Can Blackberry 10 Return RIM to Profitability?

Blackberry 10

Early next year, RIM will officially launch BB10 and help catapult Blackberry devices into a fresh and new future. There has been quite a bit of hype and positive talk surrounding the upcoming release, and RIM’s stock prices have went up recently as a direct result.

Things might be rough right now, but the future is at least starting to look at least a little bit brighter for RIM and the Blackberry brand. Not everyone feels this way though.

Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley says that he firmly believes BB10 will not return RIM to sustained profitability.

“Our checks do not indicate the consumer pull, carrier push or developer excitement necessary for BlackBerry 10 to reverse the challenging trends faced by RIM,” he argues. Keep in mind that Blackberry 10 hasn’t been publicly demonstrated yet and few everyday consumers probably even know of its existence yet so it’s hard to say what “checks” they went through to figure out that there isn’t going to be excitement for BB10 once it is officially announced.

That said, most analysts seem to be a bit more optimistic, even if cautiously so. Goldman Sachs analyst Simona Jankowski says there is about a 30% chance of Blackberry 10 will be a true success. 30 percent isn’t that high, but at least is a more positive outlook than Canaccord Genuity and T. Michael Walkley are suggesting.

BB10

Blackberry 10 – Will it Succeed?

So is there any chance that Walkley is correct? And if it flops, is RIM pretty much done for? Honestly, it’s hard to say for sure, though we doubt it will be flat out failure like Walkley seems to suggest.

RIM still has plenty of Blackberry fans across the globe that will gladly make the switch to BB10. Even if Blackberry devices aren’t as popular in the United States, there are many other markets where RIM is still very popular, such as in parts of Africa and Asia.

It’s also worth mentioning that for those that like the idea of a physical keyboard, there are still few devices that manage to compete with the Blackberry’s keyboard design.

The hard work ahead of RIM will be convincing developers to fully support the new platform. The key for RIM will likely be to focus on quality, not quantity. You don’t need to have 700,000+ apps to be a success, you just need to have the apps that your target audience wants and needs.

To be honest, Blackberry handsets are seem to be niche devices, at least in my personal opinion. They have a clear business/productivity focus and aren’t exactly a mainstream “be all, do all” device in the way that some of its competition is— personally I consider that a compliment in many ways. You don’t have to be mainstream to be a success. Blackberry has always been a great platform for those that like multi-tasking and productivit,y first and foremost, and BB10 will likely continue that trend.

RIM’s operating system might have fallen behind the times in certain ways, but they aren’t completely out for the count just yet.

Competition is hot with the emergence of Windows Phone 8 and the current strong positions that Android and iOS enjoy, but it is really way to early to judge BB10 for sure. Blackberry 10 seems like an interesting OS, though it still remains unseen whether it has the power to return RIM to profitability or not.

What do you think of RIM’s Blackberry 10 are you excited or do you think it is a case of too little, too late?

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27 Comments

  1. veeru789 says:

    Hi Andrew,

    nice well balanced article. its refreshing to see articles not mindlessly bashing RIM.

    “What do you think of RIM’s Blackberry 10 are you excited or do you think it is a case of too little, too late?”

    I am definitely getting both L and N series on lauch. I love BB’s. its those small things that make the phone so joyful. example, key board short cuts, integration with social media to BBM, BBM (when the D for delivered turns to R for Read-little BB magic), emails, data compression (saves tons of money while international roaming),ecct….. i dont need 100,000 fart apps. all the ones i need are already there on BB.

    its not a zero sum game:
    Most analysts also forget that the smartphone market has just started to evolve. for example, in India there are 900 million mobile phone subscribers (Please correct me if im wrong). Only a fraction of them are on smart phones. similarly in africa & middle east. RIM doesnt actually have to eat apples or googles market share to be successful. there is a huge mkt which is yet to be tapped. it is definitely not a zerosum game.

    Mobile computing – the future:
    in the more developed markets where smart phone market is more or less matured, the future is mobile computing – devices talking to devices ( not just cloud to sync photos). and this where RIM is heading. it already has presence in automotive, hospitals, defence, nuclear powerplants, ect. and RIM’s NOC can push updates, fixes, real time info to smartphones or what ever device (tablet, car, house control system) that is. its imperative to look beyond all the noise and see the potential of this wonderful platform. i truly believe RIM is upto something BIG. next 4-5 years will be very exciting.

  2. Robocec says:

    That’s carried over to the new phone

  3. Robocec says:

    Went to I phone 5 hated it so went back to bb can’t wait fof bb10. It’s the little thing bb do that are good ie little red light flashing when you have an email. That will be cat tied over to the new phone.

  4. Jake says:

    I switched to Android last year (BIG MISTAKE).
    I can’t wait to get back to BlackBerry!
    I think that there are a lot of people waiting to switch back. I really hate when bloggers use the last four words of this article. It’s only too late if the company has been bought out or run out of cash. Neither is the case for RIM. I think RIM will be one of the biggest comeback stories in tech history.

  5. Mare Juli says:

    I can’t wait … I’ve seen the fantastic new format and it will be awesome to be able to multi task and enjoy quick, seamless switching between my web activities ! !

  6. Max Li says:

    Very excited about this! This platform shows potential. The swipe features/hub look so promising I can imagine myself using it all the time! It does not have an iphone air about it or infact in doesn’t feel like any other phone on the market. It feels formal, mature, and stylish. I hope this would appeal the majority of the consumers. Perhaps taking the perspective on smartphones to another level instead of just being a hipster toy.

  7. Frendy says:

    I believe RIM will succeed with BB10! I’ll purchase it as soon as it is available.

