BlackBerry's Painful Platform Pregnancy

My hair is gonna be LONG by the time BlackBerry 10 is released
By Kevin Michaluk on 28 Jun 2012 06:31 pm EDT

I'm writing this from a hotel room (with crappy internet) in San Francisco, just minutes after the conclusion of RIM's Q1 2013 Earnings Call. We knew the numbers would be depressing, so we were braced for that. What we didn't expect to hear was that the launch of BlackBerry 10 phones is going to be delayed until the first quarter of 2013. Shoot me now. Or at least knock me out and wake me up in 7, 8, 9 months when BlackBerry 10 is here. This news sucks on so many levels, I almost don't know where to begin.

No, RIM didn't give us an exact date for the launch of BlackBerry 10, but we were expecting "later this year". And in contrast to RIM's former CEOs, we've been so impressed with Thorsten Heins since he took the reigns that we were not expecting a broken promise on this. At least I wasn't. I took later this year to mean later this year... not next year.

I was really hoping for a 10 / 10 launch. BlackBerry 10 on October 10 just had a it's meant to be ring to it. If we see BlackBerry 10 hit in January, then the perceived delay isn't *too* bad. That's just a couple of months of extra waiting beyond what we were already prepared for. But Q1 2013 can mean March 31st, 2013, which is literally 9 months away from now if RIM uses up all of the extra time they just gave themselves. That's an *eternity* in the tech world and to a site like CrackBerry.

On the Earnings Call, Heins stated his reasoning for the delays. He refuses to launch BlackBerry 10 without it being perfect, and to get a phone to market this year would mean it would be less than that. Launching with something less than perfect would be game over. He's taking the harder path to making sure BlackBerry 10 platform is done right and what gets launched is compelling. I get that. I respect that. I do think it's the right choice. But of course, like many readers here, I just wish that still meant it would launch sooner rather than later.

This isn't a Palm story just yet. The big difference is that RIM still has money in the bank. $2.2 billion right now. And they're doing everything they can to save money so they have more time to execute on the launch of BlackBerry 10. It's clear that's still their primary goal and where they believe they can build the most value for shareholders, who have obviously taken a massive hit these past 18 months.

There are really two ways to look at the situation following today's earnings report and investor call. One way, which you're going to see reported on a lot, is that RIM is dead and what we're witnessing now is the slow and drawn out death of what was once a successful company.

The other way to look at it, is as a re-birth. For all the Harry Potter fans out there, think about Dumbledore's Phoenix Fawkes, who when he gets old burns up and is born again from the ashes. Between a new CEO, restructuring, reorganizing and giving birth to a new mobile computing platform in BlackBerry 10, until the bank account runs dry (or some other business event intervenes) RIM still has the chance to be reborn a much stronger company. This is the way I'm looking at it and hoping for things to play out. A year from now I would love to look back at this blog post and say yep, RIM gave birth to a beautiful baby.

But today it became apparent though that RIM is suffering from PPP - a painful platform pregnancy. BlackBerry 10 is still going to take a while to get here, and it's a difficult pregnancy to say the least. Apple worked three years on iOS behind the scenes secretly before unveiling the iPhone. Those are good conditions. RIM is trying to give birth to BlackBerry 10 when the media, Wall Street, shareholders and even consumers are scrutizinizing every move RIM makes and the company's balance sheet and cash flow is not nearly as healthy. Those are bad conditions. It's not going to be easy for RIM.

This isn't new news though. We've known for a long time now that everything hinges on RIM getting BlackBerry 10 to market successfully. What we learned today is that it'll be a few more months delayed. RIM is going to be out of the game for Black Friday and Christmas. Another opportunity lost. They're going to have to suffer another quarter with less than stellar earnings before there's hope of seeing some new growth. But as long as they keep the revenue engine firing on at least a few cylinders and spend their savings carefully, there's still time and hope, and I'll keep the faith. Hopefully many of you out there will too - more than ever, RIM needs our support. Let's give it to them.

Reader comments

BlackBerry's Painful Platform Pregnancy


Sorry RIM but just not good enough. Only soooo many times you can offer the goods and then pull it away and say its not wuite ready. I understnad some things need tweeking and you want a perfect product but why state you were releasing in 2012? Surely you didnt think OS7 was suddenly gonna take off? I mean I live in London, UK, when I had an iphone there were multi stores I could go to to get extras, upgrades, repaires etc etc. How many stores are there for BB users from the country and BB is still the no.1 phone?? Oh thats right none, You have lived off the BBM and QWERTY keyboard for too long and didnt switch up when Apple changed the game. I hate Apple but you gotta give it to them, they come up with some smart adverts and ways to get people in the 'IT' crowd.


