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Is RIM Making a Return with BB10?

What Does Missing the Holiday Boat Mean?

Finally, RIM decides to launch it’s BB 10 Smartphones on Jan 30th after a much delayed launch. Jan 30th means that it would have skipped the 2012 holiday season and show up months after new iPhones and Androids probably would have invaded the marketplace.   CEO Thorsten Heins seems to be optimistic about it, but the fact remains that RIM has a lot of work to do to prevent the brand from a downward spiral and be profitable again. Test versions of the BB10 devices did win some accolades from the developer and carrier community, but RIM still needs to cross the chasm with the end user community. It plans a projected launch of about 100,000 apps — which is still a fraction of what Apple or Google are doing.

All Eggs in One Basket?

It’s but evident that the company is staking it’s future on this new release through a line of smartphones that will run on BB10 or BB10 OS. The claim to fame of the new OS is a faster and smoother user interface and a better platform for apps that are critical to a smartphone’s success.   Some interface concepts such as ‘flow and peak’ and a seamless movement between the new apps are all being talked about as BB’s USPs. The question is if this is going to enough of RIM to restart their stalled growth?

Will This be Another Playbook?

The playbook tablet fell short by a margin back in 2011 for various reasons — insufficient application ecosystem, lack of support and software glitches. Hope BB realizes the importance of app libraries apart from releasing a state-of-the-art OS and devices to prevent unsold inventory and tepid demand. They need not have a slew of applications but will definitely have to ensure the profitability of their application developer’s portal.

How is RIM Going to Build Long Term Value?

RIM has the mind share of the Asian market but needs to gain the confidence of the US and other North American customers. Gaining support from the carriers then will go a long way to establish themselves as a true ‘mobile computing’ maven as those companies are looking for a handset supplier. For carriers, it’s giving a broader choice of devices for their user base and think beyond the two giants.

Another value proposition, the company offers unique hardware and software in one package, something which Microsoft may change but definitely puts RIM at a good footing. The company also boasts of user-friendly keyboard, trusted security features and multiple language functionality, but in a world of stiff competition, these features might get sidelined.

RIM needs to win over their developer community and convince them that they would be successful on this platform. The BB Jam conferences had sparse attendance and little excitement from developers which does not help the cause. Remember how Microsoft gave away Surfaces at their developer’s summit? There might be some lessons to learn here.

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