Heins Thorsten, the RIM CEO, has stated in an interview that the new Blackberry 10 OS and its devices are nearly ready for launch, and on schedule for in early 2013.
In the interview Thorsten said that whilst the software is mainly ready, it’s going through a final phase of ‘polishing’ and that he is confident the launch date won’t slip again.
Blackberry 10 Devices
RIM in the past have usually had a plethora of Blackberry devices on the market, some are budget models, others are more sophisticated and then you have the latest offering’s RIM can provide catering for all budgets of the consumer, suffice to say there have been many iterations of Blackberry devices.
This time however, things are different, RIM are releasing just two types of phones. One will be your standard physical QWERTY keyboard affair that Blackberry are known for, the other will be a touch only interface, which hasn’t exactly been RIM’s strong point, we shudder to even whisper the words, ‘Blackberry Storm.’
Thorsten also stated that there will be three price points, low-end, mid range, and high-end, although no actual prices have been commented on as yet.
Winning Back the Consumer
At one point, not too long ago, nearly everyone had either an iPhone or a Blackberry. Generally the Blackberry was slightly more popular due to either Blackberry messenger providing free messages between other Blackberry devices, which made Blackberry oh so popular in the public sector, or because it was a phone provided by work due to its enterprise servers. The people with the iPhone were either willing to pay the higher price point (at the time) or wanted the cool new ‘thing’, but on the whole, personally, I knew more people with Blackberry’s than iPhone’s, but that slowly began to change. The iPhone became more affordable, and Blackberry’s OS started to look older and dated, had less features and eventually just couldn’t compete.
So what are RIM going to do about their decline in popularity? Thorsten has stated that the touch focused device is to be the weapon of choice RIM will wield in winning back the public stating, “First we’ll serve the loyal Blackberry customer base” and after that RIM are going to aim for customers that left them for Android; “Second, we’ve heard of some Blackberry users going to Android and being dissatisfied. We’ll try to win them back, one by one if we have to.”
So RIM finally appear to have a plan, but is it little too late? With RIM focusing on just a few products but spending more time on the quality of them, then perhaps they are in with a chance, and if they are able to successfully license out BB10 and get other manufacturers on board, then that can only help to rebuild RIM’s market share.
Blackberry still have a big reputation with the general consumer, and if a good-looking device with a well designed handset is produced by them, and the carriers actually advertise them then RIM could come back with vengeance.
Update: RIM have confirmed that they are going to carriers with demo models and ideas as best to how promote their devices, which can only mean that RIM really are trying all the tricks possible, a lesson that Microsoft and Nokia could learn.