Quantcast
Latest Stories

Critical, long-overdue BlackBerry makeover arrives



In this Sept. 9, 2008, file photo, the logo on a BlackBerry smartphone is shows in Bochum, Germany. The maker of the BlackBerry smartphone is promising a speedy browser, a superb typing experience and the ability to keep work and personal identities separate on the same phone, the fruit of a crucial, long-overdue makeover for the Canadian company. AP/dapd, Volker Hartmann

TORONTO — BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. will kick off a critical, long-overdue makeover when chief executive Thorsten Heins shows off the first phone with the new BlackBerry 10 system in New York on Wednesday.

Repeated delays have left the once-pioneering BlackBerry an afterthought in the shadow of Apple’s trend-setting iPhone and Google’s Android-driven devices. There has even been talk that the fate of the company that created the BlackBerry in 1999 is no longer certain.

Now, there’s some optimism. Previews of the BlackBerry 10 software have gotten favorable reviews on blogs. Financial analysts are starting to see some slight room for a comeback. RIM’s stock has more than doubled to $15.66 from a nine-year low in September, though it’s still nearly 90 percent below its 2008 peak of $147.

RIM redesigned the system to embrace the multimedia, apps and touch-screen experience prevalent today. The company is promising a speedier device, a superb typing experience and the ability to keep work and personal identities separate on the same phone.

Most analysts consider a BlackBerry 10 success to be crucial for the company’s long-term viability. Doubts remain about the ability of BlackBerry 10 to rescue RIM.

“We’ll see if they can reclaim their glory. My sense is that it will be a phone that everyone says good things about but not as many people buy,” BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis said.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek called it a “great device” and said RIM does have some momentum just months after the Canadian company was written off for dead.

“Six months ago we talked to developers and carriers, and everybody was just basically saying ‘We’re just waiting for this to go bust,’” Misek said. “It was bad.”

The BlackBerry has been the dominant smartphone for on-the-go business people and crossed over to consumers. But when the iPhone came out in 2007, it showed that phones can do much more than email and phone calls. Suddenly, the BlackBerry looked ancient. In the U.S., according to research firm IDC, shipments of BlackBerry phones plummeted from 46 percent of the market in 2008 to 2 percent in 2012.

RIM promised a new system to catch up, using technology it got through its 2010 purchase of QNX Software Systems. RIM initially said BlackBerry 10 would come by early 2012, but then the company changed that to late 2012. A few months later, that date was pushed further, to early 2013, missing the lucrative holiday season. The holdup helped wipe out more than $70 billion in shareholder wealth and 5,000 jobs.

Although executives have been providing a glimpse at some of BlackBerry 10′s new features for months, Heins will finally showcase a complete system at Wednesday’s event. Devices will go on sale soon after that. The exact date and prices are expected Wednesday.

Regardless of BlackBerry 10′s advances, though, the new system will face a key shortcoming: It won’t have as many apps written by outside companies and individuals as the iPhone and Android. RIM has said it plans to launch BlackBerry 10 with more than 70,000 apps, including those developed for RIM’s PlayBook tablet, first released in 2011. Even so, that’s just a tenth of what the iPhone and Android offer. Popular service such as Instagram and Netflix won’t have apps on BlackBerry 10.

Gillis said he’ll be looking to see when RIM releases a keyboard version of the new phone. The first BlackBerry 10 phone will have only a touch screen. RIM has said a physical keyboard version will be released soon after. He said a delay could alienate RIM’s 79 million subscribers.

“The No. 1 feature that they like is the physical keyboard,” Gillis said.


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter




Recent Stories:

Lacson eyes P106-B ‘Yolanda’ rehab masterplan 2 mins elapsed Cost-recovery provisions for affected gencos urged 3 mins elapsed This time, BIR goes after florists 2 hours elapsed What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam 3 hours elapsed Timeline: Napoles tell-all 3 hours elapsed PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US 4 hours elapsed Napoles surgery in Makati hospital successful 4 hours elapsed China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions 4 hours elapsed
Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: blackberry makeover , infotech



Copyright © 2014,
.
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement Advertisement

News

  • Lacson eyes P106-B ‘Yolanda’ rehab masterplan
  • What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  • Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  • 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  • Napoles surgery in Makati hospital successful
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces; Painters repulse Bolts
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  • Visiting chefs from Denmark get creative with ‘ube,’ ‘ buko,’ ‘calamansi,’ mangoes
  • Salted baked potatoes
  • A first in a mall: Authentic Greek yogurt–made fresh in front of diners
  • Entertainment

  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • From prison to the peak of success
  • ‘Asedillo’ location thrives
  • Business

  • Cost-recovery provisions for affected gencos urged
  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Philippine Airlines to stop shipment of shark fins
  • PH banks not ready for Asean integration
  • Stocks down on profit-taking
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour
  • Believe it or not: Filipinos love US more than Yanks
  • Advertisement
    Marketplace