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Is Thorsten Heins seriously thinking about making 60 handsets?

Thorsten Heins
By Chris Umiastowski on 2 Aug 2012 03:42 pm EDT
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Earlier today, Adam put up a quick post outlining what Research in Motion CEO, Thorsten Heins, said in an interview with The Telegraph.  Now that I've had a chance to read through the original article and speak to RIM about it for clarification, I thought I'd post up my opinion and raise a few questions.

Let's start with a quick recap of the most important quote from the story:

"We don't have the economy of scale to compete against the guys who crank out 60 handsets a year. We have to differentiate and have a focused platform. To deliver BB10 we may need to look at licensing it to someone who can do this at a way better cost proposition than I can do it. There's different options we could do that we're currently investigating."  

This quote, along with others in the original story, has caused people to speculate that RIM is going to exit the hardware business, or form a partnership with another large player in much the same way as Microsoft has teamed up with Nokia.  

Before we go jumping to conclusions about what this quote actually means, let's look at the sentence that precedes it, as written by The Telegraph's Matt Warman:  "Heins is keenly aware that he must get cheaper devices into the mainstream"

Ahhh, so the context behind this quote is about bringing BlackBerry 10 into the low end of the market.  This is indeed what RIM highlighted to us when we spoke to them today.

In January 2013 we should see RIM announce the first two BlackBerry 10 phones.  These, along with any other variations that RIM might launch, will be geared towards the mid to high end of the market.

BlackBerry 7 will have some legs to carry RIM through 2013 in emerging markets, but before too long they need a low-cost strategy.  And this is what Thorsten is getting at.  RIM doesn't have the deep supply chain and economies of scale to design and build low cost phones for the Asian market, for example.  Not when they're up against dozens and dozens of low cost Androids.  So finding a partner who wants to dive into that market might make a lot more sense.

One thing is clear, though.  RIM is not abandoning the hardware market.  Microsoft is moving closer to becoming an integrated supplier.  Apple is a completely integrated supplier.  RIM has always been an integrated supplier.  There is no good reason to change this.  In Kevin's interview with Thorsten following RIM's AGM last month, Thorsten highlighted the value of RIM being an integrated supplier.  

There is no reason to believe RIM's view has changed since the AGM.

124 comments

SurrealCivic

Doesn't quite make sense to split up the low-end and the high-end markets at this point. I understand why they are thinking this, because of the high marings. But again, economics of scale comes in. And Apple/Google/Samsung/Microsoft can make their phones cheaper because they are bigger. RIM wants to get into the 'niche' high-end market, while licensing their OS to other manufacturers. I still think they will have a hard time competing on the hardware end. But, at this time they have to push out their revoluationary platform somehow, and the way to do it is with high-end phones in Western markets. But with a slowing global economy, I don't know if this will fare that well. It's all comes down to price elasticity of demand.

What is happening here is that RIM is taking the necessary steps to focus less on hardware and more on software and services. And why? Well simply they are unable to compete, and they are losing money in this business. This is why I think that they will eventaully EXIT the hardware space.

I have been advocating this for what it seems well over a year now, that due to the changing global market and RIM's position they are going to exit the hardware business and focus on being a software and services (SAS) company.

Research In Motion is going through a transition like never before. Having lived in Waterloo for over 15 years, I have watched RIM from pretty much infancy to global smartphone leader to where we are now (struggling to compete in this market with the likes of Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc).

Research In Motion has built some great phones throughout the years; the Curve, Bold, Pearl, Storm, Torch, Style series. Albeit some were poorly executed on (ie. Storm) and some never fit into the current market (Style). But most were winners. The BlackBerry Bold is one of the greatest QWERTY smartphones every created, to this day. The BlackBerry Torch was a great way for RIM to incorporate the QWERTY keyboard into a touchscreen slider. The Curve, probably the most successful consumer smartphone RIM created. But as the years went on, competition increased, input prices increased (commodities), costs of labour increased (worldwide); it has proved to become too expensive for RIM to manufacture hardware. I know the truth is sometimes hard to swallow, but this is a fact.

Year over Year, Gross Margins are tanking.

Gross margins are the percent of total sales revenue that the company retains after incurring the direct costs associated with producing these goods. Therefore, the higher the percentage the more RIM makes from each dollar of sales.

On a GAAP basis, hardware gross margins of Research In Motion:

42% FY 2010
36% FY 2011
20% FY 2012

Now introduce less revenue on hardware, year over year, and you have RIM losing money on the manufacturing and selling of hardware!

Look at the competition out there, Apple (with FoxConn), Google (now with Motorola), HTC, LG, Samsung, Microsoft (with Nokia). And smartphones are becoming cheaper and cheaper each year, while input costs and labour keeps on rising.

Solution: Research In Motion needs to exit the hardware business!

SOFTWARE IS THE WAY TO GO

Research In Motion purchased QNX Systems from Harman International over two years ago. They have had time to develop it into a mobile operating system that can actually compete with iOS, Android, WinPhone. And not only that, they have an OS that can be used across many different applications and industries (Automobile, Airplane to name a few).

