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Here’s what investors need to see from RIM at BlackBerry World

BlackBerry World 2012!
By Chris Umiastowski on 30 Apr 2012 12:13 pm EDT
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CrackBerry Kevin & Chris Umiastowski at BlackBerry World 2012 - be sure to say hi!

Tomorrow morning, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins will take the stage at the opening keynote session for BlackBerry World 2012. There are a lot of hopes and expectations on RIM from beaten-down investors these days. So I thought I'd write up a quick set of my thoughts heading into the event.

Obviously everyone will be talking about the BlackBerry 10 developer alpha devices that will be given out to developers tomorrow at the sister BlackBerry 10 Jam event. We'll do our best to get a good look at these. But in the mean time, while we wait, let's remember that these are alpha devices. And they're for developers. There's a good chance they won't be very exciting to look at. Instead, what I care about is what developers can do with them.

So, on that note, I think we need to see RIM actually release the Cascades user interface framework to developers. They need to show off some user interface power and allow devs to build great looking apps, and sideload them to the device. I don't think it's too much to ask for this to happen after a solid year of the public being teased by Cascades. It looks amazing. Now get it into developers' hands. Looking at the sessions planned for developers at BlackBerry Jam, it's pretty clear this is RIM's intent. We just need to see a follow through.

We also need to remember that BlackBerry 10 doesn't ship for several more months. There is, in my humble opinion, a zero probability of RIM announcing any kind of official BlackBerry 10 hardware tomorow. That's fine. We don't need to see official hardware, but we do need to get a glimpse of what's coming in terms of the user interface.

RIM needs to show us that they're still a creative company who understands why people fell in love with BlackBerry over the last decade. But they need to do it in a way that is modern, fresh, and responsive.

If Thorsten can get up on stage and give us a good surprise -- a BlackBerry 10 teaser or preview or demo that excites us -- I think it would go along way towards convincing the stock market that RIM has potential...

... But not without strong developer support. So I'd like to see RIM have something to show the world that proves big name developers are willing to build on the BlackBerry 10 platform. And, no, I don't want to see the apps come in the form of Adobe AIR or Android. I want to see developers backing RIM by using native dev tools and Cascades.

RIM stock is up a buck and a half (to about $14.50) over the last week, but the valuation still suggests people think they're going out of business. I don't think that's the case. But what I think doesn't matter. RIM needs to convince the market. A convincing sneak peak at BlackBerry 10, a release of Cascades, and some momentum in developer land would go a long way to make their case on Wall Street.

61 comments

NerdBoss

this should be a good read :) thanks

leafs123

Stock is up by almost 4% ($0.50) today. I wonder if the lead up to BB World has anything to do with it.

lorax1284

I'm sure my investment in RIM stock will reap high returns, because I know enough about BB10 by way of my PlayBook that I am positive it will be well received when it is launched, and with RIM's worldwide infrastructure (a differentiator UNMATCHED by iOS, Android or Windows Phone) they will regain their market share... possibly they will remain "niche-y" relative to Android and iOS... but if RIM can manage to leverage their network and carrier relationships in ways I haven't yet considered, it's possibly that they'll REALLY start eating Apple's lunch. I've said it before: it will be easier for RIM to catch up to the experience and features of iOS / Android than it will be for those two to catch up to RIM's infrastructure and value proposition for carriers.

Based on what I know about the technology and my analysis of their market position, I think failure is actually UNLIKELY.

...or buying stock would have been stupid... and I'm far too cautious and miserly to gamble like that.

ODAAT

Either that or you'll lose all your money by being overly optimistic. Windows Phone 7 is way more advanced than any OS BB has to offer with a much larger app base and Microsoft aren't exactly making great inroads in to the Android and iOS duopoly. In the meantime, RIM are haemorrhaging money. They have pulled nothing significant out the bag in the last year. I doubt tomorrow will be any different.

Sent from my Android.

Solidus433

And here is a typical android user focusing on the apps again when responding to a post about worldwide reach of the companies capabilities. Yes the apps are what trendy people want and RIM has to cater to that as trendy is the majority in Norh America, but even if they fail in North America is don't see RIM selling or closing shop with the strong worldwide market they currently have.

Sent from my Android.

Puz_zled

Haemorrhaging money?? WHODAAT?? +610000000 Last quarter.
2 Billion in cash,no debt. Even the most bearish analysts don't project RIM to burn cash this year. Unlike another large handset provider. HOWDAAT???

