Staying Strategic: RIM Needs to Let its BlackBerry Smartphones Sell its Tablets

Phones Sell Tablets
By Chris Umiastowski on 5 Mar 2012 05:33 pm EST

A couple weeks back Mobile Nations surveyed its readers on our various platform-centric sites. We asked you questions about your computer, smartphone, and tablet buying history and plans.

The data was intriguing and interesting to dig into. After staring at the results and applying various filters to the data, one big conclusion became crystal clear: Smartphone enthusiasts most often buy tablets that match their existing phone's OS. In other words, people pick their flavor and stick to it.

For example, 67% of iPhone owners who also own a tablet have an iPad, within our survey data. 85% of WebOS phone owners (who own a tablet) have an HP Touchpad, also powered by WebOS. A sizable 61% of Android phone users with a tablet have an Android-powered tablet.

And how about BlackBerry? A whopping 89% of BlackBerry owners in the survey who own a tablet just happen to own a PlayBook. Obviously many CrackBerry readers are early adopters who are more likely to attend a BlackBerry event, or submit a PlayBook app, earning themselves a free tablet. But still, the data suggests there is a significant degree of platform loyalty.

This reinforces my view that RIM needs to market the heck out of its phones. The strategy needs to be: 1) Sell as many BlackBerry handhelds as you can; 2) Let those sales drive inevitable PlayBook demand.

In the USA and other developed markets, BlackBerry 10 is obviously important. The USA is a market where tablet adoption is happening now. RIM can't afford to lose subscribers. BlackBerry 7 may not have the application support of iOS or Android, but there's no question that devices such as the Bold 9900 perform like they should. I'm disappointed that RIM has let marketing take a back seat for so long. This needs to be fixed yesterday.

In emerging markets, RIM will obviously be pushing Java-powered BB7 devices for at least a couple more years. This is absolutely the right strategy unless BB10 can be deployed on ultra-cheap hardware, which it probably can't (yet). Rumors of a BlackBerry Curve 9320 for India suggest that RIM will keep going after the emerging markets aggressively.

The battle to win over feature phone customers is on. As I wrote in my article on how will we know if RIM is successful, this is a battle between vendors. The more market share RIM can earn in emerging markets, the more likely they will succeed over the next decade in the mobile computing market (which includes tablets).

The survey data is clear. Smartphone customers become tablet customers of the same flavor. I've got a couple of PlayBooks running OS 2.0 and although I'm impressed with them, there are lots of features I'd still like to see added.

But in reality, RIM should put every ounce of energy into making BB10 utterly perfect and ensuring its legacy Java OS continues to run smoothly for emerging market devices over the next few years. That's where the real battle is. Win that battle, and the tablet market comes along for the ride.

Reader comments

Staying Strategic: RIM Needs to Let its BlackBerry Smartphones Sell its Tablets


I don`t think so. I think most PlayBook owners are not BB cellphone users. I am considering getting a BB10 device simply because of my PlayBook, not the other way around. On the other hand, I think RIM makes much more more cellphones and subscribers than they do on the PlayBook. Right now they are selling the 16GB models at a loss!

Thats not how the statistics work, it said 89% of tablet owning blackberry smartphone users (from the crackberry website) have a playbook. It doesn't say anything about how many playbook users have a blackberry smartphone.

Well the bias of the Mobile Nations community may account for quite a bit of inaccuracy in the data. I would assume that most PlayBook owners may not even own a BlackBerry phone just because of the feature set of the PlayBook combined with its low price. Hard to extrapolate too much from the survey, but I agree with the article in that RIM could stand to gain from a hard marketing push and getting people tied into the ecosystem will help them sell devices in general.

For once Chris I disagree. The Playbook is RIM's best device for the north american market and thus should be RIM's main weapon. The NA market wants a multimedia device first and foremost. At $199, the Playbook with best in class social integration, best-in-class enterprise tie-in (Mobile Fusion)is a lot more fun than an ipod or ereader for the same money. More and more consumers are realizing this. The price point and unbelievable performance is what is allowing Playbook to show up in households that are already are using other smartphone platforms or feature phones. It represents a small investment. The bridge remote is making these people consider buying the BB7 or BB10 phones . Almost everyone that I know that has bought a playbook on sale is now strongly considering a BB7 phone.

In emerging markets a $200 playbook could be a very powerful weapon as well especially with early adopters.

The other way to look at it is that ALL playbook owners know that BB makes phones, but a surprising number of BB phone users have very little knowledge of the playbook. Hence, playbooks sell phones, and users discover the poorly marketed advantages of the phones afterwards (because they wanted the bridge remote in the first place)

By providing users with the fun multimedia experience that they want and allowing for bridge remote with the phones, the playbook removes some of the pressure on the phones to be an "everything" device. This, in turn, will help users focus on the phones strength as best-in-class communication devices.

Loving the interesting commentary on this thread so far.  People who bought a Playbook first versus a BlackBerry first are not captured in the survey data, and I assumed most people bought BlackBerry first.  It's entirely possible that this interpretation is a mistake. 

Maybe it's worth doing a follow up survey.

Once you have a PlayBook, having a phone with a keyboard (that pairs with it) makes alot more sense.