They have been spending a lot of money on the new QNX-based BlackBerry operating system. From the design process, to attracting developers, to building the tools to develop for this OS.

It is clear now, the focus is on software. They also have their services business which has high margins and makes them approx. $1B per quarter. They also have many patents.

RIM needs to exit the hardware business, focus on software, innovate their services (a long the lines of what Balsillie had in mind) and cash in on their patents (either through patent selling, licensing or even trolling).

RIM is going to look very different a year from now, and it will be better for the company and for consumers!

For more analysis on RIM, please follow me on
Twitter: Martin Chmiel (SurrealCivic) on Twitter
Thanks

SurrealCivic

And anyone saying that they want RIM to continue making hardware in this market because 'they love their QWERTY keyboard' is just plain selfish.

RIM needs to survive as a company. Which means making drastic changes to their business model so they can be a viable company that makes money.

In my life time, I never thought I would not see IBM make a personal computer ever again. But the market caught up to them, PCs became commoditized, IBM failed to innovate (like Apple), and hence had to give up the PC to focus on a different business model. Look at where IBM is now, they are the #1 company in the world in IT services.

Also, Sony. Sony is on the brink of exiting the TV market. Did you ever think that Sony would stop making the TV?

Eventually same thing will happen to RIM, the smartphone they created will not be made by them anymore. The market caught up to RIM, and now they can't catch up to the market. It happens all the time. It's all part of the technology cycle.

br14

"RIM needs to survive as a company"

They won't survive as a purely software vendor. Google give away their software for free - try generating decent margins if you compete with Android. (Which is RIM's problem by the way)

IBM still makes mainframes by the way (20% of their revenues). And IBM has never stopped innovating. The PC market is saturated and margins have fallen off a cliff as low cost manufacturers take over. Not worth a high overhead cost North American manufacturer bothering.

The smartphone market on the other hand is still growing and will do for a decade or more.

Yasch22

br14, I couldn't agree more. RIM dies a quick death without its own hardware. That is, without a guaranteed software delivery system. Even if margins are squeezed even tighter, RIM makes a lot of $ back through subscription fees, etc. Also, App World is going to become much more important as a key spoke in the wheel. E.g., the PlayBooks out there right now (despite zero margins at point of sale) are responsible for 22% of all paid app sales.

golden_m

" RIM dies a quick death without its own hardware"

with its own hardware it will die a bit slower...or faster, depends on how good or bad this hardware will be

SuperionMaximus

I'm going to have to agree that if RIM chops off the hardware business then the rest gets chopped up and sold off to and there is no more RIM.

This whole line of thought by Thorsten seems to be silly. I know he says he does not want RIM to be Apple, but one of the strategies that works really well for them and RIM NEEDS DESPERATELY to adopt is, making last years device this years entry level device and keeping support going for three years.

RIM is adopting a system that they feel they will get at least 10 years out of and it will be designed to run on hardware as old as the 1GHz WiFi Playbook so they should have no problems if they actually make the L-Series and N-Series and M-Series phones desirable in making them last an extra year like Apple does.

There is no need to make 60 phones a year or even to think about making 60 phones a year. RIM needs to make desirable phones that people want to buy and then promise at least 3 years of support and keep them in the market longer like Apple has been doing. Seems to be a winning strategy for them and if BB 10 really is the next evolution of mobile computing then it should have no problem being a high end product that people desire and are happy to buy last years model because the Platform is just that good. Not saying that's the case with iOS - it's not that great - in the case of Apple, it's the hardware and the culture people buy into. BlackBerry also needs a culture but a different one then Apple and the hook really needs to be the BB 10 experience.

Those statements by Thorsten are worrying and not productive at this point so far from launch of BB 10.

Splange

Yeah, there's need to flood the market with 10 different low cost curves when you can just offer continued support for last year's flagship device.

Blackberry_boffin

I disagree.
RIM needs the hardware side of things. RIM are predominantly in mobile computing and quitting making their own devices would be a quick route to irrelevance. The issue is just that they need to stop being so reliant on it for income. Android killed that line of revenue. It has now become a mere means to an end, but one they need. They may yet look at exiting the sector but not within the next year at the very least. They actually cannot hope to license BB10 if they cannot demonstrate that it is worth it on their own hardware. Even Windows Phone is failing to get OEMs (except poor Nokia) serious about it. Granted Windows Phone has fewer unique features than the BlackBerry platform but RIM needs to be seen to investing in their platform's penetration before they can hope to get anyone interested in licensing it. Apple and Android are powering forward on the strengths of their services which are deeply integrated with everything to do with mobile computing. For BB10 RIM has not even said anything about the route they will take with their mapping and search solution (it surely can't be Bing and Bing maps), two of the most critical smartphone features today. RIM really just needed to modernise the BBOS core for BB10 whilst adding newer, hopefully, must have features AND then offer competitive hardware (not quit making it). To not offer reference, competitive hardware even at cost initially will mean BB10 will just suffer still birth.
You are just thinking of quarterly margins which at the moment seem to be suffering from hardware sales but BB10 needs penetration and to bed into the market before that idea becomes viable. RIM has to make BB10 devices if someone wishes to license BB10 right away great but right now the minimum target should be that RIM will have to make hardware to gain some mindshare and user base.