I am an Italian customer in a long time .. use blackberry phones and have never stopped buying them. Using a beat blackbberry bold 9700, a phone, but I was really stunned limited by the versatility of multimedia software 6 and social applications like Facebook and twitter. All these features have led me to think that Blackberry devices are and will remain the best iphone. This news of the delay of the new OS has really made me sad, but resist safe with my old, battered blackbberu bold 9700.
Courage ... courage blackberry supporters ... win!

when I got the HTC after getting somewhat bored with the 9930, I hoped that I'll go back to BB in the form of BB10 by October the latest. It seems now that I'll be up for a contract renewal by the time BB10 hits the market (I renewed on the day the 9930 became available -August '11)

it's great that there may be a new platform somedays, but what about the existing millions of consumers on BIS that - except for gmail - do not have access to imap folders, can't use their companys' servers using activesync? Wouldn't it make sense to add new features to BIS so that the gap between e.g. android or apple email and BIS functionality would be closed, even if that cannibalizes SOME aspects of BES Express?
Additionally, every new OS and every platform change causes problems, early bugs, missing features that used to be there etc. Even if they get their devices out there in 2013, there will be a phase that reminds us of BB OS 4. So why in hell are they just making cosmetical changes to the UI and don't add unique, nifty features to what's already around? A $100 android phone does many things better and without the necessity of a BIS-like infrastructure, but it does it not as reliable as the old BB OS, and that's the only cause I'm still on BB. And yeah, instead of firing thousands of employees they'd better get them creating a skype client (using restricted APIs) and things like that, because noone needs the ten million tip calculator apps in app world.

My contract isn't up til 2013 and I'm perfectly happy with my 9700 running OS 5. I won't jump ship because I love the keyboard, it's that simple. I received a 4th generation ipod touch and wouldn't buy an iphone ever. Have had an Android device before, lasted less than a week before I went to BB.

Blackberry Sucks!(OK, it doesn't, but I'm just very disappointed)
I'm very disappointed. One of the biggest reasons I'm with BB is bc of the keyboard on this 9900, but I'm going to start looking into other phones that have physical KB.
I've had it with the waiting and then disappointments and then leak and then disappointment, etc.

The problem is not having money in the account and rely on that til you make a product that people actually like, the people is late implementation of new innovation. By the time they release BB 10, it will be outdated, 7-9 months is a long time in the smartphone war. Will the hardware specs be able to compete with the phones of 2013 or will they be trying to compete with 2012 phones?

Also, the main issue with RIM is that they are always trying to play catch up with the other competitors rather than try innovating. By the time they release BB10, Android or iPhone will have phones which could possible do a lot more than the BB10 platform. Developers are not going to wait 9 months to make an app in the hopes that people will buy it on the blackberry platform.

Another issue with RIM is that they announce everything too early, they should have been working on BB10 when they released OS6 and not come out with a mediocre OS7 and announce BB10 2 years in advance in the hope that people don't leave RIM.

I really hope this isn't the last year we're going to hear of RIM. At this point of time, it seems RIM is in a nearly impossible position to comeback. Ill still try to remain positive until the very end. My bold 9900 is doing what I need it to do and ill still be one of those staying with bb, at least for now. I'll love to see RIM prove the skeptics wrong somehow but I just don't know anymore. Good luck RIM and please no more delays beyond this point or its truly over.

I have been a loyal RIM/BB supporter since my 7520 days. I think now the only thing to save RIM is for someone to buy them and make them the secure business-government-military business unit (e.g. Apple, Google). If Facebook/Amazon buys them, we are doomed ...

This is an opportunity for RIM to launch BBOS 10 devices ("L" and "N") simultaneously. I could imagine a commercial that directly addresses the perception of "BlackBerry's obsolete"... have a blackberry fan and an iOS / Android fan go to a phone store... say the BlackBerry fan says "Hey, let's check out the new BlackBerry 10 phones!"... and the "full touch" user is dragged groaning and rolling their eyes... then they each pick up the device they like... the iOSer picks up the "L", the BB fan picks up the N, they both interact with it, showing the touchscreen keyboard on the "L" and the famous BB 1-handed operation via trackpad / keyboard on the N. Both smiling, then the BB fan says "hey, you try this, let me try that one.". Then they swap... the BB fan kind-of struggles with the touchscreen, the iOS fan struggles with the keyboard.... then they switch back, smiling...

"This OS is really cool!" says the iOS fan... "I know, right?!" says the BB fan. Show the important apps that (fingers crossed) will be available at launch including Netflix and Skype and then gently fade to slogan that indicates rebirth and new / improved, a la "best of both worlds".

I hope that this delay in the device release might mean a more powerful CPU etc... with phones like the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S III out there, I hope the BB10 devices aren't relatively underpowered.

