What RIM must do at the BlackBerry 10 launch event

What RIM must do at the BlackBerry 10 launch event

Summary: RIM has the defibrillator paddles ready to jumpstart the company at the BlackBerry 10 launch event this week. Here's what the company must do to get its business pumping again.

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TOPICS: BlackBerry
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(Credit: Ben Woods/ZDNet)

The BlackBerry 10 launch event will happen this week and RIM is hoping it will jumpstart its flagging business. The new OS should be unveiled in depth and new handsets, too. Launch events only capture the attention of the buying public if they are done well, and here's what RIM needs to do to make sure that happens.

Use the new phone(s) to show off the BlackBerry 10 OS

How well BlackBerry 10 is received by the press and the public will depend on how well RIM shows it off at the event. The only way to do that properly is to give actual demos on a new phone, showing clearly what both the OS and the phone bring to the table.

See also: BlackBerry 10: Bringing excitement back to mobile

How well BlackBerry 10 is received by the press and the public will depend on how well RIM shows it off at the event.

If RIM execs aren't good at extended demos, bring out someone who can do the demos to great effect. The demo must go off flawlessly, showing every aspect of operating the phone/OS. Pay particular attention to the Message Hub, the new unified inbox that collects incoming messages of every kind. BlackBerry has always done this well so show why it's even better (and easy) in BlackBerry 10.

In addition to showing off the major features of the OS, show off two or three major apps that must be available at launch. The app ecosystem is a crucial part of any platform and as a brand new one BlackBerry 10 needs several top apps from the get-go. Show how well they work on the new phone and make people want the phone to run those apps. Facebook would be a very good one to have in this demo.

Show a new BlackBerry with a large display

Even if it's not ready to sell at the time of the launch event, RIM needs to be actively working on a phone with a 5-inch display (or bigger) and show it off, however briefly. Choice is good and it goes a long way to demonstrate that a large phone is in the works.

A large screen iPhone is non-existent and this is an area RIM can compete with Apple. Not everyone wants a phone with a 5-inch display or bigger, but large Android handsets already on the market are doing well. RIM needs one to compete with Android and to fill the large iPhone void.

Give a hard shipping date not long after the event

Time after time we see events that build a big buzz for a new gadget and then lose it by giving a fuzzy availability date sometime in the distant future. That's about as effective as showing a fantastic trailer for a new movie and then showing the release date of "Q4 next year". 

Launch events that create excitement for a new product completely lose the buzz if they don't give a fixed date for availability that is close to the date of the event. It's even better if the first BlackBerry 10 phone is available at the conclusion of the launch event.

RIM is in trouble and a good reception by the public of both BlackBerry 10 and phones is vital if the company is to turn a bad situation around. Don't make this most basic mistake; proudly announce an exact date at most a week or two away when people can actually get one of these phones.

Launch on major carriers on day one

BlackBerry 10's success will be highly dependent on how well the launch goes in the U.S. The only way to make that happen is to simultaneously have new Blackberry 10 phones available at the major carriers from day one.

It would be good to have top execs from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint on the stage at the launch event to make it clear that folks can get a BlackBerry 10 phone shortly after the launch event concludes.

RIM absolutely must not make an exclusive deal with one or two of these carriers as is common done in the U.S. BlackBerry 10 and RIM must hit the ground running in the U.S. and a market restricted by a business deal is suicide. Launch everywhere is the only way to go.

Forget tablets

The BlackBerry PlayBook has never recovered from the debacle of its launch. Even though RIM is still pushing its tablet it should not be anywhere near the launch event this week.

A BlackBerry 10 tablet can be introduced at some point in the future but don't dilute the excitement of the launch event for the all-important phones by bringing a tablet to the stage. The tech press will crucify RIM no matter how good a new tablet might be, so save it for its own launch event in the future. If a new PlayBook really is good then it would be better shown at its own event down the road, after the phones are doing well.

Consumers first but don't forget the enterprise

The consumer market is important for BlackBerry 10 to hit the ground running so it should be the primary focus of the launch event. RIM could even appeal to the young adult crowd that was a strong segment for past products.

The enterprise segment shouldn't be overlooked at the event, though, as it is still a major portion of RIM's dwindling market share. Demonstrate how BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) has evolved with BlackBerry 10 to be a sound technology for corporations. Demonstrate how the new phone(s) will be a good fit for enterprises, leaving no doubt that companies must give BlackBerry a good look.

Build the buzz

Following the steps outlined in this article can go a long way to building big buzz around BlackBerry 10, both the operating system and the phones that run it. The objective is to create a lot of excitement for the new system and to do so by actually showing it off and then put it on sale right away.

At this all-important launch event RIM should avoid using canned video as the vehicle for showing it off. This leads to questions about the readiness of the new platform. Anything less than an exciting launch event is unacceptable and will actually hurt RIM more than help it. And please keep this RIM employee band far away from this event.

See related:

Topic: BlackBerry

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18 comments
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  • The excitement builds- at least for me

    I hope that we witness a tech company reversing direction and reclaiming a sizeable share of the cell phone tech market . Competition is good for the consumer and more horses in a race makes it more exciting with the new innovations that are developed. I think you have laid out pretty much what RIM must do to get back in the race. I hope they have ironed out major glitches and the software works as advertised otherwise it will suffer the fate of the PlayBook. The PlayBook has become a decent tablet but its debut' was less than stellar. Go RIM!
    PTZ55
    • Agreed but...