turnertp2

you should have stopped your analysis at the first post, you are clearly not in the business sphere as this was horrific.
first off, Lenovo (the purchaser of the IBM computer spin off) not only purchased (i say this to the contrary of your argument "But the market caught up to them, PCs became commoditized, IBM failed to innovate "), but ever year leases hundreds of IMB owned of patants on PC's. whos innovative now.
second, sonys 2011 cash flow is well over 5 million, hardly "on the brink of existing." sony will also be producing a OLED TV... clearly not a struggling company...
third, RIM's cash flows are over 700,000 also not a bad number considering many companies end up in the negative. RIM's software sales already account for a significant amount of their net income.

SurrealCivic

To the many readers that have heard my analysis before, I know it sounds repetitive. But many have not heard my analysis. It's relevant, it's my analysis, and I'm going to post it as many times as the notion of RIM changing their business strategy comes up. I want to share my analysis with the masses, because I believe that it is valuable.

I'm not making money off this, I don't own RIM shares or their competitors at this time. It is simply an analysis that I have put together with the knowledge and experience that I have for the purpose of opening up other's eyes and seeing RIM as a company that can survive. But in order to survive it needs to change.

I'm sick of people writing obituaries about RIM, saying that the stock will go to zero, etc. These people think that RIM will continue to be the same company. The truth is, they are not!

Kevin Michaluk

I think it's time we give you a weekly column around here... From the Mind of Martin :)

menaknow

I was just going to say, Martin needs a blog.

SurrealCivic

Haha! Thanks! It would definitely help with the grammar, spelling and putting thoughts together. Instead of trying cram everything together the fastest possible before the trolls come out! And then my post is somewhere below all the troll comments. :)

birdman_36

Why give him blog space when he says the same thing over and over again?

SurrealCivic

Thanks Kevin!! I appreciate the kind comment..

I know you understand, because you've known me for almost four years now. But many others do not. This analysis is not something I made up over night, not something that is intended to make money, or put a negative spin. This is an analysis that I have put together over many years, knowledge, education, experience, etc.

In my opinion, this is positive for RIM. Research In Motion is a business, they need to make money. When the market changes, you have to change as well; or you will be put in the rear seat.

RIM is doing what they do best, they are putting their Research In Motion, sorry to sound corny there. They invented the smartphone as we know it, as the ultimate communication device. Now look at how many companies out there are making smartphones in so many markets, in so many countries. Now it is time for RIM to stop its complacancy and push further. They didn't buy QNX for nothing, they bought QNX because they saw that they can create a revolutionary software platform that can be used across many applications. And they are in the process of doing that right now.

Bluenoser63

Your logic is flawed. You want RIM out of the hardware business and sell BB10 to phone makers. Problem is no one will buy BB10 to put on their phone. That is because you can't compete with Android. Android is practically free and how can you sell your OS against that? You can't. So you have to make your own hardware. Plain and simple.

HabsSuck

Not free, Samsung and HTC pay royalties to Microsoft for using Android.

Bluenoser63

Actually Android is free. Google doesn't charge them anything. MS is threatening to sue anyone who uses Android because THEY SAY Android infringes on patents MS owns. None of this has been proved in court and the smaller phone companies feel it easier to pay the extortion charge rather than fight it in court. If MS thought Android was actually infringing, they should be suing Google, but they won't.

It's all BS, but Google doesn't charge anything for Android.

Jtaylor1986

So he will stop clogging up the comments with his one point over and over again. Its not only on this site either!

SurrealCivic

Would you rather have the comments clogged up with trolls?

Jtaylor1986

Trolls don't post ridiculously long comments and reply to themselves with an equally ridiculously long post. You are just rehashing the same points every time as well on multiple websites. You are just shamelessly self promoting at this point as everyone knows what you have to say on this issue already.

Brianflys

He is not a troll. Just a poor craftsman who only owns a hammer so sees everything as a nail.

1magine

Yeah !!! I HATE THOSE TROLLS that keep saying RIM is failing - They repeatedly point out useless facts like in Aug. 2009 RIMM was at $77 in Aug 2010 $53, last August $28 and today under $7. RIM's not failing! These people should stop trolling. Excluding their performance and past history, there's absolutely no evidence RIMM stock could fall to junk status.

Marc_Paradise

I would argue when you copy-paste the same comment (and variations of it) into every tangentially related article, it's no better than trolling.

rcm1301

Maybe not a bad idea. "Knowledge is Power". Even if someone may disagree with some of his comments, other ideas and thoughts are always refreshing and makes you think (except for narrowminded 'fans' living in their secluded world who hates to go outside their comfort zone) :)

igor10000

Or maybe ban him because of spam.

Bluenoser63

How many tech companies have you been a CEO at? Probably none I am guessing. Come back when you have experience and maybe I will listen to you.

