As I was watching the late-night news a few minutes ago, a news article about RIM popped up. And the news couldn’t have been much worse. BlackBerry 10 is not going to be released this year. That is, next to complete bankrupcy (which, due to the company’s 2.81 Billion cash reserve, isn’t happening soon), absolutly the worst news possible for RIM. BlackBerry 10 is the next generation QNX operating system that is supposed to pull RIM out of the hole they are in right now and back into direct and equal competition with Android and the iPhone.
From the small, controlled glimpses RIM has afforded us of BlackBerry 10, it looks extremely promising, it is fluid, good looking and much more modern than its current line of smartphones. RIM knows what it needs to do, it has embarked on a campaign to recruit as many developers as possible, and is doing well in that regard. It is also slashing give or take 5000 employees in the hopes of cutting costs to tide itself over until BB 10. If you follow the Inside BlackBerry Blog, or the numerous BlackBerry handles on Twitter, you will see videos and articles of developer after developer praising the easy porting to BlackBerry 10, how easy it is to create a gorgeous application with Cascades, how developer-friendly RIM has now become, the multitude of coding languages available to for the PlayBook and BlackBerry 10. And on and on it goes.
It is clear RIM is headed in the right direction, they are attracting developers as fast as they can, and from what we have seen of BlackBerry 10, it is an elegant and efficient modern multitasking OS. But, after listing all that good stuff, we just found out that it won’t be released until next year. And that is horrible news for RIM. With the likes of the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy 3, and (yet announced but very likely), Windows 8 Phone devices releasing this fall and towards the end of this year, RIM has simply put missed its boat.
If RIM had only started on BlackBerry 10 earlier, they would have much better prospects of pulling this off, because that would have ment an earlier release date. Had they had the forsight to see this coming earlier (and the signs weren’t that hard to see), they perhaps would have already launched BlackBerry 10, and wouldn’t be in this horrible position that they have put themselves in.
In a conference call with analysts, CEO Heins said that RIM’s software developers were facing more challenges than they expected with integrating specific features in the new OS. Consequently, BB 10’s launch this year was “no longer realistic” However, Heins was also careful to specify that those difficulties have nothing to do with the quality or functionality of BB 10, and that RIM is delaying the launch to make sure that they will have a product that is 100% ready for market, not rushed to a finish date half baked (as the PlayBook and previous BlackBerry’s like the Torch were). Also, Heins noted that the company was engaged in “intensive talks” with regard to lisencing BlackBerry 10 to outside companies. He would not, however reveal who those outside companies may be.
Although it looks promising, RIM is going to have to do an amazing job on BlackBerry 10 if it is going to have any chance of mounting an effective comeback and pulling itself back into serious competition with the likes of Apple and Samsung (the creator of the extremely well selling Galaxy line of Android Smartphones). It is going to be a long wait (7 months at the very least) for RIM and BlackBerry enthusiasts alike. I continue to believe that RIM has all the right stuff to pull themselves out of this mess, but it is now only a matter of time. RIM has only so much time before their funds run out, and BlackBerry 10 must be out before then to stave off bankrupcy and bring RIM back to making a profit.
For now, all I can say is Good Luck BlackBerry! You’ll need all of it you can get.