ODAAT

So how much money have they made on the PlayBook then? The PB is the only actual device available to consumers running their new OS. And last time I checked, that 2 billion was nearer 1 billion.

sledhead800

Bold 9900,32GB Playbook

I don't know for sure if their app store is any larger for starters! Microsoft has never sold any good smartphones until now and Nokia just lost a ton of money last quarter. At least RIM has been very popular until recently, like who hasn't owned one at some point in time. They will survive and they are still making money as we speak.

ODAAT

It may not be larger but it has more of the big names. Skype of course.

HabsSuck

Seems your Android doesn't do spell check very well.

ODAAT

It works fine. We spell things differently here in the UK.

TheStoof

BB10. Cascades. BBM. Prospective hardward features (quad core, LTE, etc). Developers who are developing games for BB10 launch (SquareEnix, Zynga, etc).

Then you can consider the rise of RIM to be legitmate.

Marbeef

Why the need for quad core?

MrFuts

It's the in thing right now, and who cares about battery life anyway right?

Stewartj1

Agree both points. The market RIM need to target right now has no clue what quad-core is but they DO know they absolutely "need" it. So sad but it's a reality RIM has to deal with.

BrennanR2

I think getting Zynga on board would go a lonnng way. That being said I don't think Zynga will ever get on board with BlackBerry. If anything I think Zynga would support Windows Phone OS first :/

sam_d

Quad-core!! are you looking for some Android clone which differentiates by adding more cores than others. I don't see Quad-core coming, 2 reasons 1) There is no integrated LTE quad-core chip 2) All Quad core processor makers are still on Arm V9 and latest architecture of ARM is only available in Qualcomm's Dual core MSM8960.

You know why HTC One got a Tegra3 for global phones but Qualcomm MSM8960 for US version - because US carriers did not allow such a power-sucking, non-integrated chip which is based on 4 year old architecture..

Blackberry is about quality and not hypes and fooling tactics. I am sure it will use MSM8960, that is best mobile processor out there.

playpen007

Wall Street is still not convinced that RIMM will have anything more constructive to offer. They still think that Android, Iphone and Window phone will eat RIMM's lunch. They even recommended to sale the stock now. I'm so nervous right now because I have a little bit of RIMM stock(2000 shares). I bought the stock at around $15.00 per share because i believed RIMM will survive. But when ever Wall Street so negative about RIMM, it makes me very nervous. I own Black Berry 9800 and PlayBook.

TheStoof

I tell you what, people like new things. iPhone is...well, the iPhone hasn't changed since 2007! It's boring. Plain and boring. Androids are everywhere, but the OS is a lot more customizeable to those that know how to do it. AT&T is pushing out Windows phones and saw a HUGE increase in Windows phone sales.

RIM just needs to become the third leg, and people WILL jump on it. Offer BBM with voice note, pics, groups, etc, and you've beat iMessage already...oh wait, we have that. We need an iPhone/Android-like OS with a beautiful, simple, refreshing GUI, and advertise its games, work benefits, AND BBM, and AT&T/VZW will eat it up and ask others to buy it.

The iPhone's time on the red carpet is marked. It's getting old.

ODAAT

I don't own an iPhone but I have not read a single review or spoken to anyone who owns one that describes the iPhone as boring. My PlayBook is boring because the apps are rubbish. Take a look round App Store and you would be hard pushed to get bored.

1canuck2

You could not be more wrong. And share prices, record breaking quarters, unheard of volumes of sales unfortunately prove this.

BBM is better than iMessage. Sure. But iMessage is good enough, given all the other apps and choice available on iDevice. And IOS is generally usable, easy to pick up, and accessible to a wide variety of consumers. I own a PB, an iPad, and a Xyboard. iPad wins hands down on every level, except its the heaviest (but also the biggest screen), and I tend to be a bit of a BB fanboy.

Its no longer just about the device anymore. Its about the entire experience, the ecosystem, the consumer engagement. If RIM cannot harness devs to release stuff at the same time as it comes out on other platforms, for the same price, and with the same (or better) quality/experience, it doesn't matter what RIM itself does.

They can hurt their chances by doing the wrong thing, but they cannot guarantee their success/victory alone.

Thunderbuck

If you bought in at $15, you should do okay in the long run. The individual assets of RIM (not counting the value of the business itself) is likely more that the $13-ish that it's been trading at.

