RIM CEO Thorsten Heins very confident of BlackBerry 10 success, but should we be?

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Thorsten Heins was appointed CEO of RIM earlier this year after cofounders (and subsequently, co-CEOs) Mike Lazardis and Jim Balsillie were thrown out by the company’s board of directors. In the time from then to now, RIM has faced numerous challenges, including disappointing financial periods, layoffs in the tens of thousands, and numerous delays of its brand-new BlackBerry 10 operating system.

And yet, after the seemingly insufferable turmoil that RIM has gone through this pat year, Heins is still confident that BlackBerry 10 will be the clear choice for many consumers come January 30 – the date that the company promises it will release BB10 to the public.

In an interview with the staff of The New York Times, Heins gave no signs of being worried that BlackBerry 10 will be a disaster – even going so far as to say “I don’t expect things to get much worse,” an obvious answer to the unasked question of how RIM is standing financially and in the minds of consumers.

Heins went on to explain that BlackBerry 10 will introduce a number of features that are “going to catch on with a lot of people,” highlighting the new operating system’s included apps which combine social media and productivity tasks to help people get things done while not being overwhelming. “It’s stress relief,” according to Heins.

Unfortunately, though, I’m not completely sure that anything about BlackBerry 10 is “stress relief,” or that any of it is actually “going to catch on with a lot of people.” Names are important to consumers, and BlackBerry has the horrible connotation of being a work phone – and only a work phone. Any improvements that RIM makes to the BlackBerry platform with BB10 might be for nought, as I can’t think of one person I know personally who is interested in buying a BlackBerry.

To them, and to every non-RIM fanboy consumer I can think of, it’s all about Androids and iPhones.

And that is the problem with BlackBerry 10. The improvements might not matter, as nobody will go out and buy the phones and learn about the improvements. And then developers – even with the free $10,000 that RIM is promising successful developers – won’t actively pursue developing for the platform since there is a small audience who will buy their apps. As you know, this leads to a vicious cycle: consumers won’t buy a phone without apps but developers won’t develop for a phone that is in nobody’s hands.

Apparently, RIM has worked with developers to bring great apps to launch – and honestly, I hope that’s true. Having three dominant players in the mobile market is boring at most times, and having a fourth with dramatically alter the landscape and give us even more choice and innovation, regardless of the platform we choose. And personally, I’ve always thought that RIM has had some amazingly-designed hardware. From what I’ve seen from BlackBerry 10, it’s got some amazingly-designed software, too, so hopefully the team in Waterloo can mend the two together to get the company back to its once-great roots.

RIM also has a couple more months to get more developers on board, but the question remains: can RIM actually bring all of what it’s doing together so it can once again be a leader in the mobile space? I have my doubts; however, RIM doesn’t.

And this is the one instance with which I hope to turn out to be wrong.

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Calob Horton

Calob Horton is an associate editor at Pocketables. He loves all technology, no matter which company it comes from. This unbiased view of the tech world allows him to choose the products that best fit his personal needs and tastes: a Microsoft Surface Pro, a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and a third-gen iPad.Google+ | Twitter | More posts by Calob | Subscribe to Calob's posts

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5 thoughts on “RIM CEO Thorsten Heins very confident of BlackBerry 10 success, but should we be?

  • Blackberries aren’t really even work phones anymore – so many corporate environments have already migrated over to Android and iOS, and – to a less extent – Windows Phone.

    • Avatar of Calob Horton

      True – the company that my father works for is dropping BlackBerrys for another platform, too.

  • Avatar of nathan

    What I’ve seen of BB 10 is light years better than their current phone offerings. However BB 10 looks at beast as good as the current/ slight future competition assuming there are little to no bugs with the software when it’s first release (which is a generous assumption). In no way are they going to win people over instantaneously from Android or iOS. The good news is that BB10 can keep RIM in business but they’re going to have a huge uphill battle to clime.

  • Avatar of hisuwh

    I have already seen so many people move away from BB. They’re leaving it too late really waiting till January. You think they would try and get it out before Christmas? I guess if they’re targeting businesses then this doesn’t matter but they’re missing a heavy buying period if they want to target more generally.

    I can see them potentially alienating their actual loyal customers by abandoning their normal principles and following everyone else into touch screens. If they’re clever they won’t.

    Like you say the app situation is tricky and might have to something drastic to claw their way in on that.

  • Avatar of Robin

    The app situation that RIM is facing right now is the same one every new OS goes through. Thankfully they are only missing a couple of the big app and one has a solution now that they have BBM7 in beta. The developers are on board and now it’s just a matter of time before they have their apps available.

    The biggest thing RIM has going for it is the new QNX OS. Without it RIM would have been finished. Their legacy OS would not have suvived much longer. The other thing RIM has going for it is security. Using the new QNX OS has allowed them to speed to up the FIPS certification process. Security conscious businesses are assured that RIM will keep meeting their needs for a long to come.

    People using the PlayBook have had a chance to see what true multitasking is like. Leaving apps running while doing other tasks not just hiding them. BB10 will also have the latest features like Hub and Peak.

    RIM has also increased their hardware specs to todays current competitors specs.

    The new BB10 phones will be a complete solution for people and they will no longer need to use two phones in order to fill all of their business and personal uses. Yes it has been a long wait for it to come but it’s almost here and the mobile industry needs it.


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