users are, by and large, choosing to upgrade to OS 7 phones”

    The jump from OS6 to OS7 is so small that some people rather get an Android or an iPhone as their upgrade to either use it as a 2nd phone or to resell it. Those that want an even better experience get a tablet.

    The other platforms are much more enjoyable to use when it comes to apps, but they fall short when it comes to basic phone features or battery life. Right now, you need two devices to have the best experience.

    • you may be seeing different things… I see what I see

    • The perceived difference between OS 6 and 7 was huge. This is why RIM moved from 6.1 to 7. Hardware accelerated graphics alone was a big change to the OS resulting in RIM’s “liquid graphics” feature. Response time and feel was much improved.

      Also, I don’t know anyone who wants two phones. I have two (work and personal), but I don’t want two.

      • Perceived by whom?
        I certainly didn’t see a huge difference. A few refinements here and there, but it’s the same experience. The same menu mess, but the same efficiency due to the keyboard and shortcuts.
        For what most people do, it doesn’t make that much of a difference if you can switch home screen in 0.2 seconds faster. I mean if you had to pay $500 to switch from OS6 to OS7, would you do it? Would it improve your productivity?
        A lot of the new features of OS7 could be backported as 6.1 for owners of older devices.

        I have no problem carrying two devices. It’s not different than having a phone and a small camera, etc.

        • iPhone has the same basic experience from day 1 of the first original iPhone so I don’t think you should underestimate a small change like liquid graphics.

          My 9930 experiences the occasional freeze, not the hour glass just a freeze. If it didn’t do that then I would gladly have paid $500 for the upgrade.

          • But the hardware has changed tremendously and that’s usually why people are willing to pay a premium to get the latest and greatest. On top of that, it’s actually an Apple strength to be able to keep the overly simplistic interface with each release while adding more features. Fine for basic use, not great for advanced users.

            Apple did exactly what needed to be done to fight Nokia and their feature phones. RIM is not doing great because they just don’t innovate quickly enough. It has always been the case, but was less of a problem 5 years ago.

            • Yes, everything Apple does is a virtue and everything everyone else does sucks. Think I know a fan boy when I hear one.

              RIM doesn’t change enough but when someone points out that apple has done virtually nothing to their interface it’s great.

              Maybe if Apple innovated a bit more that wouldn’t be getting their ass beaten by Android in the USA.

    • In Indonesia at least, nobody buys a Droid/iPhone as their main phone. Everybody uses either a simple no-frills feature phone or a Berry, while the Droids/iPhones/tablets are sort of “novelty devices” for us. I may be biased because Indonesia is a very big market for RIM, even the 9790 is going to be launched over here first.

      That said, I use a 9780 as my main phone and a Galaxy Tab as a novelty device that doubles as a 2nd phone. I agree fully that right now we need at least two devices to have the best experience – I kind of look at my 9780 as my primary communication device (be it text, phone calls, IM or email), and at my Galaxy Tab as a backup phone/portable media player that happens to be able to provide lots of entertainment on the go.

  16. This whole article assumes that BBOS is fatally flawed and while it may not be modern architecture, it is a highly evolved and efficient smartphone OS. It took many years to develop the feature-set of BBOS and a BlackBerry that is a couple generations behind in raw horsepower is still a pleasant efficient secure experience with second to none call quality and stability.

    In the past month, I have been to several phone stores and there is always a line-up of people buying blackberries. Since OS7 devices arrived, I have not seen any other phone being sold when I peruse through. I have seen many 9900s in peoples hands and every business meeting I attend is dominated by BB users. When I went to a concert last week, every young girl in the audience had a BB held in the air taking pictures and videos and texting their cache to friends and facebook.

    The new phones with the old OS are running incredibly well, the new hardware is exactly what was needed. While third party apps are fewer by number, the ones that are truly useful are all available. For QNX to be of any advantage at all, all the features of BBOS need to be ported over and that may take years to do but we should be given a BBOS app player to take some of the pain away.

    Which brings me to Colt. Colt will be a Playbook that fits in your hand. It will probably look like a cross between a Playbook and a 9860. If you described it feature by feature, spec by spec it would probably come out sounding frighteningly similar to an iPhone. The price of it will also be the same or higher than the Apple counterpart. But it will not be an Apple and it will not be a true blackberry as we know them. If you walk into the store to buy a slab phone and you see it sitting beside the iPhone, are you going to buy the unfamiliar iPhone knock-off or buy the real thing? I think HP knows the answer to that question (TouchPad).

    I love my 9900 and PlayBook. The PlayBook is not as stable as my iPad, the battery life is not nearly as good either. I prefer to use the Playbook, I think the UI is brilliant and makes the iPad look kind of silly with it’s goofy button as the centre of the UI. The Playbook is nowhere near as useful as my 9900 though and QNX has a long long way to go be as useful as BBOS.

