Report: RIM plans six BlackBerry 10 handsets for 2013
Carrier-free spread of smartphones for all sectors
CES 2013 RIM might not have a stand at CES and it isn't holding any press conferences, but its executives are busy on the floor talking up the handsets coming out at the January 30 launch.
CMO Frank Boulben told FierceWireless that the launch would see two handsets running the BlackBerry 10 operating system, one full touchscreen device and a unit for BlackBerry fans who just can't live without that QWERTY keyboard.
By the end of the year the company plans to have six smartphones covering high, middle and low-end price sectors. Boulben said RIM won't be doing any exclusive deals with carriers, which will allow it to set its own terms and sell the devices to all comers.
"We intend over time as we transition the portfolio to have a full range of devices," he said.
That approach could serve it well. RIM might have barely 5 per cent of the US market, but it's strong in specific sectors. The product line will cover low-end youth buyers who like the Blackberry Messenger service, corporate and government customers at the midrange, and will include a few high-end units for the BYOD crowd.
Boulben promised 70,000 applications at launch, which must be a blow to CEO Thoresten Heins, who said anything less than 100,000 would mean failure. Boulben said that the company would have 90 per cent of the top 600 most popular applications ready to go by time to market – which sounds good, but that last 10 per cent could be crucial.
Apple has 775,000 choices in its App Store and Android is not far behind, with Microsoft reporting 120,000 Windows Phone applications on sale, although that rate of growth is slowing. What analysts are looking for is proof that RIM can get enough application support to bring back users, and thus entice more developers back into the fold.
If there is to be a third force in mobile computing then it's going to be a contest between Microsoft and RIM. Redmond's hopes that it could absorb Symbian users have foundered, but Windows Phone 8, with its kernel links with Windows 8, has attractions for some. But Boulben was confident that RIM could regain past glories, and he suggested that carriers agreed.
"They very much believe that we can be the third platform," Boulben said. ®
Re: Android, iOs, BB Will by year's end Dominate.. WIndows anything? Whatever...
Hmm, not sure I completely agree with you. I think MS could do quite well in the corporate market where Office and Exchange integration does matter to a lot of people. And that, of course, is RIM's hunting ground too.
Where I think MS have gone wrong is be utterly unimaginative in how they do integrate in the corporate environment. They have merely mimicked the old BB way of doing it. This means corporate IT admins will want to lock it down, stop users installing their own stuff, and make the phone a boring corporate tool.
What RIM have done is worked out that BOYD matters, but so does corporate security. BB10 is designed to keep both the admin and the user happy. "BlackBerry Balance" is quite clever; the phone has a split personality with the admin having control of one and the user having control of the other. Corporate email / apps / data are safe (it's achieved a FIPS rating) but the user can still have fun with their apps, email, twitter, etc.
BlackBerry Balance is a very novel concept, and a clever one at that. RIM are relying on corporate IT admins understanding it and having the imagination to see why the idea would benefit everyone including themselves. If RIM don't work very hard to stoke up interest in Balance then MS could get away with it.
RIM plans to release 6 new BB10 handsets this year. A spokesman said "We're releasing six new handsets. If we sell four or five of them, we'll be delighted."
Re: BB10 runs Android apps
"Yes, it's not Kosher. It's not legit." .... "While I can't morally approve of this maneuver I can respect that it's what you had to do, and therefore ethical."
It's alright Mikel, relax, Dalvik is open source. That's why Google chose it! It means that it is entirely ethical and legitimate (so long as RIM are complying with the license conditions).
Pirates will have to have been in email communication with RIM to get signing keys. They need those keys to re-package and upload apps to RIM's store. Then there's the money trail too (if the pirate has put a price on the application on the store). RIM are probably in a good position to help the original and wronged developers. Unlike Google who have created an ecosystem so anarchistic that piracy and malware are out of their control...
Look at it this way
- Using Dalvik in this way is something that any of the manufacturers can do, but only Google and RIM have done so.
- Whilst it's obvious that RIM have done this so as to boost app store growth, they can also claim to be supporting openness in mobile platforms.
- Remember write-once-run-anywhere? Remember when that was thought to be a good idea to benefit all end users? Apple screwed that up of course, and the very idea seems in the eyes of the world to have become alien and subversive...
- If MS and Apple did the same thing (and they could easily do so) then Dalvik would be the open mobile platform.
- The only thing preventing this is Apple and MS's desire to maintain / create walled gardens of their own and lock in end users (though the Dalvik source code is probably built on top of a POSIX environment, which Apple have but MS likely don't)
- They may do it anyway just to completely screw Google's strategy