The marketing message for RIM is more complex than the competition, let me explain. Apple says, 'want a bigger version of your iphone? Buy an ipad'. Same with Samsung...the galaxy tab is a bigger version of their phone. But the playbook is not a bigger version of the traditional bb phone, in fact, it's completely different. That would explain why many BB users barely realized that RIM had made a tablet. Although it has taken longer, many people are happier with two devices that work together and are built for different functions instead of a carbon copy of each other.

I just got a Torch 9810 to pair with the Playbook (my first smartphone :). Today was the first day using the bridge and it worked as good and fast as any wifi connection, from a somewhat remote location. The phone was picked up from eBay in like-new condition for a great price. With the PB discounted, this tablet & phone combo is the best deal running, imo. Now plan on figuring out how to use and optimize everything that I need on these devices over the rest of the year, then will know what to do when the OS10 phones come out, for upgrading.

I tend to agree this is a very good combination (and has successfully replaced my Nokia N900/12" laptop combination). But in fact the 9810 is now overkill. With the PB around, a 9380 or similar would be more than sufficient. The ability to open documents from the phone to the PB completely takes the pressure off the phone display.

My view is that RIM should produce a phone which is designed from the ground up to be used with the PB, taking the remote control function to the limit, and sell them as a kit.

Definitely need a follow up survey!

Was interested in a PlayBook the first time I saw it being demo'd. This, after I bought an iPhone4. Had an iPad (while I toted a Pearl) and it didnt do anything for me then (it was new, and had no apps, no camera, too big, etc and I gave it away). Even though I like my iPhone4, I cant wait to get back to a BB phone when my contract is up. It's because of the PlayBook that I've come back to RIM. In fact, I even bought a used 9800 just so I can use the remote function. BTW Exchange Activesync works amazingly well on my PlayBook.

"At $199, the Playbook with best in class social integration"

I strongly disagree here. I am a huge fan of the PlayBook, but I also have to be honest. I can't go into my images folder, select an image and post it to Twitter and/or Facebook. I can't even email the image from the image app. That is a huge flaw that MUST be fixed before BB10 phones come out. People will not want to take a step backwards when the new phones come out.

Totally agree with you! I want to add that they need to add USB Hosting and DLNA ASAP too. I can't even transfer photos from my camera to the PlayBook. In addition, they need a dock that has HDMI, 3 full size USB slots and a full sized SDXC card slot. It looks ugly and unprofessional setting this gorgeous tablet down to make a presentation.

What you're missing here is that at $199 RIM is selling the PB at a loss (or very least without profit). They are doing this to drive adoption of the new QNX/BB10 platform, which in turn will drive sales of their BB10 phones, once they've been released.

RIM WANTS people to adopt the PB, but NEEDS people to buy their phones (which also lock them into a BB data contract with their carriers - thus providing RIM a kickback that accounts for about 1/5th of their total revenue).

I would like to own a playbook but unfortunately here in the Philippines it costs $500. I envy people in the US and Canada as they can get for so much less. I agree that people gets to get tied down to the ecosystem that they are using. Tablets are really not something that you need but something that you want and it make sense to continue with an ecosystem that you are already invested into. so if you have a bb then you get a playbook.

I concur with you. I bought the playbook because it's ease of use, size of the tablet. And because of it, I will buy a BB cellphone.

I concur with you. I bought the playbook because it's ease of use, size of the tablet. And because of it, I will buy a BB cellphone.

Me too, I bought a playbook as an e-reader with benefits and 1 month later I bought a used 9700 and plan on getting a 9900 or a BB10 phone when my contract is up.

My business partner has said his next phone will be a BB10 because of his PlayBook. He's currently on an Android and plans to switch as soon as his carrier lets him do so cheaply (after BB10 comes out).

Im the same way. I had an Android based phone and was so impressed with the software on the playbook that I purchased one. I realized then how much I missed Blackberry and shortly after purchased a Bold 9930 off contract.

Normally I think that Phones would help sell tablets but not in Blackberries case. Their Playbook is technologically so far ahead of the current BB7 phones that it would work the other way for them.

Wow, I did not expect to set off such a chain of discussion. But I'm glad to see the PlayBook succeeded in getting others over to the BlackBerry line because I want to be using BlackBerry devices for a long time.

I own a PlayBook and have no desire to purchase an OS7 phone to accompany it. Maybe BB10 should the apps and performance be there.

You're perhaps in the minority, but not an anomaly. I use a HTC Trophy on Verizon. I love the Windows Phone 7 OS. After a couple of months of using it, I decided to sell my laptop due to my limited usage of it since my WP7 phone purchase. I was good for a couple of more months, but then decided that I missed browsing some websites on a larger screen. A tablet was the answer.

After researching my options, I felt that and Andriod tablet was just that, no matter whos hardware you chose to buy. iPad wasn't even a consideration for me. The question came down a Windows tablet, or the Playbook - which one was the better pre-mature purchase. Should I buy a Windows tablet before the release of Windows 8? Sort of made sense being that I own a Windows Phone. Or Should I buy a Playbook before the release of OS2? I opted for the Playbook for the following reasons:

1.Everything I read about OS2 sounded great.
2.The price drop allowed me to purchase two devices for the price of one and give one to my wife.
3.Verizon doesn't appear to be the least bit interested in selling Windows Phones.
4.Everything I read about BlackBerry 10 phone devices sounds great.
5.I suspect that I will be purchasing a BlackBerry 10 phone from Verizon eventually, and look forward to the advantage of the Bridge application.

