Research in Motion reported dim earnings results for the first quarter on Thursday, and although prospects aren't expected to be much better in the next three months, at least some new BlackBerry devices are on the way.
During the company's quarterly investors conference call, RIM co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis spoke frequently about RIM's current "transition" period.
Lazardis explained, "RIM has taken a unique path, and why we do things might not be obvious from the outside."
It's not news to anyone at this point that RIM is not doing well. Some would go so far as to label the Ontario, Canada-based company as doomed.
Nevertheless, RIM is pushing forward and we're finally going to see some new BlackBerry devices roll out this summer. Right off the bat, it sounds like RIM is taking a better approach with its new BlackBerry smartphones than it did with the PlayBook that launched in April.
Although the tablet did actually ship more units than expected (approximately 500,000), RIM drew a significant amount of criticism that the device had been rushed out - especially after it was discovered that the PlayBook would launch without a native email application. That essentially pigeonholed the PlayBook as a BlackBerry owner-only device.
Well, that won't be true for long. Although RIM reps didn't specify dates, Lazaridis did say that a native email application, an Android app player and other new programs would be rolling out this summer. The rest of the 4G PlayBooks expected to ship with multiple carriers in the United States will also be seen within the next few months.
But RIM's biggest product news was that several BlackBerry 7 OS products would be rolling out at a "rapid succession" near the end of the quarter. That includes both HSPA and CMDA-enabled devices hovering around the high-end and mid-tier product ranges.
Most of these devices were already seen at BlackBerry World in May, but Lazaridis said that although RIM "would have preferred to get them out sooner," execs and developers recognized a stronger demand for better and different specs from American consumers. Thus, RIM went back to the drawing board with improvements. Lazaridis promised investors that "customers will understand why it was worth the wait."
The flagship of the launches will be the BlackBerry Bold 9900 running on BB 7 OS. The device is touted as "super thin" at 10.5mm thin with a sleeker look than most BlackBerry smartphones. Sporting a display reminiscent of the one seen on the Bold 9000, customers can expect 8GB of on-board memory, HD video recording, fluid liquid graphics, enhanced browsing, a built-in compass and NFC capabilities.
RIM is really going to need the Bold 9900 (not to mention its other upcoming mobile devices that weren't outlined during the call) to be a big hit.
Lazaridis tried to put a positive spin on things by noting that RIM is in the "final phase of this transition," but with layoffs and another drop in earnings looming, the transition needs to come to a close - and fast.
- RIM's BlackBerry Messenger under fire: How important is BBM?
- BlackBerry PlayBook gearing up for international launch
- RIM: Is the growth gone?
- Comscore: Android leads RIM, Apple in U.S. smartphone market
- Dolby slaps RIM with patent infringement lawsuit (updated)