RIM has high hopes for the new BlackBerry 10. Can it bring the embattled company back from the brink?
Justin Smirlies CCE CONTRIBUTOR
After an unstable and challenging 2012, Research in Motion (RIM) is hoping that the launch of BlackBerry 10 on Jan. 30 will bring momentum back to the struggling Waterloo-based company.
With upset stockholders, numerous layoffs and stiff competition from Google and Apple, RIM has a lot riding on its new smartphone device.
“Nobody understands more than we do about getting BlackBerry 10 right. And right the first time,” said Nick Manning, a spokesperson for RIM.
BlackBerry 10 has been delayed numerous times, with many launch dates originally slated for the fall of 2012, but the device will officially launch at the end of this month. Commercial availability for the device will be shortly afterwards.
“We’ve really listened to the demands of the consumer and the market to try and understand what people want,” continued Manning. “We’ve obviously been engaging with community partners and developers for a very long time to share with them BlackBerry 10, to make sure they understand how they can work with it.”
According to Manning, BlackBerry 10 will feature a multi-function operating system where users can quickly go from messages to Internet browsing to applications without closing anything. The device also features a “time shift” photo application that takes a few photos instead of just one so users could alter the image afterwards to get the most perfect result.
RIM has been a vital aspect of Waterloo’s economy and many, such as Ian McLean, the president and CEO of the Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Com- merce, are hoping that BlackBerry 10 brings more economic prosperity to the company and the city.
“It’s a great opportunity to hit the reset button for them and I think it will be very well received,” said McLean. “I was very, very impressed with the technology and with the actual version that I’ve seen of BlackBerry 10.”
McLean added that RIM, as of late, has become the “whipping boy” for stock analysts. While RIM stock reached a nine-year low in July with a price of $7.09 per share, their shares grew about 18 per cent in November after the BlackBerry 10 official launch date was announced.
“I think it was unfairly beaten down,” explained McLean. “I think their management team has been put very well together [and] they are poised for a good stretch of positive news.”
“I don’t think people should write it off it so soon,” he added.
However, according to McLean, RIM can’t just stop at BlackBerry 10 if it is well received by the public. He noted that was one of the small reasons why people started moving towards other and more powerful competitor products.
“I think what they’ve learned from [re- cent struggles] is that they can’t wait and rest on BlackBerry 10,” he said. “They’re going to be looking to whatever else is next, whether that is BlackBerry 11 or en- hancements to BlackBerry 10 because the market is looking for the next improve- ment.”
Manning noted that community members have been very supportive over the last year and that the new product will rebuild their confidence in the company.
“We understand the difficulties we have faced in recent years have been hard for the community and we’re really grateful for the support they have been able to show us,” Manning explained. “But we want to make sure we really get it right the first time and deliver value for our stakeholders.”