BBDoodle: The RIMPIRE Hits a Homerun

Heins' First at Bat
By Kevin Michaluk on 6 May 2012 09:34 am EDT

Following BlackBerry DevCon 2011, we posted a BBDoodle to the blogs here with the title The RIMPIRE Strikes Out. I took a lot of heat over that post (oh Kevin, you've turned your back on BlackBerry, etc. etc), but it was true. Between the complete lack of announcements and the performance of RIM's then CEO Mike Lazaridis during the keynote, the event definitely was an opportunity lost.

BlackBerry World 2012 was really the first at bat for RIM's new CEO Thorsten Heins (we'll call DevCon Europe a warm up), and as we talked about all week, he really nailed it out of the park with his performance. Yes, we know the BlackBerry 10 preview was brief, and some of you may be feeling like for a home run RIM would have needed to show more. Coming into BlackBerry World, I honestly didn't think RIM would show us any BlackBerry 10 preview at all. Knowing that the first phone wouldn't be released until later this year, it would be silly for them to blow their wad now (as Heins' said.. they have to keep some secrets). 

At BBWorld, Heins delivered a solid keynote, renewed RIM's connection to the media and as mentioned in our article Five Important Observations from BlackBerry World, we saw that this is a new RIM. Not bad for only having the job for three months.

Yes, we know Wall Street's immediate reactions to BBWorld would have the RIMPIRE taking a swing and a miss, but on our scoreboard RIM's new CEO definitely scored a point this week with his performance. And there's still a lot of innings left.

Reader comments

BBDoodle: The RIMPIRE Hits a Homerun


I think it was more like a triple - not the swing and a miss that Wall St thinks and not quite a home run either. They're on the right path and they're close, but they still need just a bit more - a big partnership, a bit more of BB10 ready to be shown off, etc - to seal the deal.

Yeah.. I can see that. Depends how you look at it.

 If you look at the announcements and everything in its entirety.. sure,  more like a triple.

If you just look at the performance of the CEO at bat over the course of the event (looking at DevCon 2011 to BBWorld 2012), it was more like a Grand Slam this week.

But you know how it his... I went with homerun. In the comments here we can all argue every which way under the sun.

I agree with you completely Kevin that in RIM's current position this event was a home run. RIM has to try and maintain sales of existing products as best they can while growing anticipation for the launch of the first BB 10 phone. But since that launch is still somewhere between 5 - 7 months away, they can't show everything or they shoot themselves in the foot like they did with the playbook.

With the Playbook they showed it off WAY to far ahead of release. The hype was almost gone before it even hit store shelves, then it was missing features and the media slammed it. The Playbook didn't cost them any phone sales though. BB 10, is already causing customers to avoid purchases now to see what RIM launches later this year. It could turn into a big win in Q4 if the ones who are holding out love BB 10 and buy it and tell all their friends how great it is, and that's great. But still, there's Q2 and Q3 left to go and RIM needs to sell a few phones to fund the marketing campaign to launch BB 10.

That and the speed at which the mobile industry moves at these days, Samsung or HTC could easily have their own version of Timeline lens ready in time for BB 10 launch so if RIM showed us everything, they'd just be giving competitors a chance to one up them on a few key differentiating features by the time RIM is ready with the phone.

RIM has a real shot at making a big splash with BB 10 given that Samsung stuck with an A9 based SOC built on a 32nm die and it's pretty much certain that BB 10 will use OMAP 5 based on A15 and a 28nm die which will easily wipe the floor with anything currently on the market. So it will likely silence the critics that claim RIM is behind the curve on hardware. Plus RIM will take the title of highest resolution phone screen from Apple as the next gen iPhone will almost certainly maintain the same resolution even if the screen is slightly larger as Apple will not risk app incompatibility as they would then lose that advantage and let's face it, that's really all they have left now that carriers are pushing back against the huge subsidy they are being forced to eat on the iPhone, and the fact that iOS has essentially remained the same for over 5 years. Apple will eventually face the same problem RIM has now in that their OS and devices change only slightly year after year and will become stale.