BTW: I wouldn't listen to anyone who deals with derivatives, it's financial snake oil and one of the reasons why the markets crashed.

SurrealCivic

I wouldn't talk about things I don't know anything about. Sounds like you are doing exactly that.

Bluenoser63

So.. What tech company where you the CEO of? How about CEO of any company? What about management of any company? Didn't think so. I guess you just like to hear yourself talk.. And you are begging people to listen to you talk. How pathetic..

_BB10_

Bluenoser, I can assure you that you know nothing about derivatives nor anything about the 2008 financial crisis causes and lingering effects.

Bluenoser63

People can say anything. If you want to say that derivatives had nothing to with the 2008 financial crisis, you can. Doesn't make you right.

kupfernigk

On a technicality, he is right. It wasn't derivatives per se: farmers use derivatives (futures), and they can be essential to successful farming. In the case of Enron, and in 2008, it was the use of financial instruments to assign inflated values and unrealistic risk assessments to unverifiable assets. Pretending that collateralised debt isn't a derivative was part of the problem, though.

Jtaylor1986

You are just another talking head unfortunately. Every one is entitled to their opinion and lots of very smart and respected people disagree but you are just bashing the CrackBerry community over the head with your viewpoint incessantly. If not for self promotion that I don't know for what end.

xiaohuaxing

Pure curiosity, what is your familiarity level with derivatives?

BruvvaPete

Huaxing. U still mad at me?

owadkelly

This comment.... you recycled it. Still makes sense though

Joe257

I can't speak about this from a business perspective, but I can from an engineering angle. Perhaps you can look at a device as just a set of individual components, but that would be far from reality. Everything does blend (and needs to) into one congealed product, fully integrated. There is no way to measure what that looks like, but software and hardware must mesh well.

Android is having a lot of stability issues because of this. Most Samsung products will work fairly well, because they're the biggest player and folks will test mostly on that platform, but the rest will suffer.

Apple figured this out years ago, but Microsoft didn't. As a result, WinCE, WinMobile, and now WinPhone are suffering from that same curse. Even hardware manufacturers relying on such a model will start to suffer and fail, even in the Android world, as we've seen with Motorola (rescued early by Google) and now HTC.

There are many perspectives that one must consider when making decisions. It can never come from one angle as your views will be skewed to only one perspective.

BTW, RIM engineers the best darn hardware in the business, with or without keyboard! RIM will soon no longer manufacture some of their devices but they need to continue to design them to work best with their software -- hand in hand. I'd hate for them to lose that leading expertise. Apple has proven that this can and does work, and even Google has realized the same; otherwise, they wouldn't have purchased Motorola. Patents were one on the reasons for the takeover, but design & manufacturing expertise was the other.

ferre_kun

thanks for sharing your thoughts from engineering angle. to me this should nullify the idea of licensing, separating or leaving the hardware. RIM should keep the integration of software and hardware.

"Apple has proven that this can and does work, and even Google has realized the same; otherwise, they wouldn't have purchased Motorola. Patents were one on the reasons for the takeover, but design & manufacturing expertise was the other."

well said, joe257.

br14

RIM have to remain an integrated solution provider. Even if, as Thorsten Heins said in the Telegraph interview, they produce only a reference device.

Bear in mind that RIM doesn't manufacture that much hardware in the first place. They use contract manufacturers for volume manufacture.

There has to be a clear BlackBerry brand and that's not feasible without an integrated solution.

As a software and services vendor RIM wouldn't survive except as a significantly smaller company in a niche segment. Not great for shareholders.

ILUMINATIUNDEAD

They wouldn't even make 20

bobaloo

If the emerging markets are okay with older hardware, why not use year-old hardware at deep discounts there and use the new stuff for the mid- to high-end markets?

You can even rebrand the year-old stuff to make it sound new but with dumbed down internals. And remember, the premium device today contains the dumbed down internals of tomorrow.

visceralberry

+1 and so true! This is the way forward, along with a partnership with an external manufacturing contractor (for scale & design support), as well as licensing BB10 to get it into the following:

* Smart Tvs;
* The Automotive Market (cars, bikes, cargo trucks, etc);
* Maritime (yachts, cruise liners, ferries);
* Smart Home Appliances (fridges, microwaves, etc that 'mesh' together and can effectively communicate between themselves and other BB10 platform devices. Especially, your BB10 phone);
* AND, Computers (specialty desktops, consumer Playbook tablets, and 'SmartScreens')

3Dee

With all respect, I think you're jumping to conclusions here - it seemed to me that the quote was more about the economic reality of production at all levels, and that even other high end handsets are to some extent outsourced (eg iPhone).

Shlooky

I agree, if RIM wants to compete against the two or three giants, they need to ensure they produce enough devices and a variety of handsets to meet every ones needs. RIM alone cannot do this. Licence to Samsung for example and you have a world of infinite possibilities.

kupfernigk

More likely Huawei. My guess is that RIM plans to do a Google, with direct input into the "Nexus" range equivalent and letting companies a lot of people haven't heard of use BB 10, but with some kind of legal agreement on engineering standards. (Such as, every phone sold advertised as BB 10 must pass certain drop, splash and usage tests). I suspect that because Google wasn't in the hardware business they didn't think to do this with Android.
"BB 10 certified" would give credibility to new entrants in the business, which would be worth more than "Pay $X to Microsoft not to be sued".