    My gut feeling is that iOS will be the dominant platform for a long time to come. Apple has completely dominated mind-share. Everywhere I go companies are plugging their iPhone App, even CBC radio gives exclusive free advertising to Apple by plugging their iPhone/iPad App. All the other platforms will be fighting for the scraps but the scraps are more than a meal and BlackBerry should be able to keep their 17,000 employees fed for a while.

    • IOS is Stable??? Yeah, so stable that it can play Flash Natively right? Are you blind by a chance? Once RIM get’s BBM Social Platform going on Superphones, there will be nothing stopping it. I want to relate it to at once apon a time I use to play Monster Truck Madness on Windows 95 with a friend via P2P via dialup… Imagine games on QNX Superphones on a network like Playstation Network or Xbox Live… Obviously more Stable and Hack Proof see “Playstation Network get’s hacked” in Google… Last I heard iCloud POS was running Windows Zune and not it it’s own Server software… Real Nice isn’t it?

      • Perhaps we have different metrics on what we regard as stability. I have to reboot my PlayBook occasionally and I have apps crash or perhaps they just turn off due to lack of memory. I can’t recall rebooting my iPad. This may not be a fair comparison as I do use my Playbook a lot more than my iPad. My daughter uses the iPad a lot and she has never rebooted it, does not even know how to.

        Don’t take me a hater, I am just the opposite. Most of my bills are paid by RIM and I really want to see them kick Apple’s butt again like they used to, but when I use my 9900 it works so well, I just find myself wondering what QNX which has a long way to go is going to bring that is better.

        • There is a Video dealing with why so many company’s deal with QNX… One of them is faster to the market time. Qauntum Computing!

        • I agree, the PlayBook is very unstable. OS freezes and apps crash are common.

          Regarding the next phone, you’d be missing out, it will be RIMS’ ‘thinnest BlackBerry ever!'(tm), have 5 hours of battery life, no AF (but will record 1080p videos) and Exchange account management instead of BIS/BES. Which BlackBerry owner wouldn’t want that? 😉

          • That is exactly how I see it too, RIM is going to have to pull a seriously angry rabbit out of their hat if they want QNX to kick BBOS’s ass let alone the others. I think the 1080p video camera will have auto focus despite being the thinnest ever mind you. Every good marketer knows you have to leave something off your top device (9900) to create an appetite for the next generation.

            • Hehe, good point about the appetite :)

            • I strongly disagree with holding anything back!!! Don’t give the competition any wiggle room at all! Technology will advance and make it possible to provide a faster processor and more features, like HD dual-cams, for example. Maybe even 3D cams? What about a wireless Bluetooth keyboard for road warriors like myself? There is always something that can be improved LATER!

              • Joe I agree with you on this. Maybe with other products/industries this makes sense. When there are not such rapid advancements, it makes sense, but, mobile tech is advancing SO FAST these days, its not feasible to hold back. On your flagship phone, you put your best out all the time

                • Sorry to disagree with something you said here, but all BlackBerry phones should be flagship phones.

                  RIM should do their best to ensure that they design & build the best phones with the best specs in ALL form factors: the best keyboard phone, the best all-touch phone, the best slider phone, the best clamshell phone. I don’t want to feel 2nd class because I chose to buy a 9860 (all-touch) rather than a 9900 (keyboard). Why does the 9900 have to be a flagship — why do the others have to be any less than they can be?

                  RIM has to realize folks wanting an all-touch experience won’t compare between BlackBerrys (9860 vs 9900) but they would rather compare between the 9860, the Samsung, and the iPhone. Why does the 9860 have to be any less than the 9900? Less flash RAM, less ppi resolution, no NFC?

                • Joe, reply buttonn is gone for your post below.

                  All I can say is, I see your point about having only high end products but I think you can be just as successful doing it with multiple price points.

                  There are. Multiple ies that do this. Look at the car and pc market, even the tv market

              • 3D cams are amazing :), but I don’t see that coming to a flagship device coming out of RIM’s factories.

              • How would they sustain Globally if they launched a bunch of High Tech products? Poor Country’s wouldn’t be able to do it. That’s what he is saying.

          • Playbook is very unstable….. wow… ofutur… you have said some wild things here on Berryreview… that has to be the wildest….

            god bless you…

            • They may sound wild to you, but they are true. Maybe you don’t have the same usage patterns, but as soon as you start to have a few apps running and watch some web videos full screen, you start having problems.

              • maybe you need to reinstall your OS ofutur…..

                I use my PB all day long btw… shooting video, emails, browsing, games, I usually have 4-6 things open at once

                anyways….. there are lemons in every production… seems like you got it.. but it always seems like you got it…


                • This is my 2nd PlayBook and they both had the same problems. Stability gets better with every update, but it’s still a fragile OS. I still don’t really trust it to do anything serious with it, because chances of losing my work are too high (and typing on it is not a great experience). I blame Flash for most of the problems though and until RIM allows browser extensions, this is going to be a problem.

