Is a 2013 Q1 BlackBerry 10 Release Too Late for RIM?

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(Originally published on notable.ca)

Oh, RIM.

This year has been, and will continue to be, an emotional rollercoaster for the struggling tech giant. Seems like they can’t do much right in the eyes of critics and pundits. It’s generally a tough time, but one I do believe, strongly, that they will pull through. I won’t go over the numerous blunders they’ve had to brush under the rug – you can Google them – but I will say, all things being equal, that Canada needs RIM to pull through this, as disgruntling as it seems, and I have their back as much as I can.

Being said, this last week a personal friend and very respected mobile journalist, Al Sacco of CIO.com, had the chance to sit down intimately with the now notorious CEO. They discussed, of course, RIM, its future, when the devices will finally come to market and why he is using Android over iPhone currently.

Below is a notable excerpt from their conversation:

Al Sacco: “But how long do they [users] have to wait for RIM to prove it is still in the game? Will BlackBerry 10 solve all of RIM’s problems?”

Thorsten Heins: “I’m not happy with the situation at RIM either. Who can be happy and satisfied with where we are? What I am satisfied with is that I know we have a path to the future with BlackBerry 10, because I see it. In January with the full touch device and the QWERTY coming, I think we will reinstall faith in RIM. That’s what we’re working on…I have faith in the future. My team is working relentlessly to create that future.”

So there you have it, January 2013. Do you think you can wait?

Over the last several weeks (mainly since the dreadful RIM Q1 conference call) I have noticed something interesting – something that I saw last year this time in New York City: more Android devices in consumer hands than BlackBerrys. (I don’t include iPhone’s because it’s become a standard to see at least 1 in 3 people in a group using an iPhone.) Android, the open source OS that has taken mobile by storm, the same OS that Canada has had a love/hate relationship with since it was announced almost 5 years ago.

Seems as though disgruntled consumers are finally jumping the BBM bandwagon and opening their minds to newer pastures – pastures that aren’t iOS.

This raises a big concern/question from me: how can those customers even be brought back a year from now? Can they even? I strongly doubt it’ll be easy. Hardware pricing aside, the average user’s device, through wear and tear, has about a 1.5 year life span before it’s ready for retirement. In January it’ll be over a year since RIM released a major device. The aforementioned users (the ones who are on Android now) are likely former BlackBerry users who were waiting on baited breath for a Q3 device launch so they could upgrade their phone(s). With that release date pushed back, many threw in the towel and just gave up, opting to finally take the plunge and never look back. Do you think they (customers) will be ‘ok’ with just switching back because RIM is ready for them now? Stay tuned…

[quote taken from CIO.com]


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