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: China's Xiaomi raises more than $1 bn in funding

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

China's Xiaomi raises more than $1 bn in funding

5 hours ago

China's top smartphone seller Xiaomi Corp. is raising more than $1 billion in a fresh round of funding, a move which would raise its valuation above $45 billion, a report said Sunday.

Why the Sony hack isn't big news in Japan

Dec 20, 2014

Japan's biggest newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, featured a story about Sony Corp. on its website Friday. It wasn't about hacking. It was about the company's struggling tablet business.

Sony faces 4th ex-employee lawsuit over hack

Dec 20, 2014

A former director of technology for Sony Pictures Entertainment has sued the company over the data breach that resulted in the online posting of his private financial and personal information.

Sony tells AFP it still plans movie release

Dec 20, 2014

Sony Pictures boss Michael Lynton denied Friday the Hollywood studio has "caved" by canceling the release of "The Interview," and said it still hoped to release the controversial film.

2012 movie massacre hung over 'Interview' decision

Dec 19, 2014

When a group claiming credit for the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment threated violence against theaters showing "The Interview" earlier this week, the fate of the movie's big-screen life was all but ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.