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How Many BlackBerry 10 Model Lines Should RIM Create?

BlackBerry 7 Family Part 2 

One of the things I find myself discussing often about BlackBerry 10 is what RIM’s strategy is for the BlackBerry 10 family lineup. The current RIM lineup is way to cluttered in my opinion but on the other hand it is much better than the thousands of Android models and the lonely iOS line. Just to give you an idea, RIM’s current BlackBerry 7 lineup includes the:

  • Bold 9900/9930 high end touchscreen QWERTY keyboard
  • Torch 9810 Touchscreen slider with QWERTY keyboard
  • Torch 9850/9860 High end full touchscreen only
  • Bold 9790 Mid range touchscreen QWERTY keyboard
  • Curve 9380 Mid range full touchscreen only
  • Curve 9350/9360/9370 Mid range QWERTY keyboard
  • Curve 9310/9320/9220 Very low end QWERTY keyboard

Personally I think that is just a bit crazy with way to much overlap and marginal differentiation. We currently know that RIM is working on a first BlackBerry model that will be touchscreen only (L-Series) with a follow up device that will have a touchscreen and RIM’s signature keyboard (N-Series). My question to you is if RIM should leave it at that and limit fragmentation or start going down the road with other options like a BlackBerry 10 slider with QWERTY keyboard or lower end Curve style models to hit the lower market.

Originally Thorsten said they would keep the BlackBerry 7.1 devices for the lower end market but I am not sure how relevant they will be in 6 months from now. This really has me wondering how big or small the BlackBerry 10 device family should be. What do you think?

22 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. 3 lines, I think: all-touch (which we know is coming), full QWERTY (pretty sure it’s coming), and a slider for those who want the big screen but aren’t quite ready to give up a physical keyboard yet (I’d probably go with this).

  2. Touch,qwerty,slider. Done

  3. You mean “RIM’s current BlackBerry 7 lineup” instead of “10” in the first paragraph?

  4. 3 models TOUCH, QWERTY, SLIDER. I would go for the slider present phone 9800

  5. They should keep it with a Bold (QWERTY), Torch (Slider), and Curve (all touch). Follow the Apple way of making low-end models by selling the last-gen models at the low end after they are replaced.

    • I love your idea for selling last gen phones as low end. Worldwide, BB 7 can continue to ‘onboard’, then last gen, with BB X being aspirational…

  6. 4 (sorry to be different 😉 )
    – Full touch (that has recently been doing the rounds as the L Series)
    – Full QUERTY (that has recently been doing the rounds as the N Series)
    – Slider – no need to change screen size from the L Series
    – Curve type – a low cost entry level phone. It can have the screen resolution of the N Series, but just less internally. You have to remember that RIM is selling LOTS of Curve phones, so to lose that market would be a shame.


  7. RIM’s phone hardware division has been disconnected from reality for 2y.

    I would go for 1 touch, 1 slider, and 1 qwerty WITH THE SAME RES AS THE OTHERS. So yes it will look chubby in landscape position, but everything will be directly compatible.

    a chubby qwerty is the price to pay for an homogenous platform

  8. I think you guys are right, but they could offer an entry level version of each. The standard phone would have a faster CPU and more memory. The low end phone would be slower with less memory. I think I’d keep the resolution the same on both versions though. Entry level phones seem to do pretty well in developing countries so having something for them would keep them from defecting for cheap Android phones.

  9. I think RIM needs to look at where the sales numbers are to help them decide what lines to keep. If your growth market is 75% mid/low end devices and outside of North America, then you cannot ignore that!

    IMHO (not based on sales $’s) I would say the number one to market would be your flagship and given the new keyboard style, I think the all-touch should be first. Closely followed, if not at the same time, should be a high end touch-screen QWERTY keyboard.

    Once those products have proven the BlackBerry 10 concept, then the next product should be the next biggest selling type. That could be one of three options:

    1) touch-screen slider with QWERTY keyboard
    2) mid-range touch-screen QWERTY keyboard
    3) mid-range all-touch device

    Now lets through in some little monkey wrenches that make this so difficult to deliver on. Products need development, testing and production time. So you need to make these decisions, well, yesterday if you are looking for a release in October. Another part of the problem is the different versions (hardware and OS) for the different carriers. If RIM can reduce this part of the manufacturing process, then they can speed up the delivery to market and also patches and version updates as well.

    There are probably a bunch of other issues and things to consider when deciding which devices to bring to market. The goal for RIM should be to bring quality devices to market with state of the art OS (BlackBerry 10) and have the apps to keep users happy and after October, they need to do this regularly and quickly!

  10. I wrote the following email to Jim Balsillie in November last year…


    Hi Jim,

    I believe part of the RIM’s problem is to have too many phone product lines…Rim’s product line have become same as GM motors product line before GM went bankrupt…GM had so many different models that it was hard to keep up with all of them for consumers as we as for the GM itself.

    I think RIM should have only following three phones to suit everyone’s taste:

    One like Bold
    One like torch with full screen
    One like torch with sliding keyborad

  11. I think all are right but…but…i think the best choice are only 2 models..Full touch and the Bold style ( my favourite one). -)
    Thnx !!!!

  12. The problem with having low-end devices is that unless the OS is crippled on them (most manufacturers use a lower-wattage OS for their low-end devices) there’ll be a bad user experience on them (hey, anyone remember that spinning hourglass?). Yes, you might sell more phones initially, but if it gives your OS a bad rep and lowers your Brand’s worth, you’re not really making money in the long term. If Jake’s buddy sees him using a BlackBerry phone that’s new, but seems behind the times, is he really going to go with the logical “Yeah, but it’s a beginner BlackBerry, the high-end ones are da bomb” or is he just going to emotionally feel like BlackBerry’s suck.

    Using the older devices as low-end devices is less likely to suffer that issue, since people will know they’re getting an older device that uses an older OS, and it’s being cleared out at a good price.

    If they’re going to keep low-end devices they really need to think this through – it’s not straightforward since it involves more than sales.

  13. With this evening’s announcement, ONE would be a good start !!!


    • Yeah, I have to agree with Simon. At the rate we’re going there may not be many Berry users left by “first quarter 2013”. I am truly disappointed….yet again.

  14. 3 max. If a carrier does not fall inline and continues with their bull like I know some do, RIM must just move on.

    1. To market towards the young ones and students. This market for RIM is huge. 2. Keypad/Touch 3. Touch only.

  15. RIM has strange culture and self distruct 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, in order to deny new hired contribution of introducing skill of drive a car, they have to deny merit of driving a car.

    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.

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

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