                  A good test is to use G+ for a while and see how easy it is to bring the browser to a crawl or to crash it.

                • Actually I agree with ofutur on the stability. I haven’t had all the probelms he has had but I have experienced QNX just deciding to close some programs when it runs out of memory or something. I hope for the phone there will be a pop up asking what programs you want to close.

                  A phone is more essential than a tablet and I don’t think we can have thing sjump disappear.

                  I do however think that QNX, the underlying OS is super stable. Basically you never get a freeze up on the QNX OS. Yes your program my freeze up but you can always swipe up from the bottom and move around and open other programs even when this happens.

                  A full freeze up of the Playbook? I’ve never had it happen and I’ve owned it since day one.

                • It’s interesting that nobody else here had the freezing problem. It used to happen to me daily when I was using it a lot. Most of the time because of a video.

                  There is no way out of this, you have to restart the tablet or sometimes even hold the button until it shuts down if the menu doesn’t show up.

              • I haven’t had the problems of freezing, just closes apps. Hopefully 2.0 will help some of that stuff out.

                • I have had mine freeze a couple times, I think the underlying OS is still running fine but the UI has quit but either way, it requires a reboot to get it going. It gets better with every update though.

              • Give it sometime for QNX… You can’t build Rome in a day. It took Apple sometime to get where it is, and it still can’t true Multi-Task. Apple will need a new OS, exactly at the time where RIM will be at the point that Apple is now… Vicious Cycle!

                • The funny thing is that the OS that was introduced in the original iPod was presented/sold to Apple as a mobile phone OS and they decided to use it for their music player instead.
                  I’m not sure Apple will need a new OS any time soone. OSX just needs more powerful hardware to be able to run as is.

                • Ofutur… no reply button on this one

                  “The funny thing is that the OS that was introduced in the original iPod was presented/sold to Apple as a mobile phone OS and they decided to use it for their music player instead.
                  I’m not sure Apple will need a new OS any time soone. OSX just needs more powerful hardware to be able to run as is.”

                  gotta do it manually lol…. anyways… I disagree with you regarding iOS and OSX.

                  Apple will have a tremendous time transferring OSX to a mobile platform and iOS is not up to par of a desktop platform.

                  With the new Windows 8 coming, QNX OS coming… iOS is actually falling behind.

                  By no means is it on its last legs, but, Apple will need a new OS in the next 2-4 years.

                • iOS is actually OSX light, they share the same kernel and BSD ancestor. So, all they need to do is port more features to ARM.

                  It’s exactly the same approach Android took and when you use an Android phone, it definitely feels like Linux with a mobile interface glued on top of it. You get the same Linux experience that has been delivered to the desktop for the past, say, 5 years (shinier and more usable than before).

              • No reply button…

                However, It is true that Apple will need a new OS because of the Kernel sooner or later. Monolithic Kernels can only hold such much code before it becomes high unstable, and unusable. QNX only has a certain set of instructions that perform certain tasks. Apple has a little life left in it, but it won’t be long… Not 30+ years like QNX.

                • This Monolithic vs Micro debate has been going on for decades. People have been predicting the death of the monolithic kernels all that time, but the only market where Microkernels have made sense until now is the embedded one.
                  As devices get more powerful, I don’t think current OS will be replaced any time soon.

                • Hmmmm… Apple had to replace its Original Mach OS to NeXt bringing OSX. RIM is replacing its OS now from a Monolithic Java Kernel… It may not make sense now but it will sooner or later why Monolithic kernels can’t last as long as a Microkernel.

      • I was wondering what you meant by Windows Zune so I looked it up and found that you are correct that Apple iCloud appears to to be using Windows Azure (not Zune easy mistake). Apple has never had a great focus on enterprise grade back-end solutions. The fact that they chose Azure only makes their iCloud that much more credible as Microsoft is all about enterprise grade back-end solutions.

      • Stability usually has to do with freezing, crashing, rebooting on its own.

      • Yes, RIM adding Adobe flash right into the core OS is probably a concern. Flash is definitely not stable or reliable, and it chews up memory like a hog! The need for flash support will soon diminish greatly with the advent and wide adoption of HTML5.

    • this whole article has very little to do with BBOS…..

  17. It seems like the reply features are gone. Maybe BR is sick of this post :)

    It’s interesting that the discussion has drifted from iOS to OSX. I was thinking about this just yesterday, with the news that MSFT is getting app developers to write Apps for Win8 which is geared towards tablets.

    MSFT is always late to the game, but they have knack for sticking with it and winning, IE, Xbox, even office.

