RIM's challenge: Platforms don't sell, gadgets do

RIM's challenge: Platforms don't sell, gadgets do

Summary: RIM is proudly showing off its latest version of the OS on the BlackBerry, but it's not going to matter.


RIM is rolling out information about BlackBerry 10 at its shindig currently happening. The new platform is based on QNX and RIM is relying on it to rejuvenate the troubled company. Unfortunately for RIM, platforms don't sell, specific gadgets do.

Related: Gadget makers: Innovate, not iterate

Details about the next era of the BlackBerry will be unfolding for a while as RIM tries to capture the excitement of the tech world. Sadly, it won't have an impact on the market that RIM desperately needs to reach, mainstream consumers.

Techies get all excited about the details of how things work under the hood, but Joe Public doesn't. What he wants to see is that super-duper, whiz-bang gadget that will set his world on fire. That new phone, tablet, or whatever that revolutionizes everything and that he absolutely must have.

BlackBerry 10 may be the best version of the platform yet, and probably will be. It's understandable that RIM wants to get the word out about this evolution in its line, but in the end it won't matter.

What RIM better do, absolutely must do in fact, is produce the best smartphone it ever has. The best smartphone anyone has ever produced, matter of fact. A handset that is mind-blowing to everyone who sees it, and that rocks the world with BlackBerry 10.

Forget selling the platform, that does not work. Forget a mind-numbing line of similar phones that are more of the same. Concentrate everything, design, engineering, marketing, the works on producing one single phone that will kick-start the company back into the mainstream. Nothing else is going to work.

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  • I agree, The only problem IMO with current OS is it doesn't support m-core

    I love my blackberry (9800 Torch). I've compared it to my wife's Samsung Galaxy IIS Skyrocket. Mine is way slower and I wish I had the speed, a bit bigger and higher resolution screen, 4G etc. But as a "PDA" I like my BB better. It is my batman utility belt. And @RIM, I could care less about BBM and integration of social apps with it. What I want is my BB apps to integrate together in a personal digital assistant sort of way. I wish RIM would get that message. Better hardware. Yes update the OS so it can utilize that hardware but gimme better hardware so I can do stuff faster and read the screen better.
    • Wow its unfathomable how any device could be slower than one running

      android. Thats really really sad. My sympathies to you. Hopefully at least yours freezes and crashes less often.
      Johnny Vegas
      • No trust me, the Samsung is blisteringly fast. Compared to BB or iPhone.

        And it should be. Dual-core 1.5 Ghz snapdragon, GPU , 4G LTE Downloads apps super fast, browsing is like on a PC. Photo editting etc. And so far gingerbread has been very reliable BUT, from a digital assistant standpoint it just doesn't pull together stuff as well as my BB. And while I'm sure there are a ton of apps that would improve things, I really dislike having to do that. My BB has what I wanted native and it just works.
      • You obvious don't know what you're talking about....

        My Galaxy S2 is blisteringly fast, NEVER, EVER crashed or frozen up. And it's still running Gingerbread. However, I hear the iPhone still suffers from freezes and crashes...

        But I digress. I also have a Playbook (was one of those devs that ported apps for Playbook and got a free one in return). I LOVE it as a tablet. RIM's problem is marketing and lack of apps, not to mention a better search engine for App World. I'm still on the fence as to whether I'd like Blackberry 10 (which looks exactly like Playbook OS). But it will definitely get people's attention. Whether it's enough to make them pull the trigger is another story.
      • It's not Android

        but the crap hardware Samsung uses... I cannot fathom how they got to the top of the Android market with the crap they use. I had a Samsung Galaxy S and it sucked out loud... froze for no reason, crashed, flaky 3G radio - it simply sucked. I bought an HTC Thunderbolt and it's a night and day difference. The only issue I have with my HTC is the battery life - I have to carry a second battery with me and keep a charger at my desk and in my vehicle to get through a single day. I'll take having to have chargers and extra batteries for my HTC around over the constant headache of that Samsung crap.

        @tallbruva [b]However, I hear the iPhone still suffers from freezes and crashes...[/b] I also own an iPhone 4 which is jailbroken and other than a conflicting tweak or app from the Cydia market that causes a mobile substrate issue requiring a restart (and in that rare case I'll remove the tweak/app just installed and I'm good) I do not have any issues with it. An iPhone running the stock OS is not usually subject to freezes or crashes in my experience. Do you have any proof of what you claim?
  • The problem is that RIM has many more hurdles now.

    3 years ago, a single hot device could have helped RIM. Now, they're hemmed in. At the high-end they have to compete with the iPhone, a device that customers love and will pay top-dollar for, which means the carriers tolerate it. At the low-end Android is hassle-free for the carriers which makes up for the less lucrative subscribers it attracts. As a wedge WP7 has enormous appeal because Microsoft are Nokia and shoving truckloads of money at the carriers to "buy" it which makes it a bit of a disruptive force to the Apple hegemony.

    RIM's only real solution is to product a device with the iPhone's appeal, Andorid's low-cost, and Lumia's manufacturer subsidy. [b]That[/b] is quite a challenge, and I just don't see RIM as up to it. That being said, if they pull it off, they deserve their success.
  • yupo

    My best friend's mom makes $77 an hour on the computer. She has been out of job for 9 months but last month her check was $7487 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read about it here NuttyRich dotcom
  • Mind-numbingly naive article

    You do realize that 60% of cars on the road _today_ run Blackberry's realtime OS, QNX?