It's understandable that the news is disappointing to BB fans, but we have to remember that RIM is not a sports team or a rock band or an idol. They are just a company in the business of supplying consumer products, and we all know that's a cut-throat business to be in. Even companies run by Steve Jobs have floundered before, and he was a genius with a god-like gift of making technology products like no one else.

RIM is in trouble, no doubt, but they still have a healthy customer base, especially in developing countries like Indonesia and India, mainly because of the great deals on BIS in those markets. I have no doubt that if we have a similar deal in the US, RIM would have no problem getting customers. So they delayed the BB10 launch, so what? They still have a great product in the BB7 line-up. Personally, I think the 9900 series is the epitome of phone design, with the "premium" feel that only the iPhone can match. I really appreciate the BB OS's data-efficient design, especially now that all of the big carriers change their business model to become data-centric. I, for one, wouldn't be able to afford the rate they charge for data if I was using a data-hungry OS and apps, so an ecosystem with a gazillion apps is irrelevant to me.

And reading these articles and comments foretelling the doom of RIM just made me want to puke. All of a sudden, everyone became an economic and marketing expert who know exactly what RIM needs to do to survive. Please. So you want to go and get a fat chunk of plastic that run an allegedly open OS and gobble up data so fast that you're at the mercy of the big carriers? Go for it. All the more power to them. It's good for the economy. Oh, are you the same ones that bitched and moaned about how Verizon tried to rip you off with their new limited data plans? Go figure.

RIM has a lot of hard work ahead of them. What they don't need is a bunch of self-proclaimed die hard fans that threatened to abandon ship because they couldn't get a product out on time amid all of the restructuring and lay-offs. Just go. It's a free market.

It's an appropriate time to reminisce that old proverb:
"Those who say it can't be done should get out of the way of those doing it."

I've got nothing too exciting going on between now and April 2013....I'll hang in there till the end.

Between now and then, my Bold 9900 still works great so nothing to lose here.

Anyone who feels they should leave Blackberry ought to leave now. That seems to be the only thing that can make them feel better about themselves.

I just bought a Bold 9900 and I Love my Blackberry. Simple. I understand that everyone has mixed feeling about this situation especially in this type of situation. The people I feel for the most are the employees at RIM, to have all this negative press just hammering down on them for months now. I would really hate being in their shoes. I wish I would be more knowledgeable and create a website where people could just record a 10sec video saying ' I LOVE MY BLACKBERRY', you know just to cheer them up. A well I'll leave it to someone else.

I love my 9900 as a communication device.

But, as an internet device... and apps... it's so far behind my Galaxy Note. My 9900 is like a 2 on the scale of 1-10. Just amazingly so far behind.

But, if your main thing is communication (email and text) the 9900 is king. I give it that.

I Live in N.Y.C ,I have been defending BlackBerry for about two years,give or take.I would like to say DAMMMM Man RIM you have made me look like a fool again thank you so very much I used to be a true believer stuck it out through 6 crappy storms,2 playbooks(had a rma) and now a second torch 9860 had my son girlfriend brother niece,and about 20 friends all rooting for you,no more my friends no more.I will keep a blackberry just because i have invested to much but my girl is getting a galaxy 3 so is my son,daughter is going the icult route,so sad and everyone else is pretty much going to android,I hope you guys pull off a Apple type comeback and rally back to the top ,but i dont think you can do it you will always have the third world and europe maybe some of asia but the US market is gonna close to you sooner or later ,you cant promise something and dont deliver you guys have had plenty of time.Kevin,Blaze and the rest of the CrackBerry nation this is not our fault we have supported them and time after time we get kicked in the nutz so iam ordering a galaxy tab tonite just to see what the other guys have to offer,this is how it starts one small purchase leads to another then next thing you know.I dont hate RIM not wishing any bad luck but you gotta admit this was a slap in the face.thanks for the time folks

This is not about 3 months, this is about over 3 years. 3 years ago I was looking for a smartphone. At the time BB did not have a competitive touch phone. I reluctantly went with a competitor, with the intention of getting a BB next time around. Blackberry today does not have a touch phone that is competitive with my current 3 year old phone. This is pathetic. Mike Lazaridis & Jim Balsillie deserve to have their butts kicked for being so pathetic

It's quite likely RIM will lose 50% of it's users between now and launch of BB10.

Expired contracts, replacement hardware, etc. Just too many reasons to "re-up" on another platform.

And... with losing that many users, how long before the apps and development community catch up?

It's probably too little too late when you think about it.

One of the biggest problems at the moment, is none of us want to purchase a current BB, as we know (or hope) it will be outdated and or unsupported 6-9 months from now. I would purchase a new Bold right now, if we could buy it at a reasonable price, and not be stuck with it for 2 years. I wouldn't mind spending 200 bucks or so, committing for 2 years, then be able to purchase a NEW os10 device with a 2 year contract. Problem is, they won't give us the 2 year contract price when the BB 10's come out, if we just signed a 2 year contract with the old one. If we could get a trade in, or guaranteed upgrade, I would buy a new Bold tomorrow, and be satisfied with OS7 until then.

