RIM still misses the point with BlackBerry 10

RIM still misses the point with BlackBerry 10

Summary: Research in Motion has reportedly narrowed its focus down to one BlackBerry 10 phone, but that still isn't far enough.

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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.

See also: RIM focuses on one next-gen BlackBerry: Good or bad?

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.

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Topics: Security, Hardware, Mobile OS, Mobility, BlackBerry

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42 comments
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  • Blackberry Just Don't Get It!

    In a crowded market, the Blackberry was the one distinctive offering; a different way of operating. Here in the UK, the 'crackberry' nickname is well deserved, with business and consumer users fiercely loyal. It seems odd they they'd throw away that distinctiveness to end up a tiddler in a pool full of sharks.<br><br>Frankly, I believe they are doomed to a slow decline whatever they do - but if they wanted one last shot at survival, it seems to me that they'd keep their keyboard, keep their business-friendly approach (still in advance of all competitors), but do all that on the Android platform, giving themselves the best of both worlds.<br><br>They could not use the windows platform, as M$'s control freakery would prevent them from doing their own thing, and Apple is closed to all; so Android was their best and only hope.<br><br>RIP RIM
    Heenan73
    • RE: RIM still misses the point with BlackBerry 10

      @Heenan73

      And by choosing Android, they would be swamped within a sea of devices and a fragmented ecosystem. Except for the possible gain with the application market and developer base, this is not where the salavation is.

      Not a good position to be in. Not at all.
      TheCyberKnight
      • RE: RIM still misses the point with BlackBerry 10

        @TheCyberKnight

        Yup, Android is a race to the bottom.
        Win8AnUglyDisaster
      • RE: RIM still misses the point with BlackBerry 10

        @TheCyberKnight
        @johndow1

        Nope, Android handsets says otherwise..
        Papapau
    • RE: RIM still misses the point with BlackBerry 10

      @Heenan73 <br><br>first off your comment is ignorant and very lacking.<br><br>RIM is a communication device first and foremost. They have been lacking in entertainment area, their browser was horrendous, OS 7 fixed that problem but based on many reviews you would never know, the browser on the Bold 9900 is on par with the IPhone 4s and Samsung Galaxy, its availability of apps is not competitive enough, where is Skype, Netflix, Hulu, etc.<br><br>RIM is not abandoning its qwerty smartphone, they need to put out to market a device that consumers want, a powerful social, entertainment and communication device and a full touchscreen device powered by QNX will do just that and enterprise will be serviced by the Bold 9900 or 9790 as these are the best communication devices in the market, cost conscious companies have the lower end Curve.<br><br>RIM is and will be fine, they are in the middle of a huge transition and still very profitable, those predicting their demise are ignorant and in some cases just plain lacking any knowledge of the facts, such as the author of this article.
      HabsSuck
      • RE: RIM still misses the point with BlackBerry 10

        @HabsSuck

        Sorry, you are way off on this one. The writing is on the wall for RIM as it was for Blockbuster, Kodak, Polaroid, and countless other corporate giants who cannot understand the concept of sunk cost and defensible marketing.

        What you fail to understand about the consumer device market is that it is not about the device as much anymore. It is about the (I hate the word) ecosystem. Amazon figured that out with the Kindle, Apple pioneered the way with the iPod, and Google does it okay with Android. Blackberry offers no value-add. They don't do content (Amazon, Apple). They don't offer free value-add services (Google).

        With every month, their market share plummets not because they don't have a "killer phone" but because they don't have a "killer ecosystem"

        As to your "enterprise will be serviced" comment, you obviously haven't attended one of the thousands of BYOD conferences and haven't seen the trend of companies figuring out how to let employees pay for their own devices and use them on the corporate network. Why would an executive want to pay hundreds of dollars per employee for a blackberry when those same employees will bring their own device for free?

        This author is dead-on. Blackberry would best be served by selling off its device arm and patents and focusing on enterprise services and value-add. They should be offering android and iOS apps and services and become market leaders in BYOD technologies. This could be a place where they have natural expertise. Instead, they are fighting it and marketing a continuing strategy of "locking your employees down"
        DallasSoxFan
      • RE: RIM still misses the point with BlackBerry 10

        @DallasSoxFan

        Unlike the companies you listed, RIM is profitable. Their market share while declining overall, is also GROWING as the market itself is expanding.

        I agree that we are in a ecosystem war at the moment and to me it's a dangerous one for consumers. So those that control the content can also control the hardware? That doesn't provide me any value. It provides the content owners a sales channel. What if I just want to buy the best device and provide my OWN content?

        The issue with BYOD is corporations want to shed the expense AND still manage (lock down) the device. They can't have their cake and eat it too. Employees are not stupid. Thus you'll still have a sizable corporate provided base, which is still mostly Blackberry.

        I'm unsure RIM could pull off some of their services on other platforms. They'd need more API and partner support. It's not like they just make a Push email App and it works.
        MobileAdmin
    • They were loyal because of push email. Nothing more. That

      advantage is now gone. IT departments still like blackberry because of their secure servers. But with outage after outage, that is gone, too. RIM is a one-trick pony in a world now filled with automobiles.
      baggins_z
      • RE: RIM still misses the point with BlackBerry 10

        @baggins_z

        Umm a handful of outages (the last one yes was bad) over 10 years is not that bad. Compare to other services of this size and RIM is still close to four 9's for availability.

