Research in Motion is rushing its first QNX-based smartphone to the market without a key feature, which may lead to a botched launch of the company’s new platform.
RIM is having trouble integrating its BlackBerry Enterprise Server e-mail and calendar into QNX, according to analyst group Jefferies & Company. The BlackBerry maker aims to launch the Colt, its first QNX smartphone early next year, but may have to ship it without BES support in order to hit its target date.
Without BES support, the Colt will be nearly useless for corporate and enterprise customers, who won’t be able to get native e-mail on their devices. RIM has stayed afloat because of its relationship with business customers despite its attempts to broaden to the mass market. The company may be at high risk of crashing and burning if RIM enters into its new era without the business portion of its customer base to back it up.
RIM’s move to push the Colt to the market comes at a time when its BlackBerry OS 7 devices are not selling as well as expected and shareholders increasingly pressure the company to sell itself or its patents to increase profits. The company may think it needs quick results to indicate a turnaround is in the works, but analysts don’t believe rushing the device is the answer.
RIM initially pushed its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet into stores before it was ready, and critics called the device “half-baked”. The PlayBook proceeded to sell so poorly that RIM scrapped plans for a successor so it could focus completely on its QNX phones. RIM can’t afford to have its new QNX phones become the next PlayBook.
RIM may, in its haste to deliver something, unveil an unfinished product as BlackBerry OS 7 phones struggle to generate revenue and shareholders continue to pressure the company. The real answer for RIM right now may be to focus on delivering a quality product rather than focusing on a deadline.
If RIM can’t execute a successful launch of QNX-based BlackBerry devices, it may be the last mistake the company ever makes.
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