So there you have it! I didn't have a BlackBerry phone that convinced me to buy a Playbook, but instead the promise of what is to come to RIM's offerings in the near future. I can't wait!

weird guy that has a Windows Phone and BB Playbook tablet

BB7 has already failed in the US market. The success of any products that RIM release at this stage is NOT measured by how many current BB customers would stay with RIM, but rather how many NEW customers will come to RIM.

I don't think there is a significant number of people switched to RIM products as a result of OS7.

BB7 was not meant to get people to switch to RIM. It's purpose (in the US market, anyway) was to keep people from leaving. It worked for me, and I love my BB9900. Definately gonna stick around for BB10 and beyond.
What gives you the right to define how success is measured anyway? BB is in a very difficult position (because of their own mistakes, to be sure) but to say unless people are switching to BB from other platforms BB7 is a failure is ridiculous. BB7 isn't enough to save RIM, but I think it's done a great job of keeping RIM out of the dirt.
BB10 is where it's at, make it or break it time, go big or go home. I for one think they have what it takes to pull through.

What gives you the right to define how success is measured anyway?
Stock market. Simple as that. :) And yes, the BB 7 kept me from going to an Android.

Stock market tells you what stock's people are buying. Not if OS7 was a failure or success. And I'd say the fate of the stocks have more to do with the past ceo's, the strangely biased media, and the somewhat militant nature of the iTrolls turning people away from BlackBerry. Because of the people I know, when they go BlackBerry they don't go back. Sorry for a bad pun. But truthfully, once they start using them they're hooked and forget all about stupid games, which really, that is what android and ios has over BB. Neither can provide the communication experience of a BB. But if it took OS7 to keep you from switching, isn't that a success?

The reason people are selling the stock is because BB is losing market share.

You can't ignore this and it's not all a part of some grand iConspiracy.

They are doing it because some stock anylist who is heavily invested in Apple is telling them to. Yes they are loosing market share but they are also selling more phones than ever before. You can't ignore that either.

This not true. Analyst are not allowed to push stocks they're invested in. Who told you this?

Yes. But they're selling lower cot phones as opposed to more expensive one like the Bold.

Those cheaper phones do not significantly add to RIM's ottom line.

I would like to live in your world where stock analysts are to be trusted. None of them would ever talk up or down a stock in which their employers might be long or short. Perhaps you would like to take off my hands this bridge I seem to have inherited in Brooklyn, which is yours for a mere $100 million.

I agree with these guys, to be honest it was unlikely that I would have considered blackberry as a phone 6 months ago. With my experience with the tablet, I'll be getting a bb10 phone without hesitation if it works well. I think the tablet will sell the phone, rather than the other way around for at least the next couple of years

Possibly the reason is that most Blackberry users are forced to use the devices by their employers - or are domiciled in "emerging" markets.

The majority of iPhone users choose their own handset.

Remember that my post here reflects a long term strategic goal for RIM to use BB7 in other markets to gain share, and eventually own that set of customers for mobile computing (QNX based).

 I was clear about the need for BB10 In the USA, at least I think I was :)

Spot on commentary, as usual. The BB Playbook is an awesome tablet.... if you have a BB phone. Otherwise, it's just another tablet. I LOVE my Playbook, but I think it's utility would fall by a third or half if I didn't have a BB phone with Bridge installed.
This is off the subject a little, but since we're talking strategy, has anyone done a study of how much BB is handicapped by not having an answer to "ITunes"? I'd like to see BB start to merge Desktop Manager (which does a better job syncing and managing than ITunes IMHO) with App World for a complete desktop experience.

My main reason for having an iPhone is iTunes. Music management is very important to me, and RIM is doing a terrible job from that regard.

Just use itunes to manage your music, I do, and then just use desktop manager to load the songs on my 9810. RIM did good to tap into something that works and put it to work for them.

My point exactly. I've had apple products and one thing I can say is that ITunes is their "killer app" and nobody else is anywhere close to them. Even Microsoft can't get it right.
I actually carried my BB and an ipod around for awhile simply because it was easier to carry two devices than try and get my BB on the media bandwagon.
The IPod didn't really take off until after Apple introduced ITunes.

At $199 it is most definitely NOT "just another tablet."

At that price point it is still the best tablet available, even without a BB phone.

That's a point that RIM needs to reinforce over and over and over.

I'm pretty sure RIM isn't making any money at the $199 price point, they put it there for a few limited time windows to create popularity for the device, and create incentive for app developers(more users). I don't have any real numbers to back up my opinion though.

However, if you compare the hardware and quality of the playbook with the Kindle Fire (also $199) the playbook has much better specs. This kind of difference leads me to believe RIM can't be making much of a profit (if any) at this price.

Just to let you know the $199 price point is no more a limited time offer, it is now the price point. So if they are making money or not (which I think they are) this is where they are no selling at.

Agreed jyrbain. The Kindle Fire doesn't even have a camera or microphone. The PlayBook is a really nice piece of hardware that is held back by the lack of developer support. At $199, RIM is losing money on the tablet. What hurts them even more is how long it took them to get a functional tablet on the market. By the time RIM released PlayBook OS 2.0, Amazon Kindle Fire and Nook Color pretty much gobbled up the 7 inch tablet market.
At the crux of the problem is RIM's choice of buying QNX and building an in-house OS instead of forking Android like Amazon or Barnes&Noble. This caused them to lag behind all the other tablet makers hugely, losing precious market share. The only bright spot is that a QNX-based kernel will allow BlackBerry to gain product differentiation that most Androids lack. Hope RIM plays this to their advantage with fantastic browsing experience on their devices.