    Forget about the platform? Nonsense.
    • It's kind of the reverse

      Blackberry is running the OS that is on 60% of cars. Who's to say though what shape the OS is in, that is what hooks, add ons, etc have been added. I patiently wait to see what it is. They have already dissapointed me a few times.
    • Your missing his point.

      That is not what most customers care about, they just want the thing to work and be intuitive. The problem is that spec wise BB hardware has fallen behind in almost every area, Speed (600Mhz for most BBs), no GPU (the newest do but most BB's out there don't), screen resolution is behind. touch is not as good, camera is behind, not dual-core (more delays). The current OS multi-tasks but it doesn't support multi-core. That's where QNX comes in. Now call quality, ruggedness and battery life are all good with BB.
  • Agree on Hardware, Some Lessons Lost....

    RIM got too comfortable only relying on one OS for its handset lineup. RIM should have developed a secured messaging app for any handset/tablet OS. That way, RIM could have developed updated smartphones using Win8 or Android ICS and simply integrated their messaging software for a fully secured experience.

    Another lesson RIM missed: It's not big enough to go in alone...Even Apple must rely on Samsung for major handset components for the iPhone. Microsoft is a software giant, but must rely on hardware manufacturers to build exciting phones to highlight their new OS. I, honestly, would be interested in a RIM phone running an Android OS.

    And the final most important lesson: Agreed, RIM's handsets are old. The Bold, Curve form factor has effectively past their prime. RIM needs 4.0" to 5.0" wide touchscreens. Look at the Motorola Droid Pro...it just works for business in the way Blackberries worked 1-2 years ago, except that the Droid Pro is using Android OS. But only if RIM had basically kept up with the competition in design, it would have been a bit more relevant on the consumer side of the market.
  • Gadget - Platform = Paper Weight

    You know, if you hadn't actually written this down I wouldn't have believed anyone would own up to such an inane and ill-conceived article. What would an iPhone be without the iOS? What would the Samsung Galaxy II S be without the Android OS?
    A useless piece of junk is what! And conversely, what use would the various OS's be without the device to run them on? To try and separate these two aspects of a mobile device is so completely ludicrous, that I cannot believe someone with your job description would have the nerve to utter it, let alone publish it. As a result of what you have written, I must conclude you did so for one of three reasons:

    1) This is a thinly veiled and poorly conceived attempt to discredit RIM and its products.

    2) You have absolutely no knowledge, or understanding of the subject matter you are writing about.

    3) You view the cognitive abilities of your readers with complete disdain and contempt, believing they are stupid enough to swallow such tripe.

    Whatever your reasons may be, your credibility with me has just hit rock bottom.
    • On the contrary

      This article is to make it clear to RIM that using the platform as its main selling point, as they are doing today, won't fly. They need to produce a fantastic phone to put it on to make a difference.
      • Did I miss the BB10 marketing?

        Does Joe average users attend Blackberry World? It's an event for those that use that platform and developers interested in the platform. If RIM came out with a marketing campaign that spoke to this I'd agree but everything today was targeted at the non public. How you choose to spin the event is your own agenda.

        What I know is what I've seen of BB10 OS makes iOS look very dated. The ball is back to Apple to show what iOS updates they are bringing.

        If RIM gets comparable hardware (the Dev alpha device now has the best display on the market) and any solid marketing they can get back market share.
      • Yep!

        I agree.
      • And what is a fantastic phone without great software??

        So how is displaying this impressive software on a developer alpha device with great specs, not indicative of a future phone? They can't release a phone with no dev support and no apps. This is a developer conference, just like MS did with win 8 and the test tablets.

        Please look at the demos, listen to the conference, look at the specs of the dev device and visit the QNX website.
    • Yes that's true conceptually but RIM's BB has a descent OS.

      IOW, the reason people aren't buying RIM BB is not because of the OS. That's the author's point. The hardware is behind and a great OS won't make the system better. You could take the best of every OS and it still won't matter. If the screen resolution is poor, the micro controller is slow, lack of memory, lack of camera resolution, no 4G etc. The author is pointing out that the primary need for RIM is to update the hardware. It does also need to update the OS but not because the previous OS wasn't good, it just doesn't handle modern hardware.
  • It's a Developers' Conference

    I would expect a company -- any company -- to discuss its software platform at a developers' conference. I am waiting for your next article saying that RIM is doomed because you don't like the phone it handed out to developers at the conference.
    • You're ignoring the point!

      RIM can't handout a phone that is completely similar to an iPhone & other smartphones on the market & expect consumers to get excited. Pointing out that they're "doomed" when facing the likes of Apple is fair. When Apple started in mobile they had NO market or profit share, now they've completely surpassed RIM & will never let up, while making the "bulk" of the profits. NO apps, NO developers = NO GO for RIM! RIM can't compete with Apple & settle for "4th" place for OS's. They should face reality & give up now! These pathetic developer conferences only highlight RIM's desperation to corral developers in, by bribing them with new "shiny" hardware that doesn't actually do anything. RIM has lost mind-share in the market & will continue to do so daily.
      • BB's have some advantages in the business world. Better security

        And frankly their phones have better RF reception and are more rugged than most other phones. So when you really count on your phone for business, it is hard to ignore BB. So if they kept all that and did some good updates on the hardware side plus some OS improvements they would really have something.