    My guess is that Win8 will have a huge impact on the tablet market and by Win9 or Win10 people won’t remember the iPad was the first tablet. Sure it’ll hold the 10% market share as it does it laptops but not much more.

    The playbook…. hmmm, I’ll enjoy while it lasts and hope that Win8 and it’s successors use RIM’s swipe gestures. Early indications are that win8 will indeed use them.

  18. Brian,

    I also wanted to comment on your thought dealing with how a lot of people agree that the Playbook UI is the best for a Tablet… Maybe Thhe SuperPhone will look like it or maybe it won’t… Maybe QNX/TAT have the perfect UI for a Smartphone? Just saying, I Love the Playbook UI, but maybe that UI is just for the Tablet. Maybe they will mix it up a little, and not trying to be straight boring like Apple in its iPad, iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, etc… :)

  19. I’m just happy RIM is doing what it can to be back in the game.

    It’s high time RIM make its presence felt again.

    I’m from the Philippines, and BlackBerry is gaining great grounds here. All the more it will with the new os and the qnix very soon.

    I guess all those dinosaur jokes about our preferred mobile device will soon come to an end. And we will be a new brand of mighty dinosaurs 😀

  20. As a BDS Rep for AT&T, I would like to share a call about an iPhone 3GS I had today. The lady had an iPhone that had crashed on her and asked her to restore her IPhone through iTunes. She said she had shut it off for about 2 hours and was back to normal or so she thought. She attempted to back it up through iTunes and wouldn’t back up but would not allow her to. Since we had limited support on iTunes cause Apple likes to “control” everything I had attempted to transfer the call to Apple, and like Apple didn’t want to take ownership of the call. The Apple Rep. tried to tell me that there was nothing that he could do… I pretty much had to put a death grip on him through the phone in order to take the call!

    The Moral of the Story is that BlackBerry trains us on the use of the OS and Desktop Manager, and if we ever run into problems to transfer to RIM Technical Support on where I have not once in my entire Career of being with AT&T have they once denied a call from me. So A) QNX will not experience the problems of a Monolithic Kernel and B) RIM takes ownership of a call and tries to assist the Customer with their issues.

    RIM don’t give up on us ever and kill Apple and Android!

    • Those are simply 2 different approaches.
      iPhone owners should call Apple directly and Blackberry owners have to call their carriers which is a big problems when you purchase your phones sim-free. It’s impossible to call RIM for support and some carriers are picky if you haven’t purchased the phone from them.

      Also, once your problem has been escalated, the results are usually the same: As long as the problem isn’t too unusual, they’ll help you. My BlackBerry is using the Japanese charset to send emails that contain ‘European’ characters and the only answer I get from the support team is that I need to downgrade to a version of the OS branded by my carrier. Useless.

      Having said that, the PlayBook support team is amazing. They go to great length to make sure that you’re satisfied, so I’m hoping that this will be the beginning of a new approach by RIM.

  21. It will probably be the free way where you can call Playbook support until they get bigger, like the good old days I have to disagree on the fact that your opinion about the support going through Carriers is a bad thing. Apple knew that she had a POS 3GS that was out of warranty and they knew that they would have to charge her for support… IFail! Regardless if I have a 8310 that’s out of warranty and I call the Carrier and they can’t fix my issue, it’s off to RIM charged by the Carrier and not by the consumer… Very Good Thing!

  22. RIM have problem in its enterprise culture and outdated management, looks big but really old before grow up, low efficient and slow motion speed, always play catch-up.

    Years before, companies make money from feature phone, it give RIM chance to make money without competetion, but when they want make money in smartphone market, they win easily, why, is that because they hired supper employees, no, RIM also have excelent employees from all over the world.

    Strange culture in RIM, and this culture generate self-destroy political environment.

    In RIM if a new hired person figure out major problem and introduce efficient approach, both manager and his buddy group member will proof their wrong approach works. just like someone point out driving a car is right way, pushing a car is wrong way, then both manager and his buddy group member will hate you, and proof that 3 person can also move the car by pushing it. cheating email will be sent to some vice president, saying like: see, the car moving, pushing a car is a natural part of the process.

    RIM is not system oriented company, just self-destruct small company buddy culture, with a fat body. it is very strange company culture and strange company political environment, it promote stealing and cheating skill. RIM’s management may be a typical instance in MBA course.

    CEO may want the management better, but can’t reach the target because of the culture, like I said 3 years ago, RIM is old before really grow up.

    survive on its own is possible, but need a culture change like to promote hard working, telling/doing real things, but will the managers and their buddies say: “driving a car is right way, pushing a car is wrong way, pushing a car is not natural part of the process” ? the answer is impossible.

    This culture deny or steal hardworking team members’ contribution/innovation, generate strange political environment, destroy RIM.

    so, no a OS, or device, it is the RIM culture.

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