Good phone, means that people will want a great tablet to work with it. That just shows how faithful most of us blackberry users are. Btw nice 9981 and $500 clock app to go with it!

Continue with the BB7 platform in emerging markets, make a smartphone that is affordable and continue to market the BBM feature which is a key selling point for that market. Pricing will be a big thing and with free Blackberry offers with plans, definitely seems like a huge selling point compared to the competition.

However, in the USA I feel that there is a market dominated by iPhone and people willing to pay for it. Blackberry needs to jump into BB10 and streamline maybe to 2-3 models maximum, one with keyboard, one without, one with a slider. Make them sleek, fast, powerful.... If they are anything like the Playbook, will have VideoChat and android app availability, content market for books and music/videos, and compete somewhat with selling points of the iPhone (facetime, itunes, etc).

Features that may push the envelope (not likely on a slider or keyboard model, but more likely on a model that is more like an iPhone form factor):

- completely seamless case, waterproof sealed ports like the new Panasonic phone
- battery charging through induction pad (no plugins, just lay on a mat and charge)
- relatively thin but not square, a bit curvy to improve comfort holding
- front and rear cameras to allow videochat like playbook
- front screen to the edge with little to no bezel, but have touch-sensitive "sides" of the phone like the playbook bezel, to allow scrolling action and other hot button features on different areas of the phone's sides that are fully customizable (scroller, volume up/down, lock, etc).

Some ideas for my "wish" phone of the future... Let's hope RIMM is the one to do it first.

This is so true! RIMs priority should be their devices as it has the most users but they can't wait till september/october to market bb10 they need to start now

I agree with Eldrover.

RIM have been hopeless at bringing everything together in a cohesive whole. Apple have succeeded by making things so easy that even technophobes can do the basics. Personally, I absolutely detest iTunes as I think it gets in the way. Getting a movie onto any BB device is painless in comparison, ditto with music, photos, documents, etc.

But the biggest mistake RIM have made over the last decade is failing to REALLY listen to customers.

Unless you have a direct line to RIM it is pretty much impossible to let them know what you think.

There's still a lot of love for their devices, but unless they start really listening to their loyal customers soon people will drift away.

Oh, and get rid of those stupid occasions where the devices freeze and you enter up staring at the darned clock for two minutes waiting for it to come back to life.

The Crackberry nation has been extremely vocal (OK written) in RIM's lack of advertisement. It's obvious that because of the lack (almost non existent) advertisement, RIM has taken a backseat to all other forms of mobile communication. This is nothing new....we've been saying this all along


I am glad that RIM is ramping it up now. When I heard the sponsored by Blackberry and the "BOLD Play of the game" during both the Heat and Knick games yesterday I was excited to see that RIM is determined to strike back.

Very interresting article from a perspective I had not thought of. Though I have to say my PlayBook attracts attention (mostly when I am doing presentations using HDMI and Remote) and brings interest my BlackBerry does not.

RIM has just got to start taking advantage of advertising opportunities. We get an awesome concept video released last week but it is 2 minutes long so not useable for a commercial. It showed first-class production skill and must have cost a fortune.

YET the Latin reality Idol-type show ¡Q’Viva! premiered last weekend. It is SPONSORED by RIM, showing Jennifer Lopez and Mark Antony using BlackBerries and PlayBooks. I kept waiting for the commercial break to see what RIM would put out there. Nope. iPad commercial instead. I was so disappointed and confused. Nobody used the term BlackBerry with the word PlayBook, and your average consumer wouldn't even get what the big deal was. It is a series, so one would hope RIM will start firing off astounding commercials that actually show what the PB can do.

I agree about improving and marketing phones. Honestly, my Torch 9850 is now just an accessory for my PlayBook. Oh yah and it makes phone calls, too. The PB also ensures I would never look at another phone maker.

Yeah but first RIM needs to actually sell phones... And currently there's plenty of reason why buying a Blackberry handset isn't attractive:

1- Doomed OS (who would want BBOS 7 when the near BBOS 10 will be a clean break...)
2- Deprecated hardware (even the higher end models fail to impress)
3- Price (within the same price range there are just so much more powerful devices... one can always improve software later but hardware will remain limiting).
4- App world (few quality free content... one can't expect a fully "operational" device on freeware alone...)

And when BBOS 10 finaly comes out:

1- Immature OS (still is... though the Playbook experience will certainly make things easier).
2- Price again(these will certainly be extremely expensive... that is if they are priced like the Playbook was before the pricecut).
3- App world again (unless things drastically change until OS 10 is released quality material, especially free, will still be very scarce... I don't need a ton of apps but do actually need the some core ones that are missing and the existing ones to have more quality then they currently have).

RIM needs to stop delivering overpriced underpowered devices. Even in the countries where they have their biggest marketshare Blackberry is but a niche / status product at best. They are catering only for upper middle class and up (and even these may get better alternatives elsewhere).

Not every country has a majority of users with a carrier contract... in my country ppl mainly use "pay as you go" (oddly enough only these offer free calls and sms/mms to numbers of the same carrier) and we pay our devices at almost full price... carriers offers lousy plans and very low device discounts with the contracts . Quality/Price relation is very important in such cases (RIM should be catering to all markets not just US). Because if not for carrier discounts and offers (or company provided devices) how many of your would own a Blackberry?