Is it possible to imposed a FORCE INTERVENTION to RIM and/or Blackberry Manufacturing Line and R&D? And ask them WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY, until the root cause of the problem comes out. This is not helping any companies at all when recurrence of DELAY is just a normal news.

I believed I need to imposed a Blackberry News Block Out to myself so that I will not be affected with all these negativities coz its quite frustrating.

I had a blackberry 9900 and bought playbook as well just to feel what is it like to have the QNX which is just a disappointment to realized that it is a halfbaked product yet still hopeful that BBM Groups in playbook would be fix in one or two months but until now NOTHING has been change at all!!!! I got bored with 9900 and since the BB10 Superphone is not yet released i told myself to try the 9810 and i am quite happy with it until i am reading those crappy blogs/news that RIM is dead or would be dead soon.

I am losing my morale with all these craps.

I've used almost all of he other OS... and i finally landed on BB OS... i started with an BBOS5 device (storm 2) and i now use a BBOS6 device (Torch). Thow i'm not a fundamentalist of BB, i also have a Playbook, after using a IPad.
Honestly, using my devices for almost everything these can do, i find IOS much more limitative and Android much more confuse than BB.
All these Market share development is due to lack of marketing by RIM, and mostly due to a defective marketing strategy being so different from country to country, and even from carrier to carrier...
For as many devices i have used, there are none with the same quality of construction, and so easy to use, and simplicity as the BB (i find HTC devices very good).

I believe that the new OS must come whenever it is really ready... if it's good, withe the best marketing strategy, people will buy it... as long as RIM stands firm and doesn't give in to the stock market rush...

Even with all the bad news... the base of BB services subscribers is increasing...

As for the closest times, a price drop on the BBOS7 terminals could make BB to have much more users, even to try any of RIM devices and to see what a quality device is... besides marketing moves!!!

What's the big surprise? I'm just an avg. BB user who pops in a couple times a month. I have been leaving posts in Jan. and Feb. saying I hope the new BB comes out before Spring next year. It wasn't until a month or so ago I saw the "experts", here, saying it would be out by Xmas. When people started questioning whether BB10 would have a real keyboard - I got concerned. Then I read they probably would have a model w. a keyboard but some months later.
My BB9700 will not last until next summer. If there were an Android w. a keyboard, I would get one. Now, the few keyboard phones are all big, heavy sliders. It's all right for my wife to use one because she can dump it in her purse. A slider (unless it were designed like the 9810), is too klunky to put in a shirt pocket. I need a keyboard because I have a hand tremor and can't use a "pretend" screen based pad.

Like so many of you, im a die-hard user of blackberry. My 9900 and I are inseparable. A few nights ago, when i heard the news, i got so angry and went out to (impulsively) get a Lumia 900 and ONE X. Been using both over the last 2 days. Tonight, I have gone back to my 9900. I just cant explain it, the 9900 still is the best platform for me. Going to be a difficult few months, lets all hope for the best for RIM and her staff.

My optimism:

Later this year = 31st Dec 2012

1Q 2013 = 1st Jan 2013

Not bad, huh?

Come on guys! Most of you want BB 10 with physical keyboard. Deadline for such beauty is still 1Q 2013 and haven't been postponed yet.

Look people - let's get real and understand what's happening in the overall market:

There are two groups of consumers that matter in this discussion:
- BlackBerry fans/addicts
- The regular mass consumer out there, with no BB loyalty

All of you/us/we Crackberry-heads are feeling personally slighted in this delay, as if RIM did something to us personally. I understand why that is - we've all defended the platform for years, in the face of ongoing abuse and ridicule by family and friends who've gove over to the dark side. Now that BB10 has an even LONGER delay, we're feeling left behind and disappointed.

To all of you/us I say: Get real and get over your/ourselves. RIM isn't doing anything to YOU personally. They're doing what they have to do. Will it work? Will they survive? Who khows....but all this whining of 'waa haa - RIM has let me down yet hoo!!' makes me want to punch someone. You've made your bed, now lie in it. Deal with it.

The OTHER part of the market - the regular non-BB addicited consumer - could care less about this delay, or about RIM in general. Those people have NO loyalty at all, and just seek out whatever is best for them at the time of their decision.

It is THOSE people - the huge part of the market - that RIM is losing/has lost, at least here in the US. Those people who have no tech loyalty are not making any decisions these days to go and buy a BB. Stories like these confirm it - the BB retail locations are dead. No traffic. That should tell you two things:

1. The regular consumer out there isn't buying BB these days.
2. The BB-addict/crackberry part of the market is very small.

Those two facts will spell the end of RIM as we know it now.