Chris Umiastowski

@3Dee, you obviously missed the part where I said I spoke to RIM for clarification on this.

 

Yeah, that's jumping to conclusions alright :) 

3Dee

Thanks for pointing that out Chris, I did rather skim over that. I guess it's two sides of the same coin, but thanks for poitning out CB still provides the best factual BB reporting around :)

br14

Sounds like they're not going to be able to make cheaper phones that use BB10 software. The specs for the hardware etc are too high.

RIM needs to upgrade its BB7 hardware, improve the memory addressability of its JVM and develop BB7 for emerging markets. Providing they may the UI look similar to BB10 no one would know the difference.

M--Canuck

Thanks for the post Chris and for the clarification

RIM is the best and I am a crackberry addict.

Jtaylor1986

Why is Thorsten putting out comments like this still that are just going to grab negative attention?

franky62

Doesn't matter What he says, the media could put a negative spin on any comment.

SurrealCivic

Negative or Positive is relative. What you might think is Negative, other think is Positive.

scalemaster34

Maybe RIM is just going to stop making the hardware themselves, and have a manufacture build devices to their specification (like everyone else does). That is what they did with the PlayBook...

The days of being able to own and operate a manufacturing facility that only builds your devices, is becoming a thing of the past for tech companies.

gingoog66

RIM is not the last company maybe close or change strategy.....if you miss two or three product going well on the market like storn, torch or pearl and playbook then this cost a comany a lot of money and kills them sometimes.. Can happen inthr future to apple too...more to apple then to samsung....RIM still have a chance because they have software and BBM and and that apple dont have for exemple...for me blackberry have to put windows mobile 8 on the new devices ....we all waitting of new devices ...but until they are comming out maybe many many customers forget blackberry...maybe...sorr for my bad english ..my setup....curve 8900, torch 9810, 7290, bold 9900, playbook 16gb....god bless thenemployers of rim...they are rim ...all the best from switzerland volks

flyersfan76

I just do not see the reason to produce so many handsets. Currently BB is at 4 in North America and Apple is at 1. Phones running on Android seem to be in the hundreds. The Androids seem to all be the same. To me that brings noting of value to the table.

NateFulton2010

I know Apple and BlackBerry already have fragmentation, but not on the scale like Google has with Android. I hope that if they do decide to pick a hardware vendor that it doesn't reach the levels of fragmentation that Google sees with having 100000x different hardware variances...

GTiLeo

I still believe RIM should develope a light version of the QNX OS for curves and already dated OS5 6 and 7 might be a little touth but QNX has always been a pretty light kernel design and even before multicore processors were around QNX was still able to run smoothly and efficiently another way is to recode the java based os and lay it out with similar features to BB10 but on a budget.

The 9900is a great phone and i dont think it could ever be placed as low cost but when you think about chipset it is dated and may be a cheaper solution

Jtaylor1986

Maybe at one point this would have been a good idea but they just don't have the time, or money to accomplish this anymore and it is questionable whether this would help or hurt them anyways. BB10 really needs to be a clean break in the consumer mindshare to be able to redeem their brand image in many parts of the world where it is in the toilet and putting it on old and slow hardware like 8500/9300 would just cheapen what is supposed to be a premium experience.

SurrealCivic

As much as I think this is a great idea, and QNX can definitely run on low-end hardware, it will not be able to run their UI (User Interface) and their UX (User Experience).

Think of QNX as the engine, this engine is what is driving the thing that they have been very hard at work on; the UI and the UX.

RIM has had QNX for over two years, and they put it to use right away over a 'simple' and established user interface based on Adobe. But this is no where near what RIM is going to deliver.

RIM isn't innovating the software, nor the hardware, nor the services, they are bringing to market a new user interface based on Cascades and a User Experience never seen before; based on "Flow, Connect, and Extend".

This will be a revolutionary software platform, that will be able to be used in many applications like Smartphones, Automobiles, Planes, Robotics, Appliances, POS, Security Systems, etc. And with the power of QNX, these applications will be able to efficiently communicate together.

br14

BB7 would be fine with an upgraded processor and a re-engineered JVM. The 9900 is a terrific device and with lower quality hardware should be cheap enough to sell as a cheaper Curve.

crackcookie

This article put a spin on his words, he didn't mention, at least not from that quote he would put out 60 handsets a year, he just said he can't compete against those who do, which is logical.

RedPortiaOne

"We don't have the economy of scale to compete against the guys who crank out 60 handsets a year. We have to differentiate and have a focused platform. To deliver BB10 we may need to look at licensing it to someone who can do this at a way better cost proposition than I can do it. There's different options we could do that we're currently investigating."

