Thorsten Heins, RIM’s president and CEO, is heavily focussed on bringing their new BlackBerry 10 OS and new smartphones to market. A few days ago we were given a first hand look at the OS, plus handled both the all-touch and QWERTY devices – overall I was impressed with the designs and the present state of the OS (you can read our full write up here).
The next time we’ll see RIM give an update on the status of BB10 will be at the upcoming BlackBerry Jam Americas 2012, formerly BlackBerry DevCon, which is taking place September 25-27 in San Jose. However, when we spoke with RIM execs they said everything is on track for the release in Q1 2013.
RIM has 78 million BlackBerry subscribers, no debt, and $2 billion in the bank. However, there’s no denying the fact that they are currently faced with troubled times. The company is relying on several year-old devices to push them through the busy Q4 holiday rush, their stock price has significantly dropped, plus announced thousands of layoffs. Amidst all of this fog, Heins, and the rest of the team, are driven to succeed. Which, if successful, will be one heck of an underdog story.
The Globe published a story on the weekend that quotes Heins as saying RIM “needs to expand market share, there’s no doubt. Today, let’s be frank, I’m participating mostly in the QWERTY [keyboard] market. … I’m not really participating in any meaningful way in the [touch-screen] segment. So with BlackBerry 10, I will maintain and stay the leader in [devices with physical keyboards]. On full-touch, I’m in attack mode.”
When RIM officially launches BlackBerry 10 they’ll be targeting – or attacking – their 78 million subscribers. These are presumed to be the loyal ones. The all-touch will be first, then the QWERTY. What will be most interesting to see is not the hardware, nor the flow of the software, but how RIM prices the smartphones. What will they do to encourage current customers to trade-up, and also how woo Apple, Android or Windows Phone users to switch? Pricing will be key.