RIM proves you can teach an old dog new tricks

BlackBerry 10 Reactions
By Chris Umiastowski on 1 May 2012 02:03 pm EDT

Today, during RIM's keynote session at BlackBerry World there were two critical areas where I felt RIM did an amazing job. These two changes could mark an important turnaround for the company. So let's go through them.

First up - let's talk about the product. We're working on some more detailed editorials on the features RIM demonstrated. But suffice to say BlackBerry 10 is a stunning change for this company. The new virtual keyboard, the "flow" of the user interface, and even the camera (with time-machine-like capability) were hugely innovative. Coming from a company that has been accused of lacking innovation for years, these demos were greeted by thunderous applause. RIM has gone back to being cool.

Second, and less obvious, is the way the company presented its message. And this is what I really want to talk about here. I was impressed with how well Thorsten Heins delivered a compelling and understandable message about what RIM represents.

In a nutshell, "BlackBerry is all about success", Thorsten said. He positioned BlackBerry as a brand for people who want to get stuff done and be successful. It's about getting something done on your phone quickly, without hassle.

This is such a better way to position the BlackBerry brand versus focusing on features like some of the past advertising campaigns (remember the "Flash loving" Playbook?) Nobody cares to see you run commercials about your dual core processor or multi-threaded OS. But telling us that BlackBerry is all about success? That resonates.

For a while now, here on CrackBerry, we've wanted RIM to adopt this kind of messaging. We say, "BlackBerry users get sh*t done", which is the same message, however slightly less polished and professional

I also feel like Thorsten came across as genuinely confident, well-spoken, and excited about his company' s direction. I'm sure he spent hours and hours rehearsing for today's event, and it showed.

Everyone else who was part of the keynote did an excellent job, too. I would have liked to see more demos, but that's a minor point. We heard clear messaging from Robin Bienfait (CIO), Al Panezic (VP on Enterprise) and Marty Mallick (Senior biz dev director). A special shout out to head of software portfolio, Vivek Bhardwaj is also well deserved. He ran the demos alongside Thorsten on stage. Awesome delivery guys.

For years, RIM has been a company with absolutely no marketing skill. A big part of that problem, perhaps, was directly coming from the top of the company. There was no clear message about what RIM represents. I feel like Thorsten took control of that problem and solved it.

Now it's time to see RIM drive this new marketing message into the enterprise and consumer markets with social media, advertising, and actual product deliveries.

Reader comments

RIM proves you can teach an old dog new tricks


Not so much about QNX needing a dual core (remember, QNX runs on everything from planes and cars to operating room technology)... it's more that this platform has a specific specification requirement. BlackBerry 10 is not exactly the same thing as straight up QNX, and BlackBerry 10 has been optimized for a whole new generation of devices. Unfortunately BB7 and lower isn't quite up to snuff.

Would RIM be able to sell more BB7 devices if they provided an upgrade path to BB10 for these phones? I'd possible consider upgrading to BB7 rather than waiting for BB10 devices to hit.

My guess would be that screen resolution, fragmentation of devices, capabilities and features would be an issue for BB10 developers on these devices, which clearly seems like something RIM is trying to move away from.

I guess this answers the original question, no it seems highly unlikely they'll make it work on BB7 phones, even if it was possible.

It has been well documented that BB10 will not run on any current device that runs any form of the old BB operating system.

I hope it wont run because I'm very frustrated with the current hardware. Sunday the screen of my 9780 decided to die so I went and got myself a 9790...I tought it would have been an upgrade but it's frustration after frustration in the first day of usage.

I have loyalty to this brand since my 8700 and I wouldnt know where to turn for a change also because I really want the physical keyboard, but everything has a limit.

I wish the hardware will be able to support the new os - an hardware without the hour thing when you're installing an app and you cant get anything else done. Regardless the goodness of the vitual keyboard we need a device with physical keyboard at launch.

Looking forward to seeing some videos of the keynote! Thanks for all the articles guys! I am following the event with a lot of expectations.

I loved Hein's energy. He almost looked like he was trying to contain his excitement to keep it together on stage :P It just show show much faith he has in all RIM/Blackberry are doing to stay not only relevant but progressive. Great editorial I'm glad you went over some of the subliminal messages the keynote sent across. A lot of cohesive talk that builds my confidence in BB10! Can't wait to rock n roll my BB10 phone!

Sent via Blackberry Playbook

I can't wait to check out BB10 phones either. Unfortunately, we most likely will have to wait... While all this new BB10 stuff has me hopeful that BB will now be worth leaving iPhone for, the one major factor for me now is timeline. If these phones aren't out before holiday 2012, and iPhone 5 proves to be a worthy upgrade, I just don't know if I will be able to wait.

Regardless, today's news has certainly made it seem like BlackBerry is getting themselves back in the game as a serious competitor.

For you this is obviously an i.portant deadline but a lot of users upgrade a few months after release date. In fact i know of people who have only just a iPhone 3gs (not a mover or a shaker, but still)

so as long as the first bb10 device lands in Q4 RIM should be golden. They just need the right TV ad one similar to the apple and samsung ads (if somethng isnt broke dont fix it, right). And consumers will lap it up because it new.

Just my opinion.

Hi @jamezalexander,

Alex from RIM here. Thanks for your feedback on the keynote. It’s worth noting that all apps created with the BlackBerry 10 developer beta tools released yesterday will run on both BlackBerry 10 smartphones and the BlackBerry PlayBook when the new platform becomes available for the tablet, making it a truly “cohesive” OS.