About desktop software less is more. They need to go toward Active Sync (as it was for Windows Mobile devices) and not towards Zune (as it is currently). In the same note iTunes sucks (it's a giant bloated resource hog just... it alone is enough for me never ever owning any Apple product). Currently RIM PC apps are bloated and nearly useless (explorer is slow, can't manage apps, no dedicated market, multiple process running at all time even if app is idle... if that's the case I'm keeping just device manager).

Just my 2 cents (bitter as they can be).

Carriers do set the final price yes but this is still based upon a $300-400 (depending on the phone and how well they think it will sell and how much they think they can make on it over the life of the contract). RIM would be well advised to reduce the full price of the phone and market the value of the device in terms of ARPU to the carriers. They haven't been doing that. They have been resting on their laurels and past working relationship. They also need to do this for tablets once they release the 3g/4g models later this year. Not launching them that way right out of the gate was a serious financial error.

When I look at the 9981 sitting the cradle, all I keep thinking is: make the phone footprint that total size, (same height as the Playbook) move the keypad down, get rid of the menu buttons (put them on a screen or as dedicated buttons on the side of the phone), elongate the touchscreen both down and up (we know its a BlackBerry, no need for that lettering as it occupies "key" real estate). Add all the fixin's of BB10 and I would buy that phone.

Or better yet - do the same to my 9930, and get me a 9-10" Playbook while your at it

Thanks for the time/effort! That's pretty much it. What did you think of the look once you envisioned it? I like it (better on a 9930)

The numbers for WebOS are instructive. Though the fans were loyal and bought the TouchPad, WebOS is quite dead. BB needs to be a healthy and saught after phone platform long before it enters the tablet race.

Furthermore, there is an important stat that is missing. What percentage of these platform users own tablets in the first place. Is RIM reaching 2% of its smartphone market with the PB? It simply doesn't matter if a loyal few buy a tablet from the same company. What matters is that a significant percentage buy a company tablet. RIM as no hope in the tab market if they cannot convert their own customers who have already bought into the system.

For some reason, I have some lingering doubts about this study. Let's look at this logically. There are about 75 million BlackBerry Phone subscribers and we know RIM sold less than 2 million PlayBooks. So the study is saying that out of some 75 odd million BlackBerry owners, only like 2 million of them own a tablet?

I agree with several points that previous posters have made. In particular, BlackBerry 10 phones needs to have an amazing browser experience with extremely fast HTML5 rendering much like the PlayBook. This is because BlackBerry won't be able to compete with iPhone and Android in terms of native apps so it needs to make up some lost ground with HTML5. More on that note, RIM needs to port over many more Android apps to fill the app gap. The new BlackBerry phones should be much more web-browsing friendly with big screens and maybe a slide-out physical keyboard thrown in.

I'll be the first in line to buy the new BlackBerry 10 phones when they come out. But don't expect there to be a magic bullet to fixing RIM's problems. A major OS revamp is majorly overdue but it'll be just like PlayBook OS 2.0, hardly the end-all be-all quick fix everyone thinks it will be. I think PlayBook OS 2.0 showed us that despite having an amazing OS update, it won't be as easy to convince consumers to open up their wallets.

I bought my playbook to complement my Torch 9800. The problem there was that the Torch didn't do too many important entertainment related things that the playbook does. Regardless, I felt really disappointed taking a stroll through app world. However, I noticed that after getting on to the Berry platform I did the most enjoyable stuff less often. Why was that? It wasn't because the Torch couldn't do it, but the apps for them like Facebook, twitter, the music player, etc were just so anaemic. The notifications panel existed, but was awfully slow. After OS 2.0, I started using my PlayBook independently. I am connected to BES via my phone, but am migrating to an iPhone 4S shortly simply due to the Torch showing its age. OS7 isn't all that cutting edge either. I will go for an Ipad too, but I'll still hold on to the playbook. Why? Cos it multitasks brilliantly, has a great browser with Flash and I can easily code for the playbook and make some cash off app world.

IMO BB10 is what will make or break RIM as even emerging markets are finding OS7 to be quite dated. That OS needs to have been released yesterday.

Last week I was in the exact same position as you.  I had a Torch 9800 and a Playbook.  My Torch was becoming far too slow to deal with.  It was driving me crazy. 

Now I'm running a Bold 9900.  It's a DREAM!  

So before you go for a 4S, consider upgrading to a new Bold.  BB7 is far better than you might be giving it credit for (especially given the improved hardware specs).  



If RIM sells tons of BB7 devices, will their customers come back after a 2 y contract or jump ship? How do BB7 phones compare to iPhones and Android?

they have to think about their customers - will they be satisfied? In 2009 RIM sold tons of Curves 85XX and Sotrms, and they were POS that were blown out of the water by anything iPhone or Android. 2y later after the contract is expired, they all left the RIM ship for good reasons.... these phones did not compare favorably to anything else....

oh, I have a storm 2, no contract, and im not buying BB7 phones cuz they are mediocre. Im not buying into RIM's BS. I want a top nothch phone to pair my Playbook with...

ahhhh my Blackberry's!!!!!!!!