So, we've seen Samsung's play, the GS3 and it's already being slammed for using a pentile screen, and it's graphics processor is only a slight bump from last year. So Samsung left the door open to be upstaged. We don't yet know for sure what Apple has cooking, but it likely won't be anything to revolutionary and Apple is slowly seeing it's carrier support dwindle - just check for proof, the iPhone is not given hero placement anywhere on the site anymore.

Windows 8/Windows Phone 8 is another wild card, but the general public isn't flocking to Windows Phone 7.x despite the hundreds of millions Nokia and Microsoft are throwing behind it. The UI is polarizing and if people don't take to it on the desktop, there could be a really large push back against Microsoft around the time BB 10 starts to heat up.

BGR did a big article about how this is the wrong time for RIM to launch a new platform and that they are just to far behind to ever make an impact. I am not sure I agree and I think that RIM nailed it with the hardware as it will make Android users take notice and iPhone users cry at losing their highest resolution title, and if the UI is compelling and fresh (and we know it is), the general public will notice. The carriers are in DESPERATE search of anything to push to loosing Apple's stranglehold on them and get Apple to lower the costs on the iPhone, and if RIM is willing to cover a larger portion of the subsidy themselves like Nokia is doing with the Lumia phones, then I doubt they will have any trouble getting carrier pushes even in the USA. So this year may be just the right time to launch a new platform as the iPhone is getting stale and Samsung didn't hit a home run with the GS III. The door is open, RIM just needs to really execute and the comeback could be epic.

+1 Very well said. Exactly my thoughts. Windwos Phone UI is polarizing like hell. People love it or hate it. The most Android user do have Android because so many phones ship with it. Only few really LOVE it. And IOS is iconic but omnipresent in the public and nothig special anymore. And the UI is getting old and boring. So yes i agree that there is a good chance for something new now.

Well, first is always nice...well OK second then

I wanted to comment on the reaction of the media and Wall Street to the events. I think we can safely say there was either neutral comments all the way to down right nastiness regarding the events and to BB10, a sharp contrast to the reports on CB. I The general feeling I observed was that RIM is sinking and BB10 isn't going to help them.

While I'm sure none of those media types where at the event and I"m sure many wrote those articles last week, I'm wondering if the media that actually attended will produce articles with the same positivity expressed at the event.

So far, I've not seen much come out from these media folks.

It is unfortunate but thd media can becoming a self-fulfilling. People believe what the media says which makes RIM's comeback that much more difficult. I just hope Kevin is right about enthusiams of developers for the BB10 platform.

Based on how much The Mighty Thor.has gotten done in the amount of time he's had the job, I'd give him the Conn Smythe. I doubt anyone in the RIMpire has outworked him.
BB world? Yeah, I'd say he knocked it out of the park.
Wall Street?
Some of the bashers are now coming in neutral . And how many of them were in Orlando? Probably all pouting cause he didn't show up to kiss Wall Street ass.
The time has come to take it private.
By the MIGHTY HAMMER OF THOR we shall smite our enemies!
Keep the Faith : it is easy to bash, it is easy to doubt. Retain the courage of your convictions.

umm... you realize RIM hasn't actually DONE anything right? I mean, they held a conference and released cascades (how long have we been waiting for that again?).

I know this is a BlackBerry fan site, but keep going like this and at some point you may want to consider removing "We take pride in our unbiased content," from the bottom of the page.

Lol. I was waiting for somebody to leave a comment like this :)

I always like to push it at least *one post* too far.

LOOK... BlackBerry World is a week.. we're excited... if you've been following CrackBerry for any length of time, you know we go through a pretty standard set of content around events.. cover all the live content, do some round ups, some editorials, a doodle, etc.  It's a consistent message from this show if you read all our content. We're excited!  But that's pretty much the wind down of BB World.. we'll still be excited going forward, but we won't pour it on quite so thick. 