If Thorsten can develop a track record of solid execution then there's some hope it will build value, but it's going to take time.

stevensonjohnpaul

I am sure crackberry nation could round up enough capital to put Kevin and Chris on the board. We can buy our way in!

dcgore

RIM needs to come out with crazy good hardware specs to lure the Android fans and impressive OS for those on iOS.

joski

That's the thing with Android lovers though - they're all about specs for nothing. Not that specs DON'T matter - spec pissing matches DEFINITELY do NOT matter. However, that's what most Android comparisons/discussions turn into.

They're the gamer nerds who constantly argue whether PS3, Xbox, or PC is better to play some game on while forgetting about the game itself.

lorax1284

Super-powered processors give lazy or inefficient developers an out for their sloppy code... I've seen some mighty stuttery apps on my iPad 3 (cough GMAIL cough) even with its powerhouse processor... so there's something to be said for efficient & quality code and less for raw processor speed. If the Cascades UI provides a super-smooth user experience, with little ways that poorly written code can introduce lag, then the platform will be seen favourably.

ODAAT

Your point is ridiculous. I have an android. Sure it is nice to have a dual core 1.5ghz phone with Beats Audio. But I don't really care. The apps are what does it for me. My android is so much more useful than my 9780 ever was and my Playbook ever will be. Because it has a tremendous choice of apps thay enhance my life and make me a more productive person.

Solidus433

Can I ask what apps make your Android better than your 9780? I'm going on 4 months with this Galaxy S2 and wish every day that I still had my 9780.

ODAAT

Skype. With fully working video calls. Google Currents (though there are many many other options for digesting the news). Guardian Crossword app. Google Earth. Soundcloud. DoggCatcher Podcast Manager. Ultimate Guitar Tabs. Caravan Buddy Pro. Autoproxy (so I can connect to my wi fi at work). Comic Reader. Crossword Solver. Google Sky Map. GW Mail. Instagram. Words With Friends. Draw Something. Osmos HD. Kingsoft Office. Moon Phase Pro. Push to Kindle. Wi Fi File Explorer Pro. Viz Profanisaurus. Trafficeye. Printer Share- allows me to print directly from my phone to a wi fi printer. K9 mail. Smart Keyboard Pro. Ultimate Backup (backs up all my apps and all their data). FTP Cafe Pro. Webmaster. VEVO. I have more contacts on Whatsapp messenger than I ever had on BBM. And free Google Navigation software which is awesome.

This doesn't include apps which are available (or equivalent) on both platforms- Endomondo Pro, Password Safe Pro, Business Calendar, ToDo Task Manager Pro, Spotify, BBC iPlayer, Kindle, Kobo, Dropbox, eBay, Amazon, all of which work as well, if not better on Android. And I haven't included games that are available on both.android and playbook.

I agree, you might not want to use caravan buddy pro if you don't have a caravan but it is nice to have the choice. BB didn't give me the choice.

And you might not need GW mail if you don't have a Groupwise email account, but again, it is nice to have the choice.

Your S2 can do as much as your BB and so much more. If none of these apps take your fancy, have a look round Google Play. There are so many to choose from.

stevepar

I'm curious, are ALL Droid owners unemployed!! When the f**k does anyone have the time to use all those apps you listed FFS!!

ODAAT

Yeah you are right. Having all these apps is such a drag. You are much better off with a phone that doesn't have them.

BB_Bmore

Release bbm integrated into everything! Along with video chat capabilities. You have to as skype is not coming aboard.

webosdropout

How do you know its not coming aboard?

I'll wager its going to be announced at the conference SKYPE is on-board...

BB_Bmore

Ill take that wager. Talk to me.

Solidus433

Skype and Microsoft have stated numerous times they have no intention to develope for BB.

nyc_rock

BB10 is supposed to be released in 5 months. Thats not nearly as much time as you are making it out to be. BB10 should be done from a conceptual and hardware standpoint. The next 5 months need to be devoted to insuring it is 100% ready for mass consumption. If they dont give you a very indepth over view then October aint gonna happen.

depscribe

Yeah, right -- it rook RIM a year to get native email on the PlayBook, and that year was *after* they had demonstrated it. I like and use BlackBerry products, but I also recognize that RIM has *never* delivered a product on time. So what you're likely to see in five months id not BB10 but a carefully crafted excuse as to why BB10 will be with is, for sure this time, in 2q 2013. At which point more than likely there will be another, even more carefully crafted excuse.