      I'd tend to agree with you about competition however RIM has proven that they don't care about the consumer market. They personally stagnated it until the iPhone and Android came along. Also being that RIM's biggest hook is BES, I'd personally prefer that RIM didn't make it through happy and shiny mostly because BES is a horribly proprietary solution and can hold a few too many companies hostage.
      MrSmith317
    • Seen this before....

      This year is getting kind of like the professional camera business was for decades. Canon and Nikon had a solid 85% of the market... not far from Android + iOS's 90% of the market. Everyone else fought over that market: Pentax, Konica, Minolta, Leica, Miranda, Yashica, Contax, Olympus. Many are gone now, or swallowed up by other companies.

      Of course, right now, it's mostly about the OS race for third place: BlackBerry 10, Windows Phone 8, BadaOS, Tizen, Ubuntu for Phones, Firefox OS. These guys need to dislodge a few points here and there from Apple or Android to even hope of having a strong third place finish. But it's hard to imagine they're not just fighting each other for either the fringe of users no happy with current offerings, or "emerging markets" -- in short, remaining irrelevant to the Western World.
      Hazydave
  • Liquidate all assests

    It's their only chance... :-(
    T1Oracle
  • RIM is back

    I know it sounds far fetched to say & I know some will even laugh but I seriously do believe Apple needs to be really scared now. I also think this will help, not hurt Windows phone as it will get a lot of people out of they're IOS/Android trance & who wouldn't be all for that?
    gordongr
  • You needn't worry about RIM going exclusive with one carrier ..

    ..as they already have agreements with the US big three:
    http://www.zdnet.com/verizon-at-and-t-t-mobile-will-carry-blackberry-10-phones-7000009635/
    .as well as 100 or so other carriers worldwide.
    I agree that BB10 is make-or-break for RIM, but its funny seeing all the "experts" suddenly seeing the possibility of a comeback, after pronouncing RIM dead over and over during the past year.
    radleym
    • From day one

      Yes but as I stated they must have them all out from day one, not "sometime this year".
      JamesKendrick
      • Several "musts" are actually maybes

        Most people who have actually used one would realize that the Playbook is one of the better tablets on the market, and at its launch, was arguably the best 7" on the market. It was panned by the media mostly out of ignorance for actual use cases of the device in its core market (heavy BB users).

        That said, it is arguable at best whether a 5" phone needs a 7" accessory.

        The only thing I would add to the list would be show off a keyboard phone for crying out loud. We get that everyone and his dog can make a shiny 5" touchscreen retina blah-de-blah phone. Show us what you've got that's different. Give me a solid, lightning fast keyboard phone that feels good and has a great phone and data connection on weak signals on all networks.
        dimonic
        • "...show off a keyboard phone for crying out loud."

          ^^^ This!! ^^^

          Give me a solid, lightning fast keyboard phone that feels good and has a great phone and data connection on weak signals on all networks.
          psiddle
          • X10

            Chill...it's coming. The X10, the qwerty equivalent of the Z10 which will also sport the BB10 OS, should be released sometime after...
            jvictor77
    • Um..

      The US big three are Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. T-Mobile International AG is actually larger than Verizon/Vodaphone, but here, not so big, even after the Metro PCS merger.
      Hazydave
  • Returning users may make the difference

    I gave up on BB several years ago due to the cost of a hosted BES layer and inflated carrier charges. I may have become an iSheep, but man do I miss that QWERTY keypad! Now that BB10 supports ActiveSync out of the box, I'll be able to get my Exchange mail pushed just like iOS. So I'll be sorely tempted to revisit BB - if only for that great little keypad.
    capeleopard
  • I'm sticking with BB

    As long as they last, I'm sticking with BB. Best radio of any smartphone out there. I've had iPhone and Samsung S II and returned them because of bad radios. Love the radio on BB Bold phones.
    ITOdeed
  • No matter what RIM does, it is too little, too late.

    Our BES subscriptions have dropped 90% since we topped out. Now the BlackBerry 10 works with EAS (Exchange ActiveSync) so my employer is dropping BES altogether. Ths also means that RIM won't have income from carriers who charge customers a 50% premium to support BES.

    RIM has effectively starved its BES Cash Cow to death. I don't see that they can survive.
    M Wagner
    • Right ..

      After all, only 80,000,000 remaining subscribers and abt $3,000,000,000 in the bank - its clear they're on their last legs.
      radleym
  • Was that song for real?

    Did anyone listen/watch that song?

    I thought it was a joke...until the credits showed up at the end of the video.

    Amazingly, it now pushes Balmer's Developers song to #2 on the all time embarrassing tech moments.
    costa k
    • Because?

      I thought the video was well done, and frankly rather fun. Everyone makes a big deal about how RIM wasn't willing to show their support for the developers, well here's an indication that they're willing to step out and show the developers a little love.

      This was released during a developers' conference as part of an attempt by RIM to win back some of the developer support that they had lost over the years. It was part of a comprehensive approach that included new developer tools and improved hands on support processes.

      Everyone always complained about how staid and boring RIM was; how better to throw off that image and say, "things have changed" than having some of your execs make a silly little video to show that they're willing to have some fun from time to time? Besides, judging by the amount of developer support RIM seems to be getting in the run up to BB10, something's working. If it works, I'm guessing RIM won't care if Alec Saunders is riding up and down the White House lawn on a unicycle, wearing a clown suit.
      murnende
  • "I have one word to say to you son "apps""

    A paraphrase from The Graduate applies in spades here. Adoption of these products depends heavily on the availability of apps. A software package for App developers that allows an IOS or Android app to be quickly recompiled for the Blackberry, and an app store that is generous to app developers would make all the difference.
    **owly**