There once was a time that most people would agree BlackBerry was the smartphone device to beat before Apple screwed everything up with something called an iPhone. Latest RIM earnings reports show a company that was climbing from the depths of hell with a growing excitement among developers for its long anticipated BlackBerry 10 platform. Alec Saunders, RIM’s VP of developer relations is quoted:
“The focus we have had on building a true developer ecosystem and community is clearly working,” he said in a statement today.
Still, the challenge he faces was underscored by a report last month which showed RIM’s share of U.S. smartphone sales in the 12 weeks ended Oct. 28, tumbled 6.9 percentage points to 1.6% from a year earlier. RIM’s new BlackBerry 10 phones will be unveiled Jan. 30 before going on sale on “multiple continents” in February.”
Now comes the 12/20 earnings call where RIM outperformed street estimates but they cut future earnings based on lower service fees. CEO Thorsten Heins said that lower-end users will generate “less or no service revenue” in the future – an area that just happens to be a very profitable source of revenue . I know much has been written here on WSO about RIM as a potential buyout candidate, a true case study in the making for investors, etc. but can we all really expect this business to turn around a fight with the likes of Apple and Samsung?
Here are some real reasons you might be excited for BlackBerry 10:
- Peek view in every area of the UI
- The flick typing of words in predictive text
- Groupings of contact interaction in one area as opposed to browser, contacts, LinkedIn, etc.
- Seemingly seamless transition between enterprise secure data versus personal use (a potential savior for anyone who carries two phones for this exact reason)
At the BlackBerry Jam Americas (keep in mind this title is likely from the same CEO who was allegedly going to “rock and roll this!” after his initial appointment) keynote back in September, the company demoed some of these features in their upcoming OS. Certainly some really cool features, but many of us are already seeing on our (enter smartphone other than BlackBerry here) device. This is one of the biggest critiques of the company of late in being a late mover to new technology and features (Apple has also garnered some criticism here). Can this really be what keeps this company from falling into oblivion or is it an “audition” to develop a package that they can license to other smartphone manufacturers?
One last thing. I recently read that the Cubes is squarely in the corner of Microsoft, saying his Nokia 920 (running Windows Phone 8) “crushes the iPhone 5. Not even close” . First and foremost, I am a believer that competition drives innovation which in turn can only lead to a better environment both for manufacturers and consumers alike. Could this be a technological ménage-a-trois among Apple, Samsung and Windows that consumers have been clamoring for? And, if so, where does fit into the equation?