Sounds to me as though RIM is going to have to license BB10 out because they simply don't have the resources to complete its development and get it out to Blackberry/Playbook users. And people are wondering why there's only one Playbook and no Playbook 4g or 10 inch? This is your answer.

I love my playbook but for a CEO to make an admission of this scope is a professional cry for help. I hate to admit it, but this may be the beginning of the end for RIM if some mega corporation like Microsoft or Google doesn't bail them out.

The sad truth about this is RIM did it to themselves.

RIM is mismanaged by this CEO and I'll tell you exactly where they went wrong. On April 20, 2011 they should have released QNX 2.0 with the Playbook instead of waiting till February 2012. Do you all remember all the hype on the Playbook when it first came out and how it quickly died? Not having QNX 2.0 at the introduction caused that. IE MISMANAGEMENT from an inept CEO.

That was a FATAL mistake and is where they went wrong. The Playbook is a fast machine but without the right software it became a sitting duck for all the Androids and iPads out there.

Now RIM is making us wait for BB10 till early 2013? RIM needs to have BB10 out NOW, not in early 2013. The only thing thats gonna save this once great company is bb10, and till it's released they will be bleeding sales away. Hope RIM can come back from their idiotic mistakes.

If RIM dies and no one bails them out I am just thankful that I only invested $199 on my Playbook. If they do die then RIM can go F*** themselves and I'm going with a winning product iPad

I hope I'm wrong but at this time next year (unless BB10 comes out as a free upgrade) all our Blacberry's and Playbooks may be worthless bricks :-(
__________________________
Playbook, the one and only

br14

He wasn't talking about software. He's talking about volume device manufacture. Pile 'em high and sell 'em cheap.

BB10 will run on Playbooks. That much is confirmed from the developer relations guys.

RIM's mistake was in pre-announcing anything. They should have focused on BB10 quietly in the background and continued the incremental improvements to BB7 (perhaps with a BB8 by now). That way they wouldn't have had millions of customers hanging on waiting for BB10.

BruvvaPete

I stopped reading when u say "people are wondering why there's no PB 4G or 10 inch". I think you missed the news in the past couple weeks.

PG923

I agree. I love my BlackBerry phone and PlayBook, but I can't honestly say that they've proven themselves to be the BEST anymore.

When they started out they were ahead of everyone else, today I can't honestly say they are the BEST. I love my PlayBook, but the small performance issues and crashing and rebooting and other small glitches (even after the last update) proves to me that they aren't on top of the game anymore.

I'm known in my sphere as the BlackBerry spokesman! I'm behind RIM and believe in them, but they've GOT TO DO A LOT BETTER!!!

I went them because they were the best...I/we the Crackberry Nation need for them to PROVE IT!

Zirak

Research in Motion... they just lost the Motion part.
I don't entirely blame the 2 CEO's either. It's too easy to pontificate from the bleacher's. I know from my experience, start a business, exit a business (successfully) enter another business, get older, lose focus, went through all the distractions, bought all the toys, let it flounder... sometimes it is easy in life to actually put work aside and live life.
RIM has regained the motion part back, whether it is going in the same direction or not is relevant to some on here who do not like change, irrelevant to others as long as the motion continues.
Why is it not enough to invent a market, then move on and invent/expand another market leaving the old market to the bottom feeders?

RedPortiaOne

It is the direct fault of the 2 CEO's. Don't get me wrong, I love my Playbook and want them to come back from this, but can you honestly say it's not the fault 100% of these 2 inept CEO's?

Do you think for one second you'd see Microsoft or Apple in this rediculous pre-bankrupsy situation, with either Gates or Jobs publicly admitting they have to licence out development of BB10?

To put it bluntly Gates and Jobs (may he RIP) can wipe their asses with $100 bills. And RIM's position because of blatant mismanagment are having their faces wiped by Microsofts and Apples asses.

Gates and Jobs are creative geniuses and RIM's 2 CEO's are morons who are directly responsible for RIMS possible demise.
__________________________
Playbook, the one and only

BruvvaPete

I agree with most of what you said except that the two CEOs were at one point geniuses. They just dropped the ball and lost focus in a massive way.

ajst222

RIM, stay an integrated supplier. Don't be like Android. That is the reason Android is so buggy. It would work much better if RIM made both the hardware and the software. I probably wouldn't buy BB10 on an HTC/Motorola/Nokia whatever...ok I still would over Android or iOS.

Ronstermadness

Three year iphone user. Lost a bet . Had to use blackberry for three weeks I'm on week two. Now that I know how to use it. I LOVE IT NOT GOING BACK BLACKBERRY FOR LIFE!

axllebeer

* BlackBerry by choice *
Well not at 1st but looks like you are now. :)

ffejrobins30

The big issue with the licensing of BB10 to different manufacturers is fragmentation. The biggest issue will be screen size/resolution. How many Android devices are there? How many different screens? How many versions of hardware and software?

Since RIM is really trying to get developers back on board after the huge device fragmentation of OS4 through OS7, they need to make sure that they make as few devices as possible to ensure that applications are compatible. This is one of the reasons I skipped out on developing for the previous generation of java based OS's and am now focusing on BB10.