Anybody remember PBOS 2.0?

depscribe

nyc_rock

You are right of course, but this is it for RIM. If they dont get BB10 out the door for Holiday they may as well pack it up now. Not like the rest of the industry is sitting around doing nothing(Iphone 5, Android Jelly Bean, Windows phone 8).

pagozahd

AGREED!!! is time for them to actually anounce they gonna give developers the tools to build apps like those they been teasing us.. all those TAT videos and actually announce some top names that will have there app ready for when bb10 is release, (skype, tango, instagram,,oovoo, ) and they should do a new version of bbm wtih video chat... beside the video chat that the playbook has..

depscribe

What some of us investors who use our BBYs for work would like to see is availability of *already released* products -- such as the frigging KEYBOARD!!!

depscribe

Darlaten

The Canadian Oxford Dictionary defines the word "Store" as follows:

→ noun
1. (a) (N Amer.) a building or establishment where merchandise and services are available for sale at retail prices. (b) a chain of retail outlets operating under one name.

Have you tried looking in one?

xenrobia

Everyone talks about the BlackBerry products like they are the only thing RIM has going for it, but the reality is RIM has other interests and I would think that RIM would do well to let investors know what some of these other interests are doing. QNX is a fantastic company and product, with all kinds of potential and opportunity. I'd love to hear what QNX is up to and if there are any interesting development on the horizon for them. The same applies to Paratek, TAT and others. As far as I know none of these companies ceased to exist after RIM acquired them and any good news for these companies is good news for RIM. The notion that RIM is a one trick pony and that their future rests solely with the fortunes of their mobile devices is probably why they have fallen out of favour with investors, but companies like QNX can have an amazing impact on RIM's fortunes and I don't think RIM does enough to let people know this.

undone

Totally agreed with that one! RIM is something more then just a mobile device maker!

sledhead800

Bold 9900,32GB Playbook

Totally agree!

1magine

Chris - with all due respect and defference; RIMM is not Exxon or BP. The market still cares about actual supply and demand and a company's chance at earnings, profitability and market share (especially in important geographic or age/gender markets).

That is to say, RIM must first care about and win over the tech world, the writers, bloggers and the like. They, and not RIM, will push a device or a company into public awareness and drive consumer adoption. Once this occurs successfully, the stock will react.

Given the inability of RIM to have a handset ready to show this week, I believe nothing short of investors glimpsing the glory of G-d coming through a handset, could possibly positively move any experienced institutional investor.

morganplus8

Well, I'm all in for tomorrows news!!! Let's hope they have some important things to say this time around. I bought a large block of stock, options on RIM and I sold naked Puts too so the only direction is up for me. The action today is perfect for a major pop in the stock.

Don't let me down Heins!! LOL

Seriously, don't let me down.

jslawell

I'm not sure I'd get in an elevator with those 2!

19cbb

And I thought this Chris guy was a Wall Street suit... Now I know why he keeps hyping $RIMM over and over again. He's just another blackberry junkie! LMAO

ignites

i'llbe there hope to see u guys ;)

Superfly_FR

+1K
Can't wait to be impressed ... C'mon guys, it's time for the show !

crazymen

I can not hope for tomorrow, I am very excited

AfroZepher

I really hope something unique and definitive comes out of this. . .something that sets RIM apart and makes it worth the wait. . .a UI demo of Blackberry 10 could very well do it. . .maybe. . .

all3n7

RIM WILL PULL IT THROUGH, BB10 HERE ARE. LETS DO THIS... !!!

Stewartj1

Given the Tweet below, I'm guessing Cascades gets released to the dev community by Friday.

"@asaunders: Follow this space carefully tomorrow... Just confirmed some amazing news for #bbdevs tomorrow!"

abwan11

They need to announce a partnership tomorrow to get things going. Not only has wall street become disinterested but the beloved bb fan is also becoming weary. Going it alone is not impossible but it doesn't create alot of excitement for things to come.

yvpan1

a good analysis, Kevin. i'm so excited to see what Heins will offer to convince everyone on the BB World this year of the new platform that will drive RIM towards the war of smartphones, the BB10.

yeah, i'm quite disappointed that RIM won't LAUNCH any BB10 actual phone on the BB World this year, BUT IMHO, it's better NOT to be too rush to launch it, better perfect it and keep the curiosity of all audiences, let us wait for the finished product AND CONVINCE US, that BB10 is gonna be:
- AMAZING
- POWERFUL yet POWER EFFICIENT
- STABLE
- TRUE MULTITASKING without having to run out of RAM (I've seen this power on the PB, RIM, you should make this happen on your phones! i'm sure you CAN!)

keep up the good work RIM, and WELCOME BACK. Let's Rock and Roll this, BB10!