Anyone have a better link to the Kindle bar the one in this post is dead the posters bandwith is used up and i would like that version of the kindle looking for v3.4.1.1 i have the earlier version sideloaded already


What RIM should do is this: When a new BB phone is set up and the new user enters their email, the welcome email should include an offer to purchase a new PlayBook for $XX off with all the reasons to do so (bridge ability as the top billing).

Conversely, they could do the same thing when a new user sets up their PlayBook. This one could be even better with a heavily discounted or even free BlackBerry phone with selected sponsor providers.

rickkel - that's a DAMN good idea, or at least the start of one.  RIM should know if a BBID is new (duh!), and they should know if a BBID has been setup on a handheld or Playbook before.

So they should be able to deliver such an offer to the right people. But they have basically NO direct sales.  They need to fix this pronto.

......and don't forget us BIS users, sync PlayBook with BIS just like our BB phones; if I wanted Android apps I would have bought an Android tablet.

for my part i bought a playbook cause i own a blackberry torch and love the os

i have a ipad 2 but i won't buy an iphone

so i think poeple buy a playbook because the os or the size (perfect size by the way)

Every BlackBerry user should have the opportunity to buy one modestly subsidized PlayBook. It need not be much but just a little Thank-you for all the crap they've had to put up with the past several quarters.

correlation does not equal causality. and fundamentally you dont just run some filtering and "eyeball" the data...

I was totally shocked when Ellen gave away 2 Blackberry Playbooks on her show that aired here today. That is what RIM needs to do. Get these things out there for people to see, on popular shows like this.

The logic of the argument - that users will buy a tablet based on their prior smartphone decision - yes that's solid. But, that should be even MORE concerning to RIM and its faithful - it's clear that they are losing BB handheld users in droves - I mean people are FLOCKING away from RIM, over to Android and iOS. No, maybe not the people on this fan site, who might make up .01% of the public out there - but the regular ordinary people are bailing from RIM as fast as their contracts will allow them.

So - if the success of the PB is going to be dictated by the success of the BB handheld, then the PB is doomed. No way that the BB10 device (s?) coming out in Q4 can save the PB. That is an eternity.

Bottom line - I hope the logic is wrong (I don't think it is) because I want RIM to succeed, but I don't see it, at least not if the PB depends on the BB.

and after reviewing a number of the posts above mine, my point has been made: That the comparably weak BB device performance won't be enough to sway users to a PB.

you'll say, yes but what about BB10??!? That will be the salvation!! Really? By that time, iPhone 5 will be out, and Android Cheesecake (or whatever) version will be out - those are going to advance as well.

I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see it.....

RIM should just give up on handhelds in the US and focus on where it's bread is buttered: Canada (where BlackBerry is still the most used smartphone OS), overseas and emerging markets. In the States they're just beating a dead horse.

Despite their lack of market share and dwindling stock & market cap, Nokia is still the biggest handset maker in the world. They didn't agressively go after the US market with Symbian because they realize it's already dominated by Android and iPhone.

RIM, please cease all handset efforts in the States and focus on moving PlayBooks only!

I bought my Playbook because of my BB Torch. That, and, I just feel like I have more privacy using a BB. I'm reluctant to merge all my contacts from Outlook at home and my Yahoo on my PB so I haven't done that yet. I completely dislike Google's new "privacy" policy so I've deleted my old Google account and will never buy an Android phone. Maybe I'm being paranoid, but the federal government uses BB's because of the security and they can be CAC enabled. I know nobody is interested in what's on my phone or tablet, (or are they?) but if it's good enough for the feds, it's good enough for me.

I saw a new BB commercial and it didn't have the cool line at the end that says, "I need tools; not toys." That's huge and intimates that all other devices are for gaming and kids. Blackberries are for grown ups. RIM should paste that on billboards everywhere.

RIM's reliance on telcos to market their Blackberries in N.A. Market have taught RIM to depend only on oneself. Thus opening retail stores in emerging markets is the right strategy.

In those "emerging markets" RIM has gone from relying on telco's to relying on retailers. I can't see the long term strategy here. They don't own any part of the stores - and the minute their profit margins dwindle for the retailer - they won't be there either.

They need to OWN the retail experience, but they won't do that.

Funny I was thinking about this today and in RIMS case it is the opposite. In the case of Apple the phones sell the tablets since it is based on the same OS. The playbook and BB7 are completely different platforms. The playbook is developing the base to launch the BB10 in the fall. The playbook is building the ecosystem, apps/content/cloud and the OS. I use my phone for sure but I spend most of time with the playbook. I will definitely be buying a BB10 based on the features and quality of the build of OS2. My Bold 9900 did not drive me to buy a playbook.

but let's look at Kindle fire, amazon never has their own mobile phone, but kindle fire is just so hot right now in the US,

Been reading the forums for months but rarely comment. As a blackberry user Of over 8 years in the UK I find it interesting how the tech blogs in US and Blackberry users over their view the product and seems as if your caught in a bubble.

My girlfriend is in NYC and has a 9930 and I spent a lot of time over there since last June. When I turned on the tv or radio, flicked through newspapers or mags and visited stores such as best buy or mobile stores from carriers such as verizon or tmobile I noticed a lot of the stuff that people say on here about marketing and positioning in store.