Even this is a challenge right now because the "preferred" environment on OS1 and 2 on Playbook was Air due to simplicity of creating a user interface, unless you are doing games. Now they are focusing on BB10 and Cascades, but since I was not able to attend the Dev Conferences, I can't run my app on an actual device.It's a little frustrating. Anyway, I'm getting off-topic.

In the future, it may be a very good way for RIM to adapt, but right this second, I don't see it as a real winning idea. Control the hardware and software until it's better established, then take over the world!

RedPortiaOne

I'd like to add Blackberry is not making new devices for another huge reason as well. They simply at this time don't have the resources to finance development of a Playbook 4g and 10 inch, as people are screaming for.

I love my Playbook and hope RIM can find their way back from this horrible mis management which is causing 3000 jobs in less than 2 weeks.

However if BB10 does not come out soon, either through a developer partnership, or a mega corporation buying RIM, the future is gonna be rocky for them.
__________________________
Playbook, the one and only

len5

For him to consider this means RIM is in bad trouble.

Something like this would only create a mess like Android phones and what version of software can and cannot run on a given android device.

RedPortiaOne

As I said in an earlier post this admission is a professional cry for help. Some mega corporation like Microsoft needs to step in and either buy RIM outright, or buy up controling RIM shares.

Everyone (including myself) is whinning there is no official Skype app. Can you honestly blame Skype for not wanting to develop an app for a corporation who may be history soon?
__________________________
Playbook, the one and only

Rootbrian

Stop with the repetitive shit. Skype has its own decisions since m$ bought it, they're Microsoft's bitch now.

carraser891

the fucking guy cant even make 3 phones a year and he's talking about 60. Shut up, stop the talking, stop the long, drawn out "Blackberry 10 Jam" stalling party and release the devices already. Good Lord how is this company still competing.....

RedPortiaOne

They're not. They're dying. Unless some mega corp steps in and buys RIM, all our Blackberry devices will soon become worthless bricks.
__________________________
Playbook, the one and only

Rootbrian

1. They aren't dying.
2. BlackBerry smartphones still work.
3. RIM cannot go bankrupt because they HAVE NO DEBT.

HabsSuck

What are you smoking? Do us all a favour and blow off.

RedPortiaOne

Its called reality buddy. You should try it sometime

__________________________
Playbook, the one and only

biohazard79

yeah... just like the reality that Apple, compared to RIM, was in the beginning of this millenium in a worse state then RIM now, they had debts, were loosing money etc....
But then suddenly, came the Ipod and Iphone, and things got better...
The difference with RIM is: RIM still has cash, and they only lost the last Q money...
Apple had 3 years in a row losses...

birdman_36

The Apple products you mentioned had revolutionary hardware and software (for it't time). If RIM can't deliver killer hardware with this new software it's game over.

Clinto

You make a solid blunt point carraser891. You are totally correct and it made me laugh! I love my Bold 9930, but I will admit it is highly frustrating waiting around for BB10...

RedPortiaOne

Some recent scary truth about RIM.

RIM is in trouble and is seemingly finally listening to reason. Speaking to The Telegraph, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins talked about how RIM could go about licensing its next-gen BlackBerry platform. But that’s assuming manufacturers like Samsung or Sony would actually want to build a BlackBerry 10 device.

Heins’ comments show once again that RIM is exploring all the options for the ailing company. After years of failing to innovate and relying on aging platforms, the company lost its once-dominant grip on the smartphone market. Heins previously briefly talked about licensing options but never with these sorts of specifics. But now, after two killer (read: horrible) financial quarters, the Canadian company is likely open to all options.

“We don’t have the economy of scale to compete against the guys who crank out 60 handsets a year. We have to differentiate and have a focused platform. To deliver BB10 we may need to look at licensing it to someone who can do this at a way better cost proposition than I can do it. There’s different options we could do that we’re currently investigating.”

“You could think about us building a reference system, and then basically licensing that reference design, have others build the hardware around it – either it’s a BlackBerry or it’s something else being built on the BlackBerry platform.”

All things considered, RIM could do worse to than license out its new OS. The platform still has some teeth in a market dominated by iOS and Android — there isn’t a better emailing/messaging device than a BlackBerry, and broadening that experience with fresh hardware couldn’t hurt. RIM has also led the industry with integration in enterprise systems, but competitors are closing in.

However, since RIM delayed BB10 until 2013, and given its track record and dire financial status, it’s not unreasonable to expect the system to be delayed again. With that thought, it’s hard to see any phone maker throwing major resources into making a killer BB10 device. Once again, RIM might be just too late to the game.

Tags: RIM, blackberry
__________________________
Playbook, the one and only

Rootbrian

More negativity I see. You won't make it here as a blogger. Just stop while you still have a chance. Or did you name another account after getting cleaned off here?

willie44

Chris,

It would be really interesting if someone would do a story on why a company would choose a BB10 license over Android .

RedPortiaOne

LOL interesting fantasy but no one would
__________________________
Playbook, the one and only

br14

BB10 is more reliable (OS wise) and will have better performance. It should also be easier for manufacturers to differentiate because of the QNX micro-kernel.

