RIM faces make-or-break BlackBerry 10 launch

Jan 30, 2013 by John Biers
Thorsten Heins, Research in Motion (RIM) CEO, is pictured at the BlackBerry Jam conference in California on September 25, 2012. RIM will officially launch the BlackBerry 10 on Wednesday, an effort that some see as the company's last, best chance to remain a player in a smartphone market.

It's the moment of truth for BlackBerry maker Research in Motion.

The Canadian company Wednesday will officially launch the BlackBerry 10, an effort that some see as the company's last, best chance to remain a player in a smartphone market it once dominated.

RIM burst on the scene with the BlackBerry in 2003. That was long before the and other competing technologies emerged to steal control of the market from RIM with their more consumer-friendly smartphones.

The company boomed as the maker of "crackberries," a nickname stemming from the addiction the phones engendered in users.

But now, unless the Blackberry 10 is a hit, RIM faces becoming a footnote in an increasingly led by Apple and rivals who use 's operating system.

"The importance of this launch cannot be overstated," said Ramon Llamas, an analyst at the research firm IDC. "There's going to be a lot of work that needs to be done to earn back respect."

RIM touts the system as a big change in smartphone technology.

A woman walks past an Apple iPhone 5 advertisement in New York City on January 14, 2013. Unless the Blackberry 10 is a hit, RIM faces becoming a footnote in an increasingly competitive market led by Apple and rivals who use Google's Android operating system.

"This is an entirely new operating system," said company spokesman Nick Manning. "We think it's the first entirely new mobile operating system in about five years."

RIM says the system will break new ground by allowing customers to flip between applications seamlessly and without first passing through a home page, to boost efficiency and multitasking.

Another key asset of BlackBerry 10 is what RIM dubbed the "BlackBerry balance," a system that allows users to separate professional communications and applications from music, photographs and other personal items.

Such an option means that if a user changes job, his or her former company can disable the device's corporate side without affecting .

RIM's recent performance on Wall Street suggests the market is open to the BlackBerry 10. Shares have risen more than 30 percent since the start of the year, although they dropped back over the last two sessions.

Gartner analyst Phillip Redman said RIM still has a strong constituency of business users who prefer its hard keyboard and its reputation for strong network security.

While Redman doesn't think the 10 will surpass Apple's iPhone or Android products, the device "has great comeback potential," he wrote in a recent blog entry.

But others see only a modest opening for RIM given the cutthroat competition in the smartphone market.

"We don't buy the hype," Citi analyst Jim Suva said in a research note, pointing out that rivals such as China's Huawei are also entering the market.

Sterne, Agee & Leach analyst Shaw Wu noted that many of the high-end customers to which is marketing have already migrated to other devices.

"We see the company getting a degree of traction in this higher end market, but doubt there is a return to its former glory," Wu said.

Explore further: Chinese man brings gay conversion therapy lawsuit

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A look at RIM's much-delayed BlackBerry 10

Jun 28, 2012

On Thursday, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. announced yet another delay to its upcoming BlackBerry 10 system, which the company considers crucial to its future. It's now expected in the first quarter ...

A look at RIM's much-delayed BlackBerry 10

Jul 10, 2012

Research in Motion Ltd. faced disgruntled investors Tuesday, less than two weeks after announcing yet another delay to its upcoming BlackBerry 10 system, which the company considers crucial to its future. It's now expecte ...

RIM shares up on reports of new BlackBerry

Jul 29, 2010

Shares in Canada's Research in Motion surged Wednesday on reports the BlackBerry maker plans to release a new smartphone next week to rival Apple's iPhone.

A look at RIM's much-delayed BlackBerry 10

Oct 31, 2012

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion says it's now testing its much-delayed BlackBerry 10 smartphones with 50 wireless carriers around the world. RIM calls it a key step. ...

Recommended for you

Chinese man brings gay conversion therapy lawsuit

38 minutes ago

(AP)—A gay Chinese man said Thursday he was suing a psychological clinic for carrying out electric shocks intended to turn him straight, as well as the search engine giant Baidu for advertising the center.

Alcatel loss narrows in 2Q but revenue stagnates

1 hour ago

(AP)—Telecommunications equipment company Alcatel-Lucent SA says its net loss narrowed in the second quarter thanks to lower accounting charges, while revenue stagnated and restructuring charges mounted.

Sony surprises with first quarter profit

6 hours ago

(AP)—Sony Corp. reported a surprise eightfold jump in quarterly profit Thursday as sales got a perk from a cheap yen and its bottom line was helped by gains from selling buildings and its stake in a video-game maker.

User comments : 0