I have to admit I feel a little betrayed by RIM. I am sure many of you can say the same. Throughout this year, RIM has firmly stated that the BlackBerry 10 operating system would be released on a device in “latter part of 2012”. With the Q1 FY2013 earnings results, RIM announced that the first BlackBerry 10 device has been delayed to Q1 2013. Delays are nothing new to BlackBerry users over the years, but it has been a piece of the puzzle to RIM’s current failings. While the delay of BlackBerry 10 is certainly bad, it should not be viewed as RIM’s ‘nail in the coffin.’
As Thorsten Heins stated during the earnings call, “We’re not just building a new product, we’re building a whole new platform and it should not be underestimated.” This statement is very true. RIM has essentially started all over again as a company. The current java-based operating system is getting its end of life cycle as RIM looks to make QNX their bridge to continued growth. For that growth to happen, RIM must ensure that the BlackBerry 10 platform is a winning, attractive one. Therefore, I see the delay as being ‘ok’ while RIM perfects BB10. RIM and consumers alike do not want another half-baked product.
I would much rather wait 6 months to know I’d be getting a solid product versus being impatient and getting a dud. Looking at RIM’s past, they have had numerous duds! The list of other shortcomings can go on and on too. Perhaps, this delay is a sign that RIM wants to right that wrong? Maybe BlackBerry 10 will finally be that solid device and solid tablet we’ve needed from RIM? From the earnings call, I took it that RIM understands this. Here’s the 3 main takeaway points I took from the earnings call:
- RIM says it will focus on developing fewer devices (logical, given the impact of massive job cuts on R&D).
- RIM all but admits it will soon begin burning cash.
- RIM says it’s in a “good position on patents.” That, together with the hiring of Verizon’s General Counsel to be the company’s new legal chief, could indicate RIM is looking for ways to monetize its patent portfolio.
As we saw with the leaks of the L and N series devices, these will be the first BlackBerry 10 devices. Apparently, these are the only planned devices at this stage (not sure if the ‘Milan’ slider is still in the mix). I once said before in “5 Things RIM Needs to do for Rebuilding BlackBerry Consumer Loyalty” that RIM should consolidate its brands, and it FINALLY looks like they’re getting it. By limiting the amount of devices in their lineup it will bring three positive things: less fragmentation, easier to develop on, and smaller manufacturing costs.
Additionally, by limiting their device portfolio it will ease up on that cash burning. RIM only grossed $1,000,000 in cash over the last quarter. I’m sure, as the analysts expect, RIM will quickly use its cash reserves over the next quarter, since BlackBerry 7 sell-through has been anything but spectacular. Though, RIM still has its excellent patent portfolio and is emerging strongly in the automotive industry with QNX Car 2 infotainment systems.
It will be a tough road ahead, but I believe RIM will persevere and succeed. Just remember, everyone thought Apple was going to tank, but what did they do? They revolutionized the way we listen to music by unveiling the iPod. I’m not saying RIM can deliver such a crazy innovation like the iPod, but I will say that I’m willing to bet BlackBerry 10 can succeed at being a winning platform.
If you’d like to read the other 4 things I think RIM should do, check it out here. What do you think RIM should do? Can you wait for BlackBerry 10?