It just looks bad for RIM.At its BlackBerry Jam developers conference today, the company showed off the latest iteration of BlackBerry 10, the new mobile operating system launching next year that it’s essentially betting the entire company on. (Keep in mind, after months and months of delays, it’s still not finished.)
If BB10 isn’t a hit, then RIM is dead.
I watched RIM’s CEO Thorsten Heins’ keynote this morning and came away unimpressed. A bulk of the presentation was spent talking about the excitement surrounding BB10, with very little time dedicated to demos and features. Carriers are excited! Enterprise customers are excited! Fans are excited! Yet Heins didn’t give one concrete example of what that means. I don’t understand how people can be bullish on a product that has been delayed so many times, a product that looks more and more like it won’t be released before RIM collapses. (RIM’s new target for BB10 is February 2013, which it says it’s still on track to meet. We’ve heard that line before though.)
It seems like the general consensus among BlackBerry lovers is, “Finally! We get to do all the cool stuff Android and iPhone users can do!” Which is good. BlackBerry fans should be excited that their beloved platform of choice has caught up. There’s a lot to like here. The interface looks nice. It seems like a lot of app developers are on board. (Probably because they get a guaranteed $10,000 for making BB10 apps.) Multitasking is brilliant. And there are some cool tweaks like the ability to “flick” a suggested word from the keyboard into the text field to save you time while typing.
But it feels like too little, too late. BB10 looks polished so far, but as far as features go, it doesn’t offer much that you can’t already do on Android or iPhone. And unless there’s some crazy surprise coming when the OS launches next year, I’m not sure RIM will be able to peel away consumers from the competition. Nothing RIM showed today made me go, “Holy cow! I need that!”
None of BB10’s features, even when considered in full, seem like they’ll be enough to pull people back to Team BlackBerry. Same goes for the untapped market of people buying their first smartphone next year. I don’t see a good reason for your average person to go into a store and choose an unproven operating system like BB10 over iPhone or Android.
It’s going to be a disaster.
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