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article imageNo immediate turnaround for RIM in sight — Analysts Special

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By Veronica Silva Cusi     Jan 29, 2013 in Technology
Despite the long wait, the much-anticipated launch of BlackBerry 10, is not expected to save the day for Waterloo, Ontario’s Research in Motion (RIM).
Reports such as Vancouver Sun's have already noted some analyst expectations for the long-delayed smartphone models and operating system. The general sentiment, however, is that analysts are cautious to predict an early turnaround for the company.
Digital Journal earlier reported that RIM is scheduled to launch the BlackBerry 10 smartphones and operating system on January 30 in New York.
At the company's announcement of its first quarter 2013 fiscal year results last year, RIM Thorsten Heins also announced that the BB10 launch would be postponed to first quarter 2013 as the company posted weak quarterly results.
For the smartphones, Globe and Mail reported that analysts are expecting models that focus on two critical features – touch capability and keyboard.
Brent Iadarola, Global Research Director, Mobile & Wireless, Frost & Sullivan, said in an email interview that “RIM will be positioning BB10 to resonate as the best typing experience on glass.” He, too, is expecting a touch screen and a keyboard version, adding that he is expecting RIM to emphasize on touch screen typing, predictive text, and gesture-based controls.
As far as reaching out to markets, Iadarola is anticipating that the new BB10 will try to cater to both enterprise and consumer market with the new operating system having the capability to differentiate between personal and professional modes. This strategy addresses the latest trend of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), which the other smartphone manufacturers have begun to address in recent months.
Iadarola said BlackBerry 10 is a compelling OS that “will help retain existing BB customers and resonate with enterprise IT.”
Still, he noted that RIM is in for a challenge as BB10 is launching at a time when the smartphone market has recently become more competitive. Aside from the iOS and Android, Iadarola noted that Windows Phone 8 is “gaining momentum.”
Ovum chief telecoms analyst Jan Dawson is more pessimistic of RIM’s future as he predicts the natural death of the company.
In an opinion he shared with the media recently, including ARN, Dawson said if RIM holds on to its promise to its loyal users, it may see some recovery in the next few quarters.
However, BB10 is entering the market at a time of the BYOD trend and enterprises no longer control which devices are brought into the enterprise. Instead, consumers have become mature enough to choose the smartphone models that can also be used in the enterprise. In this case, RIM may not be able to hold on longer to its strength in the enterprise market.
Still, RIM has a loyal following of 80 million subscribers and Dawson noted that the company’s strategy with the BB10 is to be “the best BlackBerry for BlackBerry users.”
Both Iadarola and Dawson are not expecting a stream of converts to BB10. Iadarola said it may take some time for non-BB users to get used to the user interface.
“We don’t expect a speedy exit from the market; with no debt, 80 million subscribers and profitability in the black in at least some recent quarters, the company can continue in this vein for years. But its glory days are past, and it is only a matter of time before it reaches a natural end,” said Dawson.
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