With the imminent launch of BlackBerry 10 (BB10), independent research firm, Ovum, claimed the new software platform will provide a temporary boost in performance but no salvation for Research In Motion (RIM).
According to Ovum chief telecoms analyst, Jan Dawson, there are two major factors that have worked against RIM in the past two years: there has been a significant increase in employee-led rather than IT department-led smartphone buying, and individuals overwhelmingly choosing devices other than BlackBerry when they make buying decisions.
“RIM continues to face the twin demons of consumer-driven buying power and a chronic inability to appeal to mature market consumers. Both of these have depressed sales for RIM’s devices, and neither is going away.
“There is nothing in what we’ve seen so far of BB10 that suggests it will conquer the second of these demons, and the first is utterly out of RIM’s control,” he said.
Dawson said RIM’s intention for BlackBerry 10 is to be “the best BlackBerry for BlackBerry users” rather than something that will necessarily win converts from other platforms.
The point of differentiation that RIM has focused on -- better multitasking, productivity, email, contacts and calendar applications rather than a better gaming, content consumption or social networking experience -- confirm this.
“We can’t fault RIM for wanting to hold onto its 80 million existing subscribers. For much of the last two years, the portion bought by upgrading customers has significantly outweighed the portion bought by converts, and this makes it all the more important for RIM to retain existing subscribers,” he said.
Despite the brief bump RIM will see from the launch of BB10, Ovum expects its decline to continue longer term.
“We don’t expect a speedy exit from the market; with no debt, 80 million subscribers and profitability in the black in at least some recent quarters, the company can continue in this vein for years. But its glory days are past, and it is only a matter of time before it reaches a natural end,” Dawson said.
In anticipation of the BB10, RIM has revamped its BlackBerry App World to become the new BlackBerry World storefront and include an extensive catalogue of songs, latest movies and TV shows. The music section will initially be available in 18 countries including A/NZ.
The company has also launched BlackBerry Partners for Enterprise to succeed the BlackBerry Alliance program and increase support to the enterprise software and services community.
Cisco, SAP, Box, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, Truphone, and BigHand are just some of the companies whose applications, collectively used daily by millions of customers worldwide, will be available for BlackBerry 10 at launch.