        Did you miss Verizon's LTE network crashing lately? Microsoft's cloud services failing?
        MobileAdmin
      • RE: RIM still misses the point with BlackBerry 10

        @baggins_z
        with the outage a couple of months ago I could still do everything that other smartphones could do - make a phone call, send/receive text and emails. What didn't work for me was BBM, which other devices and providers don't even have.

        In conclusion, a crippled BlackBerry had the same functionality as a fully functional cellphone from any other company.
        z_darius
    • RE: RIM still misses the point with BlackBerry 10

      @Heenan73

      Microsoft's control freakery is a positive, it prevents crapware that Android phones suffer phone, ensures updates are rolled out quickly.

      Don't be immature and degrade your worthy comment with 'M$' next time.
      Win8AnUglyDisaster
  • RE: RIM still misses the point with BlackBerry 10

    Not only that, but I happen to really like my Playbook. I've had the device for almost 3 months now, and even tethered to a 3G Bold 9700, the browser is VERY responsive and I love the Adobe reader and Documents to Go apps for doing work on the fly.
    JPCoz
  • RE: RIM still misses the point with BlackBerry 10

    Not only that, but I happen to really like my Playbook. I've had the device for almost 3 months now, and even tethered to a 3G Bold 9700, the browser is VERY responsive and I love the Adobe reader and Documents to Go apps for doing work on the fly.
    JPCoz
  • RE: RIM still misses the point with BlackBerry 10

    Totally agree, the consumer market is so fickle anyway and their keyboard devices are outstanding. I love touch screen devices and the PlayBook has so much potential if they can get more enerprise appls built and get to OS2. Touch screen doesn't come close on productivitly on a handheld so RIM needs to stop being distracted like consumers on app envy and focus on core strengths and security and reward their remaining loyal customer base.
    PeteHanley
  • RIM can't win

    Damned if they do, damned if they don't.

    Haven't we read the past year pissing on RIM for making too many devices, not having a solid touchscreen etc?

    The market wants a large touchscreen with a slick UI.

    RIM will have other devices developed but the focus is providing what the current market demands. It makes sense. Your point on people you know with Blackberry are not the point. RIM is looking to appeal to those that DO NOT want a keypad based device. It's not like OS 7 devices will cease to be sold once the BB 10 device launches. Considering how QNX functions on Playbook I'm unsure on anything less then a 4" screen it would have good usability.

    Please show one tablet for $299 (64gb) that provides all Playbook has, the tech blogs are in a frenzy to kill RIM as OS 2.0 is close, all their whining will be negated and their platform of choice will have competition (at a lower price). It seems HTC learned Android is not the answer.

    If the public likes what RIM provides the other players will all say "Oh shit!"
    MobileAdmin
    • RE: RIM still misses the point with BlackBerry 10

      @MobileAdmin

      +1 Point on exactly. I also use a Playbook bridged to my Curve. PERFECT. Full functionality with my Corp BES just like it is supposed to be. NOT a movie theater or an audiophile stereo system.

      IT Bloggers get off of RIM's back.
      TrajMag
      • RE: RIM still misses the point with BlackBerry 10

        @TrajMag

        +1 here. I got the Playbook (16 GB, $199) for my wife and we both love it. Just as much as my Asus Transformer. I truly hope RIM remains a viable North American tech company for many years to come.

        *Yawn* another day, another tech blogger bashing RIM. It's becoming cliche. Baaah sheep, baaah.
        SC_Boots
      • RE: RIM still misses the point with BlackBerry 10

        @TrajMag

        I have a PlayBook and when I use an iPad I think - did I just jump back five years? Why does everyone love this outdated platform? Because of the icons? Or just because ever since iPod, Apple has been sensationalized. It disturbs me. I mean, how does RIM go down to 2.5 times earnings and be the biggest news story of 2011 in North America? That is the power of the Apple cult. This isn't just a bunch of people who like Apple products, it's literally a cult obsessed with Apple.
        techman31
    • RE: RIM still misses the point with BlackBerry 10

      @MobileAdmin

      Why can't everyone leave RIM alone. I really like their products. I agree that they could do alot on the app front, but then again, I think of apps as shareware. Remember in the early 90s when I use to go with my dad to the software store and by a disk for a few bucks that had a shareware app on it. Downloads.com killed that and then more powerful web apps found in the browser put the nail in the coffin. I see the same with apps today. I think in two years people will laugh at Apple as the app guys, in a world filled with browser apps only. With cloud and 4G networks, there is no reason to be downloading apps. That's months, perhaps a couple years away.
      techman31
      • RE: RIM still misses the point with BlackBerry 10

        @techman31
        Good to hear from someone with a bit of a vision. This last 30-60 days is far from the future. I am far from techy, I have been well served by Rim and feel they are smart and will continue to reconize the right niche..
        trouthog