BlackBerry’s New Release to Challenge the iPhone

July 30, 2010
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July 30, 2010

James Taylor

The Black­Ber­ry blog ( is ablaze with com­ments and crit­ics regard­ing the upcom­ing release of the Black­ber­ry OS 6. RIM, the com­pa­ny behind the Black­Ber­ry brand, is sched­ul­ing a launch date for the third quar­ter this year, just in time for the hol­i­day sea­son. This will put the new phone on track to com­pete direct­ly with the new release of the Win­dows Phone 7, which is rumored to be released at the begin­ning of the fourth quarter.
The new phone had bet­ter be the killer release for Black­Ber­ry, as Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android Smart­phone plat­forms are suck­ing up more mar­ket share every day. A failed release from any of the major four Smart­phone pro­duc­ers (Apple, Google, BlackBerry/RIM, Win­dows Phone) at this point could move them to the bot­tom quick­ly. With prod­uct cycles typ­i­cal­ly at six months or longer, a new phone with failed mar­ket adop­tion will make it dif­fi­cult for any of these com­pa­nies to play catch-up in the com­pet­i­tive mobile marketplace.
To date, RIM has been stingy in releas­ing infor­ma­tion regard­ing their updat­ed phone and OS. Most of the con­trolled leaks and infor­ma­tion releas­es cen­ter around over­all user expe­ri­ence and updat­ed mul­ti­me­dia fea­tures. We will need to wait for launch to see what “killer” new fea­tures they have been hid­ing. Also, in main­tain­ing their roots in cor­po­rate IT, RIM will be releas­ing a new free secu­ri­ty appli­ca­tion for Black­Ber­ry Smartphone’s called Black­ber­ry Pro­tect. This will pro­vide addi­tion­al secu­ri­ty for cor­po­rate IT as well as the con­sumer to remote wipe, lock, or locate a lost device from a PC. Apple pro­vides a sim­i­lar offer­ing called MobileMe that is priced at $99 per year.
The Black­Ber­ry plat­form has been the enter­prise mobile gold stan­dard for many com­pa­nies dur­ing the past ten years. IT depart­ments and exec­u­tives enjoyed a com­fort lev­el with the secu­ri­ty mod­el Black­ber­ry devices deliv­er for their mobile users. But, as we have wit­nessed before, com­fort lev­el and dom­i­nance in a mar­ket (e.g. Microsoft) can lead to com­pla­cen­cy and lack of inno­va­tion. RIM failed to inno­vate their hand­set tech­nol­o­gy as busi­ness users were not demand­ing it, and now they are caught strug­gling to catch up with Apple much like the rest of the mobile industry.
RIM faces an uphill bat­tle in the cur­rent envi­ron­ment as their Black­Ber­ry devices have not enjoyed great suc­cess beyond the mobile busi­ness user. Apple con­tin­ues to grab a large share of the mobile Smart­phone con­sumer mar­ket, and is chip­ping away mar­ket share from the usu­al­ly loy­al Black­ber­ry enter­prise users. Mov­ing for­ward, we will see few­er IT depart­ments stan­dard­ize on a sin­gle mobile tech­nol­o­gy such as the Black­ber­ry Smartphone’s.
This will be a huge release for Black­ber­ry with the grow­ing com­pe­ti­tion in the Smart­phone are­na. Based on the recent com­ments from RIM’s CEO’s Jim Bal­sil­lie, “I’ll think you’ll just be amazed that how it’s a quan­tum leap over any­thing that’s out there”. RIM feels this release will be a win­ner and will be close to on par or even bet­ter than Apple’s iPhone offer­ing. Although this Black­Ber­ry release won’t stop Apple from inno­vat­ing, we will need to wait and see what mag­ic Apple has in store for their next release.
Over the next year, the fea­ture sets for Smartphone’s in gen­er­al will begin to nar­row with each new release from the major play­ers. All the key play­ers’ phones will have full func­tion touch screens, mul­ti­me­dia sup­port (music, high def­i­n­i­tion pho­to and video), some type of social inter­ac­tiv­i­ty, and a list of oth­er stan­dard fea­tures. At some point, the field will nar­row much like the PC mar­ket. The mobile phone future will be based on exe­cu­tion, sup­port from the enter­prise and con­sumer, and pos­si­bly the killer appli­ca­tion (much like Microsoft Office was for Win­dows). I will reserve my final opin­ion until the new Black­Ber­ry release hits the street, but RIM’s recent his­to­ry of a lack of inno­va­tion and exe­cu­tion makes their future feel more like the demise of OS2.
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