Then in the UK where its the #1 smartphone and 7 million of BB's 75 million users are based its completely different. Firstly we don't pay for upgrades on contract mobile phones in UK and many people I know have 2 phones. Some that have switched over. (my 2nd phone is an android as tmobile UK stopped stocking 3g pearl so I went with a xperia mini pro)to iphone or android have kept their blackberry on a cheap sim only contract or pay as you go line. But the marketing is where you will be blown out of the water... True story my 9800 torch crashed the night of the of the bb bridge upgrade. On a biz contract t-mobile couriered me a recondition torch 24 hours later, that bricked. I called them up and they let me switch to a brand new 9900 bold no questions asked and arrange for courier to send out the replacement within 24 hours.

Hyped about the phone... In the morning I turned on tv to watch sky sports news and saw a promo for sky atlantic new show airing (This entire channel is sponsored by blackberry). Switched to ESPN UK and saw an TV ad for new bold. Walked down the high st and saw store displays for new Blackberry handsets and offers on orange and tmobile networks. Jumped on the train and picked up free newspaper Metro. Had a 1/4 ad on cover by phones for u store promoting new bold. In same paper Virgin Media and 02 networks also had ads promoting latest BB phones and then a full page ad promoting new Bold and the 9900 bold. On the train there were ads promoting the new range of bb smartphones.I got off the train and there were moving billboard ad and poster ads in the station promoting new bold phones... Finally on the way to my meeting I passed a bus stop with a poster ad from T-mobile promoting BB phones.

Over here we take these things for granted... But RIM's marketing in the UK is HUGE!

Only around Xmas time they were promoting billboard ads pushing BBM Music and had a roadshow at Westfield's mall by new Olympic stadium in stratford to promoting the app. They also had billboard ads promoting ESPN UK's free premier league football app ESPN GOALS that shows you all the goals and highlights from the games mins after a goal is scored and that Blackberry has this app!

I wish you guys that have doubts about the company would go onto a website from a uk network provider like t-mobile or mobile retailer like phones 4 u or carphone warehouse and see how heavily Blackberry is being marketing abroad.

They are currently running a comp of BB UK facebook page for an exclusive event called plus 5 were BB owners can win themself a ticket +5 to exclusive music concerts and last year sponsored a number of music tours in UK.

I think people need to open their eyes... as a big a market as the US is and RIM have made mistakes there... There is a much BIGGER world out there than the bubble of the United States my friends :-)

I dont neceassarily agree. RIM needs to grow by making a great tablet and a great phone. People with iphones buy droid and BB tablets. Make the BB tablet killer and ou will expose them to the QNX experience.

Many people have bought into their phone OS and will not branch out. Many of those people don't feel the same about a tablet. Make the best tablet you can and people will buy it regardless of the phone they have as long as it meets their needs and their are no barriers to communication between platforms and services. Thats the PBs problem now, there are some gaps in terms of users and their desired content or communication platform. Fix that and ios and droid folks will come.

They need too keep their tablets at the same cost rite now its the only way to grab people attention. All my friends wanted to get ipads but didn't want to pay over 500 bucks playbook sits at a good reasonable cost for everybody

i used an android phone and an android tablet. then i switched to a playbook just to try it out. i ended up getting a blackberry phone just to compliment the playbook.

with the 2.0 update i'm back to an android phone sharing data via wifi to my trusty playbook.

The playbook is my first introduction to BlackBerry and, because of it, I will be switching from Android to Blackberry phones. I like the style of the BB phones and RIM in general. I believe they are a solid company and I have faith in their abilities to make great inroads in the markets.

I agree with Chris Umiastowski.
Quite a number of people who disagreed with Chris'analysis in this thread have said they liked the Playbook product enough to build an interest in buying a BB phone, where apparently there was none before. And more often than not, those people seem to have wanted to buy a Bold 9900/9930 as a follow-up companion to their Playbook tablet purchase. Though these comments may be true on an individual level, they are not statistically heavy enough to disprove the "phone as a tablet sales driver" analysis.

I have an all-Blackberry phone and tablet household and though I am VERY fond of my Playbooks, I challenge the claim that the Playbook tablet is generally supposed to be the driver of phone sales. I think most people purchase a tablet as an extension of their chosen phone device. And I think most of us Crackberrians did it this way.

I'm sure someone will accuse me of number fudging, but Thorstein Heins confirmed in recent weeks that only about 20+ percent or so of all Blackberry phone users had upgraded to to an OS7 device (a good many not having even upgraded to an OS6 device. That means a little more than 80 percent of BB phone users were running a pre-OS6 or OS7 device when the Playbook launched in April 2011. Yet, at present, 89 percent of BB phone users who have a tablet "happen to own" a Playbook. The numbers don't add up.
There's no way a Playbook would have inspired the purchase of a PRE-OS7 phone, which represents the majority of Blackberries out there (the PB most certainly would not have inspired the purchase of an OS5 phone when an OS 6 or 7 phone was available).

That means most Playbook purchasers HAD to be pre-existing BB phone users, which further validates the correlation between phone and tablet brand loyalty.
I also remember reading a recent article (I wish I remember where though) that addressed the RIM Playbook's apparent lack of a target customer base. The article concluded that RIM's target audience was deemed to be the Blackberry phone user (and that logic applies both to the existing phone user as well as the first-time (future) BB phone user-same target!).

