Research in Motion's new year is already off to a rough start, and the latest news points towards even more problems.
Reports are circulating that RIM has cut down its BlackBerry 10 roadmap down to a single device, which supposedly looks like most other large smartphones with touchscreens. This could open up a whole new can of worms, but let's not forget what else has already gone down this week in the world of RIM.
Before today, RIM already slashed the cost of the beleaguered BlackBerry PlayBook to $299, which is really where pricing should have started (at the very highest) in the first place.
Yet, it still doesn't look all that good for the Canadian mobile device maker when you immediately start off the year with a major price cut. Don't expect these things to fly immediately off the shelves like they did for the HP TouchPad at $99. (Although if RIM does go bargain basement on the PlayBook to $99, maybe we will see some sales action.)
Nearly immediately after that was announced, a group of RIM shareholders is called out the CEOs and argued that the company should be broken up or put up for sale.
When RIM's co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie spoke with investors and analysts during the company's quarterly conference call in December, they revealed that BlackBerry 10 would be delayed. But it still appeared as if the execs had already pinned all hopes on the success of BB10, especially by touting high-end specs.
However, if the image of the rumored "BlackBerry 10 London" is accurate, while the interface looks nice, it doesn't seem that much more captivating than other higher-end Android handhelds already on the market.
The same could have been said about the PlayBook: the interface looked nice, but there was nothing that really made it stand apart (in a good way) from other devices in the same category and price range already available.
Personally, I think the point that RIM is missing here is that it just doesn't know how to make a consumer product, and it should just focus on what it has always done best: serving business and enterprise customers. (I know that I'm not alone on this one.)
On a purely aesthetic and design point, out of all of the people I know that have BlackBerry phones, the primary reason they love them is for the physical keyboards -- not touchscreens. Wasn't that the whole problem (or at least a big one) with the BlackBerry Storm? Why keep making the same mistake?
There are plenty of other areas and features where RIM has succeeded, such as BlackBerry Messenger (although that has some more competition now with iMessage) and offering more security for sensitive data.
I hate using these phrases, but if any company should go "back to basics," or "back to scquare one," or back to anything at this point, it should be RIM. Instead of competing with Apple iOS and Google Android on the consumer front where the market has pretty much been secured by those two platforms, RIM has a much better chance selling its strengths rather than playing catch-up for the thousandth time.
- RIM's survival means all business for BlackBerry
- RIM reportedly turned down takeover proposal from Amazon
- How the Grinch stole RIM’s Christmas: BlackBerry PlayBook heist
- RIM’s CEO tandem: Portrait of pathetic
- BlackBerry 10 potential doubted by RIM insiders: report