  8. BlackBerry looks great, I’m definitely. Excited and can’t wait to get one.

  9. Tim says:

    “Our checks do not indicate the consumer pull, carrier push or developer
    excitement necessary for BlackBerry 10 to reverse the challenging
    trends faced by RIM,”

    No kidding. They haven’t even been announce yet. The carriers haven’t started marketing them yet either.

    Also, I fail to see why the new phones cannot be mainstream again. You never really gave a reason for that. If they have a good User Experience and have the apps that people want, why can’t they make a comeback? Android started from zero and look where they are.

    • Andrew_Grush says:

      You make a great point about Android starting from nothing. I suppose saying they won’t be “mainstream” isn’t good wording and is kind of vague on what I actually meant.

      I really didn’t mean that Blackberry can’t be a market leader— instead I meant that they will likely always have more of a specific purpose.

      Blackberry has seems to be targeted towards heavy multi-taskers, business users and productivity first and foremost. Don’t get me wrong, it can do gaming and entertainment just fine, but these seem secondary.

      Keep in mind that being a solid platform with a clear focus IS NOT a bad thing. It can actually be a really positive thing.

      BB10 is different than Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8— and that’s a compliment in my opinion, not a criticism. RIM Blackberry isn’t trying to “be all and do all” at this point. It is taking the things that RIM knows well and it is running with these things. Again, BB10 could try a more “be all, do all” approach with BB10 that would give it a more mainstream feel— until we see the apps it is hard to say for sure and as a result I’m going to slightly reword my article to avoid future confusion.

      I’m actually very excited to see how RIM progresses going forward and expect many of these analysts to be flat out wrong.

      Thanks again for commenting, and also for letting me see that my word choice could have been better! :)

  10. Leah says:

    I’m super excited about the BB10. No iPhone or Android for this smart phone user! Blackberry all the way!

  11. dale says:

    I thought the article was good. I switched to blackberry a year ago from Nokia and have liked them. IPhones are great but they lack many details that Blackberries have. I plan to buy a BB10 with keyboard as soon as it is on TMobile in the US.

  12. nb says:

    i have hard time believe these analysts and even more their idiotic theories. RIM is WAY AHEAD of any smart phone in the market, only in technology. The ONLY thing lacking in there is MARKETING. I would bet on this, if Apple would acquire RIM, overnite RIM would be the superstar with Apple’s marketing techniques.

  13. JJ says:

    I’ve stuck with blackberry and always will.. I tried out a iPhone and Droiz Razr to try to understand what people were talking about and was completely disappointed. The iPhone I could go on for days on how such a terrible device it is but the Droid I found half decent.

    If blackberry does fail which I DOUBT it will… I could sadly move to Android

  14. siddharth shivappa says:

    As you have mentioned the popularity of bb in Asia and Africa, out here in India its a respected brand and considered niche. So definitely there is a very big market for bb 10 out here and I am one of the prospective customers waiting to pick up both N and Local series when launched. I love bb10 simply because it’s not hyped like i phone and not cheap like Android it has a futuristic OS and sophistication about them and truly productive with unmatched security and consumes less data and is more productive

  15. sf49er says:

    I am eligible for upgrade since Apr this year, I will definitely get a BB10 device no matter what. I feel there are many people like me not buying BB7 devices but waiting for a BB10 device, RIM may down but definitely not out, they are poised for a greatest come back on the lines of IBM, Apple esque.

  16. I am so excited! I am really looking forward to getting my touchscreen BB10 when my contract allows it in July. That will give me enough time to see that all of the promises indeed are true. I never left BlackBerry – had a 7130, a Bold 9700, now a Bold 9780 and was considering iPhone 5, but I’m ready to stay with the Berry! I love the Hub and the Flow!

  17. Another Android User says:

    BB10 looks awesome. It will do well because there are millions of people like me waiting to switch back. I currently use an Android phone and hate everything about it except the internet features.

    • greenmachine says:

      I can second this…have a BB Torch and Nexus One. After more than 2 years use I hate hate hate the Android phone…If it wasn’t for the browser and a couple of apps it would be in the drawer. BB10 will replace both devices for me.

  18. Another Android User says:

    BB10 looks like an awesome phone. I will switch back from my Android phone.

  19. Florence says:

    I’m excited, I believe they have a chance to at least be the number three. I’ll be there waiting to pick up my new BB10 the day it hits the stores!

  20. Dom says:

    RIM is WELL AHEAD of WP8 since blackberry has 80,000,000 users and WP might have 10 million tops. TENS OF MILLIONS os blackberry users will be Upgrading and carriers all LOVE BB10 and are going to push it HARD!. You biased article is paid for by apple? I am sick of MORON authors who know nothing.

    • Andrew_Grush says:

      I apologize if I somehow came out as biased– I actually agree that Blackberry 10 looks great. All I did is point out that there is competition for the third place slot.

      I think BB10 has a very good shot at attracting many current BB users across the globe and bringing back some of its lost fanbase as well. Personally, the more competitors the better. :)

      Thanks for commenting!

  21. Henry says:

    I’m looking forward to BB10, sounds exciting.

  22. Android User says:

    Keep fightin’ RIM! Show us something good so I can switch back

    • windycity8045 says:

      Some of the analysts are underestimating the level of goodwill out there for Blackberry. If BB10 is as good as advertised, enough of these people will switch back to keep BB at #3.

    • Andrew_Grush says:

      I totally agree that most analysts are underestimating the fanbase. I think it will be interesting to see what BB10 brings to the table. :)

      More competition is ALWAYS a good thing. Keeps everyone on their toes.

      Thanks for commenting!

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