Can the new BlackBerry save RIM?
Research in Motion unveils five new smartphones — two with a touchscreen and keyboard. But that still might not be enough to catch Apple and Android
In July, Research in Motion (RIM), the maker of BlackBerry, announced it would be killing some 2,000 jobs following dispiriting quarterly earnings. BlackBerry was once the go-to smartphone, but RIM, outpaced by Apple and Android, has lost 10 percent of its market share since the end of 2010. On Wednesday, the struggling company announced five new BlackBerry smartphones: The touchscreen-only Torch 9850 and 9860, the Torch 9810 with a slide-out keyboard, and the Bold 9900 and 9930, which have a touchscreen and a QWERTY keyboard. Can these new gadgets turn things around for RIM?
They just might: The new BlackBerry smartphones "may give the iPhone and Android a run for their money," says International Business Times. BlackBerry's keyboard has always been one of its best attributes, but the devices lost their edge with the advent of touchscreen phones. So a device featuring a touchscreen and the iconic keyboard — the best of both worlds — might just be "one of the most useful smartphones" around. And, "with a brushed stainless steel frame, the 9900 is sure to grab some attention for its aesthetics." "The latest BlackBerrys: A threat to the iPhone and Droid?"
It all depends on the apps: The new phone line-up looks "competitive," says analyst Tony Cripps, as quoted by Mobile Magazine. But ultimately, success will depend on whether third-party developers design apps for the new phones. "Smart devices are increasingly sold to consumers as much on a promise of what those devices can deliver in terms of applications and services as they are on their design.""Will the new BlackBerry handsets boost RIM's market share?"
Nope. This is too little, too late: "The new handsets show positive evolution and will surely sell to the BlackBerry faithful," but the new operating system is still terribly antiquated, says Kevin C. Tofel at GigaOm. BlackBerry OS 7 is a mere "stop-gap" platform until RIM releases smartphones that run on the same operating system, QNX, as the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. That's a big problem. The iPhone came out in 2007; it's nearly 2012, and RIM's "best response is still in the works.""New OS 7 phones won’t help BlackBerry's turnaround"