RIM CEO Thorstein Heins is banking on BlackBerry 10 to reverse the sagging fortunes of the firm. However, the new BlackBerry's release has been delayed until next year.
At the BlackBerry Jam conference in San Jose California Heins told developers and assembled media: “We are fighting..We are making believers out of people who had actually written BlackBerry off.” RIM has announced that it will be cutting 5,000 jobs. RIM has been pleading with developers and carriers to wait for the Blackberry 10 since back in 2011. While everyone is waiting for the great leap forward, RIM has been steadily losing market share.
Certainly the BlackBerry remains a popular device especially in Asian markets. For businesses it has excellent security features, a very user-friendly keyboard, and functionality in many languages. However, competition from Apple and Android-based units is taking market share from RIM.
Heins showed off some of the features of the BlackBerry 10 in particular apps for Facebook and Twitter displayed on a touchsreen. However, this year people will give Apple iphones and Samsung devices for Christmas. Many of those at the BlackBerry Jam conference were either RIM staff, developers, or the media. Nevertheless Heins was upbeat: "In just a few short months away, BlackBerry 10 is on track. Our sales forces are getting ready. We’re lining up carriers to get ready to deliver the first BlackBerry 10 devices to you.”
RIM may face more bad news when it releases its second-quarter financial results on Thursday. Analyst Anil Doradia finds that in North America RIM continues to suffer from the delay in release of the BlackBerry 10 and fierce competition:"BlackBerry smartphones remain an afterthought in the consumer market, with several stores going weeks between BlackBerry sales and no mention of individual BlackBerry devices among top-selling handsets at North American stores,"
Doradia does not see any turnaround until the BlackBerry 10 is launched and even then it remains to be seen if this will rescue RIM. Consumer acceptance of the new BlackBerry remains to be determined and RIM will have lost much of its market share already.
UPDATE: Sept. 26. RIM shares are up after the CEO announced that the subscriber base has gone from 78 million in June to over 80 million now.