Why would RIM do this? It's because they know that their BB10 phones are the devices that need to hit the grand slams. Those are the devices that will have everything the Playbook has and more-including BBM, including stand-alone networking, including a more-developed app ecosystem. What else will they have? A natural compatibility with any Playbook present or future that's out there. The greatness of the phones will definitely set more Playbook sales in motion (the reverse is also true but to a much lesser extent). Concentrate on making fantastic BB10 phones and the Playbook will sell itself. Any developer that sees that right now and creates any great apps for the Playbook will have already have a head start in the race-especially if they harness TAT's Cascades when it releases.

You need to remember that BB probably never intended for the Playbook to be an iPad killer. It was put out there to prove that RIM had some kind of vision and was going forward in their platform transition. Even though it emerged unfinished, it was supposed to be a statement about what OS goodness was coming down the line for phones (eventually), and it was also an in-market "test lab" of sorts.

The public slammed the Playbook hard, but If the Playbook hadn't emerged as the unfortunate, untimely sacrificial lamb that it became, we would all be saying that Blackberry definitely didn't stand a chance of surviving the next few years because all we would know are the OS 7 phones and nothing else. The Playbook gave us a vision into the future of a new RIM, a better RIM.
The Playbook is now coming into its own, that's for sure- it's much less the incomplete product that it once was, and more of a complete product (almost). But I am even more sure that the BB10 phone, a cell-networked miniature Playbook of sorts,will regenerate excitement for the RIM brand and will give the actual tablet even greater viability. I believe Chris Umiastowski's analysis holds water and will further prove itself true in say, 7 months or so.

Remember all of those developers (streaming video companies, video chat companies.....cough) that refuse to give us the big name apps we want on the Playbook?
We won't be begging them to support us anymore when those millions of BB10 phones hit the market. They are the ones that will come after us instead. The economics will compel them. And only then will our Playbooks be complete with the apps we want on them.

I really like the PlayBook and if BB10 will have the same fluid OS it will be a hit.
Can hardly wait.... and that is the issue... waiting that is what killing Rim's stock.
I sitll have the Torch 9800 and with BB10 expected this fall I'm not upgrading to anything in between. I know I'm not alone.
The new Bold 9900 looks great and Bold 9000 was my favorite phone but it took the two clowns over three years to get an upgrade to the market meanwhile Torch 9800 being the "flagship device" disappointed most of us and Rim lost its footing to iPhone and Androd.
Blackberrys have the best email integration out of all devices at the moment, but this is bound to change with the Windows Phone.
The dedicated Blackberry user with the integrated exchange account is most likely not going to consider switching to an iPhone or Android as the features simply not there on those platforms (there are plenty of Apps but the exchange richness and itegrations is totally missing).
We are all going to have a test of courage once fully integrated Windows 8 phones hit the market this fall even if BB10 is ready and in full armor.

If you try one you have to try the other. I can't wait to buy my playbook to go w my 9900 and better yet I can't wait to see what bb10 has to offer. We all would like what all smartphones have to offer apps, speed, nice cameras (front and back)etc., but one thing I'm hoping for bb10 and future phones is RIM if you make it faster or more up to date or even more further advanced than others. Please make sure its still a blackberry :)

I Preach this wherever I go...Blackberry MUST slim down to ONE Device! Part of iPhone's Genius is INCLUSIVENESS! The same Inclusiveness that Blackberry once possessed. "You have an iPhone?" "Me TOO!" Blackberry is like Marvel Comics and Apple is like DC. Marvel splintered into too many directions, while DC said, "this is us," and kept it simple. It was great for a time, but now DC is CLEARLY on top. PERSONIFY, SIMPLIFY & UNIFY.

There are 3 iPhone models; Apple has done well to focus on a limited number of closely related designs. A lot of BB model proliferation is caused by technology catchup and diverse markets. The Apple strategy is that the low end iPhones will eventually be popular as the BRIC markets get richer and people can afford them.
RIM does seem to have far too much product proliferation, but it does need to have more than 3 models to cover its bases, as it is already selling into BRIC and the richer Islamic countries like Turkey.

I have a couple experiences surrounding this topic.

First, my own. I had a 9650, which prompted me to get a PB at launch (dayum, paid full price for it too). Love my playbook, but ended up dumping the 9650 for an android. Pretty sure I just had app envy. I have loved my playbook all along, with 2.0 I'm eagerly anticipating a return to blackberry, but not until BB10 drops. Kinda sorta, the PB will bring be back to blackberry in time.

My wife, also a 9650 user (still) bought herself an iPad, and now eagerly awaits her upgrade to become available so she can switch to an iPhone. I told her she'd regret it, but she likes the apple way of life I guess. So, iPad is driving her phone decision, not the other way around.

"hakdaddy" was writing about BB in UK. He did not mentioned that the majority of BB-users are 14year old girls and boys using the cheepest BB phones. Will they buy BB's when 16 or 17 ?
Probably not. They will go for the latest Iphone or Android!

I believe it's all about getting the most out of a platform. If you believe in one and want the best and full experience, you should stick to that one platform only. The only way to get all the features from the Playbook is to have a Blackberry Smartphone. I personally don't want to be a contradiction, so I use everything Blackberry!


I think letting their phones sell the playbook is a horrible idea, not everyone owns there phones! Alot of people bought the playbook for its awesome quality and most of the price! You start "keeping it in the family " it might turn alot of people off.

I have had a blackberry phone for the past 4 or so years starting from Curve 8330, Bold 9650 and Bold 9930 and they all have been great phones. When I heard about the PB being developed and the ability to Bridge with the phones I just had to have it. They have been great together and I rarely leave home without either one.