There’s more to come, so stay tuned to our Inside BlackBerry Blog for the latest from Orlando: http://bbry.lv/cWR2rg.


Alex, RIM Social Media Team

awesome...love BB... I hope to see this phone in the markert... i like it, i want it , and i am sold to BB.

IMO Thorsten came out with flying colors..he nailed it and so did everyone in the team, well written article Chris....but where the heck is rest of the crack team? no live blog for #bbjam?

And still analysts are complaining that there are no devices announced. Didn't they know in advance, like we did, that no devices were slated to be announced?

I can see you don't understand analysts. Read the material, and present what it says as if you thought of it all by yourself. It's exactly like journalists reprinting press releases as if they had had to extract the information from an unwilling PR department with pliers.

I was really impressed with the message and the demo. I think we have a great chance here. I even think I can live with that keyboard. It was awesome. Love the camera feature. Very solid as a first look. I was hoping to hear about the new CMO today. Lets Rock and Roll this thing!

"Solved"? It's an encouraging start, but that's it for right now. There's a loooong way to go before marketing is up to scratch at RIM. One keynote presentation won't do that.

Great post. I feel the same way with you. Phone for tool, not for toy. Blackberry flow is awesome. New camera function is fab. Now, what rim have to do is design a blackberry style looks (not playbook looks plz :() , and sell them as quick as possible.

I have faith in RIM. Soon people will fall back in love with Blackberry or fall in love with Blackberry for the first time ( like I did with the Playbook)

But will they be able to steal the apple and androud user. They have such a big hurfle to jump. Its not the question of hardware and features. The question is can they bring compelling marketing to steal customers of the other big 2. Also what does this do for the left out in the cold OS7 users. I just got a OS7 phone and I love it and not everyone can upgrade or buy new phones at will. So we are gonna lack the apps and features that the other phones get. IMO this was a bad business decision by RIM. Why not give the OS7 devices the dual core processor so they could be upgraded when BB10 drops. Just not good business.... Rim has a way to go.

OS7 device are great, BB10 is the new platform. If a company keep worying about backward compatibility they will never move forward. apple does this with osx and with iphone. they dont go back and change the specs of the old hardware. they move forward. forces everyone to upgrade. I dont see any complaints with apple users. users seems to be tuned in on upgrades.

Not when you are releasing new ground breaking phones as they were calling OS7. A little more than a year after they are releasing you guessed it new ground breaking phones with bb10. Apple situation is different. They are top dog. But for RIM when everyone is calling your platform and company dead and you have faithful people that go out and despite criticism by your product... I wouldn't (if I was running an on the fence company) leave them out in the cold.

If RIM offered existing OS7 users (I just got mine a month ago) a %50 off upgrade path to recycle their phone towards a new one capable of running BB10, I'd be very happy and strongly consider making the jump on release date.

BUT, I've invested in my 9810, cradle, case, extra battery, 2 chargers and 2 cables - oh and a wall charger...

Without any of that usable in the future, it's going to be a while until I can upgrade again otherwise.

Cool stuff though but not worth the reinvestment cost at this point in time anyhow.

I'm an Investor in RIM- and feel confident they will turn it around- after all- they have Patents, exciting subsidiaries, wonderful Technology potential, the most innovative email and Text apps (I currently have an Android and look forward to coming back ) and the best security in the business, and I am a business user- I could care less about gaming)-

---- but most of all they have over 77,000,000 users!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know 99% of people cannot tell the difference, but why does Rim always use old porsches? Geez, with over half a billion in write downs, you would think that they would be able to afford a new 911.

Porsche Carrera S 997.2
Porsche Carrera S 991 (Coming soon)

Because old Porsches are real Porsches. It reminds me of the contemptuous remark (alleged) of a British aristocrat: "The sort of person who had to buy his Royce" (Because, of course, the real aristocracy inherited theirs, and knew that Royce was the designer and Rolls was just the salesman.)

People need to stop asking if BB10 will run on their current BB devices, the answer is simply -no-, why do you think RIM delayed BB10 so much? well, partly because they needed specialized hardware to run it.

"were hugely innovative"
Sorry, but no. RIM is still playing catch up. The new interface is nice, but there is little innovation. It's a remix of the best ideas out there.
And the camera trick is already available on other phones. Let's hope it won't be the only trick and that the other software/hardware feature which are missing will also be implemented before October.

The only innovation seems to be to write words over letters instead of only highlighting the next possible keys. Kudos for that if it makes us more productive and doesn't end up being another gimmick.

So pitiful are you, despite your hatred towards BlackBerry, we'll allow you to buy a BB10 when they're launched.

Bold 9900,32GB Playbook

What other phones can do that?? name one! I talked to android and apple users and they never heard of it and were very impressed!

Great read. The one marketing campaign of RIM's that I liked recently was the "We need tools, not toys" theme. That message resonated with me long before it was a marketing campaign and I really like the focus Thorsten put on that concept in his presentation. I have to say, I'm really excited for this phone and the future of this platform :)

Kevin, more than anything else - more than teh product teasers - I wanted to first hear your take on what was coming out.
I'm sure you thought about it as you were writing, but it sounds like the low rumble of an approaching storm. Some good things are in the air - that's a good thing for RIM - and all of us who will benefit.
Hell, who doesn't want more "success".
Thanks for being there - thanks for bringing it here.
Now, its on to read-see the specifics for me.