It’s official folks! RIM (Research in Motion), after much dithering with Blackberry OS 6 and 7 that failed to gain traction with its lackluster hardware and OS, has made up its mind. They’ve finally announced the date of Wednesday January 30th 2013 their Global Launch Party for the Blackberry 10 OS and their two (2) new smartphones on November 12th 2012. A Tablet upgrade of the Blackberry Playbook that runs on QNX OS also be in the works, based on sources and a bit of reasoning as explained further in the article.
The pair of smartphones, one of which is an upgraded QWERTY Keyboard version of the BB Torch and the other, a true smartphone, codename Z10, a good name that’s a tribute to the Greek God Zeus and is easier to remember than the complex number system used by RIM, are the last hope for the struggling company, who history is well chronicled in Apple iPhone boosts Jamaican smartphone usage as BB goes Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
More importantly, RIM now sent out invitations RSVP style to select journalists to attend the event, which will no doubt be a semi-formal Business Attire affair at Pier 36 in New York. With this launch RIM CEO Thorsten Heins is imploring Developer to stick with them, claiming that they have a clean shot at the No. 3 position in the smartphone market.
The specs as touted by BlackBerry’s Senior Manager of Portfolio Management in Latin America Maria Alejandra Perez-Rincon on October 28th2012 in the Jamaica Observer demonstrate that these new phones are definitely not “toys” like their competitors:
- Faster Quad-Core Processor
- 1080p Retina Display
- Full-blown Web Browser to utilize the Internet
- Improved 8 Megapixel Camera (here’s hoping!!)
- Camera tech that can fix you photos post-capture
- Apps from Google Play Store certified as Secure enough to work in the QNX OS
- Keyboard with Multilingual support and auto-correct
- Improved Calendar Organizer
- Improved Battery life
Tacitly, I must agree, as it’s apparent that RIM’s interesting improvements finally herald that they’ve done their homework, from specs to the name to design: a smartphone that the Corporate, Enterprise and Government types and even Privacy advocate customers want.
Distribution partnerships with Telecom Providers are already solid, with some fifty (50) Telecom Providers worldwide testing their phones worldwide pre-launch. And in the US, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency) one of their biggest past clients that dumped them for smartphones from Apple and Google Android, is now testing their Blackberry OS 10 devices to see if it meets their needs.
RIM, despite the worldwide sway towards smartphones as predicted in 30% Blackberry Blackout by Corporate and Enterprise – Bring Your Favourite Gear backed up by ComScore stats for the Third Quarter of 2012 and the great BB Messenger Outage of September 2011, still has some impressive subscriber stats:
- Eighty million (80,000,000) core Blackberry users
- Sixty million (60,000,000) regular users of BB Messenger
BB Messenger is the main reason many people, Jamaicans and Latin Americans alike, still clutching their Blackberrys, despite the rising popularity of smartphones as noted in Apple iPhone boosts Jamaican smartphone usage as BB goes Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. RIM realized this and as such, threw its massive fan base that has even President of the United States of America Barack Hussein Obama and CBS Newscaster Bob Schieffer as ardent devotees a massive bone upon which to chew and ruminate.
RIM announced quietly on Wednesday November 14th 2012, two days after announcing the date of its upcoming Blackberry 10 OS Launch, upgrades to BB Messenger to enable VoIP Calls over Wi-Fi for those who choose to upgrade their OS 6 and OS 7 (mainly Blackberry Torch). This was officially and quietly announced on their Corporate Press Release Website.
Support for this VoIP Calling Feature on BB Messenger will be coming for Blackberry OS 5 users sometime in 2013, essentially bringing in all the lost sheep that account for the bulk of BB Messenger users.
Essentially this in BB Messenger update allows:
- Voice Calls over Wi-Fi only for customers who take the update and have an active with Blackberry Data Plans as described in How to Set Up a Prepaid or Postpaid Blackberry Plan on your BB for LIME or Digicel
- Simultaneous Messaging and Talking
- Send and check BB Messages and Talk over VoIP at the same time
This built-in love for their hardware and BB Messenger service to make that claim easy to believe as noted in Android smartphones may be king in 2015AD, but RIM Blackberry quality shines. Their product, based on all accounts, is geared at the delivering to the Corporate, Enterprise and US Government RIM’s first Government Certified Super Secure Smartphone, boasting the coveted US and Canadian FIPS (Federal Information Publishing Standard) 140-20 Certification.
This says that their communications between their devices over Public Telecom Networks is so secure and heavily encrypted that it’s good enough for CIA and NSA Agents to use for secure Messenger and Voice Conversations. Certification neither the Apple iPhone nor Google Android smartphones possess; Privacy concerns have dogged both these smartphone makers.
In addition, Developers for RIM make more money from direct sales of their Apps, as Blackberry owners are more willing to pay for their Apps upfront than to be attracted to an App sporting Freemium model as explained in Smartphones and Apps – Freemium Games are No. 1.
But most exciting is the possibility of a new Playbook Tablet. RIM’s Playbook, which by the way is the same hardware used in the original Amazon Kindle Fire and runs on QNX OS, lacked Native email or Apps, choosing to synchronize with the owners Blackberry as explained in RIM’s PlayBook needs to become a Real Tablet, a major reason for its demise.
This has since been corrected via software updates and the fact it never came with 3G’s not an issue; the original and current Amazon Kindle Fire and the Google Nexus 7’s are Wi-Fi only Tablets. That said, the strong possibility exists that RIM may also be launching an upgrade of the RIM Playbook long with its revamped Blackberry and Z10 smartphone, as the QNX OS is Blackberry OS 10.
Americans know this and thus have been snapping up the ultra-cheap US$199 Playbook in anticipation of buying a synchable smartphone and Tablet. If this rumour turns out to be true, Blackberry would’ve made a step toward creating an ecosystem of products based around the super secure FIPS 140-20 standard QNX OS.
The fans are certainly anticipating big things, as already approximately 1 million customers are discontinuing their Blackberry service and returning their Blackberry phones, reducing their customer base to about 79 million. However, this is in anticipation of spending money on a new contract for a new Blackberry Z10.
The Public and Wall Street read this as more negative news, especially as it was accompanied by the following depressing stats:
- $14 million or 3 cents a share for the Third Quarter of 2012, a sharp decline when compared to $265 million, or 51 cents a share for the Third Quarter of 2011
- 6.9 million BlackBerrys and 255,000 PlayBooks sold, with Blackberry sales declining but Playbook sales showing a surprising increase
But as an experienced trend watcher, this is merely part of the regular yearly cycle of subscribers for all smartphone categories discontinuing their 2-year Mobile Phone service and returning the device and then pre-ordering a new smartphone. In this case, I’m willing to bet it’s the new Blackberry Z10 and its companion QWERTY Keyboard version, which will go on sale in early February 2013.