So chillax buddy. Been doing this forever. Know what I'm doing :)

Oh I know. I've been around here for a while. Do my best to listen to all the podcasts, check the site multiple times a day, etc. But just sayin, I think you're going a tad far lol. There's a fine line between excited/positive for good reason and well.. Acting like a Maple Leafs fan..

So the fact that they held a conference and did release cascades proves they have actually DONE something!!! Stop the hating. I for one as 'yes' a Blackberry 'fan' NOT 'fanboy' appreciate articles like this and don't take it as Blackberry becoming #1 but as some hope Blackberry is doing something to make it better. Believe it or not...their are still people who prefer the Blackberry device. Maybe you would be better off reading the iPhone or android sections if you don't like Blackberry articles??? Just sayin'

What a homerun??? Are there going to be at least 100k apps for BB10??? Are they going to be as competitive as for example how much better Facebook is on iPhone and Android? These are the major factors that needs addressing not just quantity of apps but quality.

I think you should read the coverage from BB world.

Will there be 100K apps at launch? It could happen, RIM is investing 100 million bucks into the new ecosystem, and app development for the platform is increasing rapidly and with the launch of Cascades with full QML support, that pace will not slow down any.

Will they be quality apps? Cascades is without a doubt the best set of dev tools on the planet with the broadest set of drag and drop graphic components and full UI components, buttons, sliders, fades, drop downs etc. So the apps will not only be beautiful, but have a consistent BB 10 UI look as well. That and the BB certified app program, that GUARANTEES devs make at least 10K their first year. That's some pretty solid commitment and will no doubt entice many devs to come on board with BB 10. Plus, the Dev Alpha device and the guarantee to be able to trade it in for a real BB 10 phone FREE.

I think RIM is pretty well aware of the obstacles they are facing and have shown that they are 100% committed to BB 10 and are putting the money and resources into building the platform and attracting developers to it. They have shown that they have addressed all past complaints about their development tools, they are supporting Qt/QML , C/C++, Java Script, and HTML 5 meaning that you can port your app over from any other platform with ease in as little as one day! How much more committed to building the platform do you want them to be?

That's all well and good but the mere fact is the BB platform is not developers first choice and that's the problem unless that changes it will be a great platform with under 50k apps there must be a reason developers don't flock to BB and that is what must be addressed.

Calling Cascades better than eclipse's UI tools is one thing. Calling it better than Xcode interface builder and visual studio/expression blend is quite another thing...

I would like to request a cartoon showing our beloved CEO as the might thor and Iphone or any other smartphone as Loki. Can u do some thing like that?

Regardless of Mr. Heims' performance this week, if RIM does not hit one out of the park... and soon... the rest really doesn't matter.

I noted earlier that on trips to 3 different Verizon stores, I had to ask store personnel to unbox and charge up a 9850 Torch for me to look at, because there were none on display at any of the stores. Today at a local Sam's Club I stopped at the wireless phone kiosk, and while there were more than 40 different models on display - including an I-Phone 3s and oodles of Androids- there were NO Blackberrys to be seen. None!

RIM appears to be doing well in non-US markets. And that is all to the good. But the company, and its stock price, have a dismal future ahead if their marketing efforts are essentially restricted to those of us who know and love the product already. There are plenty of folks out here who wouldn't know a Blackberry from a blackberry. And without some sort of enthusiastic introduction at the retail level, at mass market outlets or carrier stores, they never will. Those of us waiting for BB10 can at best keep RIM a niche player... not the market force it could be.

RIM needs to hammer on BB10's two biggest benefits: one-handed operation (which doesn't sound like much but looks to be better on the new platform than for ANY other full-touch phone), and app portability.

And the foe they can attack on the portability front is Windows Phone. iOS and Android developers can support BB10 with relative ease compared to Windows Phone. Alec Saunders needs to dig as deep into the Android dev community as he possibly can.