And they get security for free which means the lucrative enterprise market will become available.

the_sleuth

Yes, RIM would be smart to follow Apple's model: innovate and/or improve design and let Asia OEM manufacture. I still think Android represents the commoditization of smartphones. Even Apple's profits will be eaten away. If electronics manufacturers can survive with 10 to 15% margins, then this will be the not to distant future of smartphone makers.

RedPortiaOne

Right now its a 2 horse race in the smart phone/tablet marketplace between Android and Apple. Everyone else including RIM will remain in the dust
__________________________
Playbook, the one and only

cgk

It's a two horse race between Samsung and Apple, the rest of the android crowd are also-rans like RIM.

playbookster

Yes RIM should just make the highend phones and let another OEM make the low end bb10 phones.

Shadberry Bold

RIM should remain fully integrated both hardware and software should compliment each other. One mind body and soul. Less we forget, they make the best antennas and batteries on the planet!!!!!!

Pard

Reality check. RIMM has gone from 140 to 7, got that. Whatever they were doing isn't working. They got one shot to get it right and that is. BB10. Nobody believes a word they say, except the dwindling BB by choice crowd. They need to deliver cutting edge technology and products. I agree they do not have the scale to compete on the hardware and nobody in the US gives a damn about BlackBerry. They have lost mindshare, and destroyed shareholder value. If I were looking to partner AMZN would be my first choice, they have an ecosystem and why in the world would they want to depend on Android and compete directly against GOOG branded products when they could get in on the ground floor of a brand new platform. AMZN and RIMM could sell some units.

Shadberry Bold

In the early 90s, Microsoft controlled most of the marketshare for its windows platform compared to Apple's 5% stake for nearly a decade. RIM's plight started near the end of 2008. Within 4 years they have revamped their platform from the ground up and are attempting to turn the corner in half the time it took Apple to recreate itself. The strategy that RIM has in place extends beyond just consumer wants...it's foundation is rooted in developer relations and resources. Developers are being given the tools to provide more content that's refined and polished SEEMLESSLY. The majority of smartphone users that have been using pda devices over the last 10 years, have at some point owned or had a relationship with a BlackBerry device. RIM's demographic of smartphone users are still out there but are utilizing different platforms as their needs and wants have evolved. It RIM's job to reestablish and bridge the gap to that former demographic along with new users. BB10 will reconnect that relationship and remind consumers why the smart phone market would not exist if it were not for RIM. It easy to throw in the towel but where there is no struggle there is no strength. Samsung HTC LG Motorola Pantech and Sony house the android platform...Samsung HTC LG NOKIA also run windows platform. Can you say conflict of interest?! Apple is identifiable as a STAPPLE because it's brand is not convoluted with other manufacturers and if RIM wants to compete they should follow that blueprint by Apple as such. Offering 1 os with different form factors/models. If I'm looking for a BlackBerry to purchase it needs to be readily identifiable as such without any hesitation with regards to design internal/external or performance inconsistencies across different manufacturers.

marko868

If he does that will be the final nail in the coffin! What was the point of making 6 curves in two years?

mavsguy842

If I had my choice I'd like to see a licensing agreement with Nokia. I really like their hardware, and it would bring a lot of harmony and stability to RIM's intellectual property situation. Nokia "doesn't have a plan B" after Windows Phone - so why not BB10? Two fallen giants lifting each other up sounds like a good story to me.

birdman_36

I'm pretty sure Nokia's agreement with Microsoft on WP phones is an exclusive one. If not, they would have released a couple new Android devices by now.

phathead50

Is it just me, or are the articles around here becoming more and more poorly written, occasionally bordering on incoherent?

Darlaten

I'm undecided about the whole licening thing but putting that aside, there is no way in heck that RIM needs to make 60 products; let alone 30 or 20 or 10 or 5. I would argue that the myriad of devices, i.e., a 9001, 9002, 9003, 9003a, 9003b, 9004, and so forth (I made up those numbers to illustrate the point) is part of RIM's problem - no consistency amongst devices; far too many different specs, abilities, and screen sizes, etc.

RIM needs to make, at most, 2 devices - an all touch phone and the keyboard one for BB10. That's it, no more. Keep it nice and simple with the focus on producing the highest quality phone that is affordable to the general public.

Yasch22

Aye, there's the rub, Horatio. Who is the general public? Americans? South Americans? Indians having trouble keeping the lights on let alone thinking about establishing an uber-expensive 4G network? Indonesians falling in love with their 9320 & 9330 Curves? Almost everyone I know who has a BB (all of them part of the general public) is quite happy with their particular model, whether it's a Torch slider or basic Curve or touchscreen Bold. Which segment of the market gets canned?

Aidan242

I don't see how RIM could manage to maintain BB10's security when another manufacturer designs and builds the hardware. Basically, the start of BB10's security is with the hardware, before you've even switched it on.

Other manufacturers have demonstrated their inability to deal with security time and time again. Each device that is rooted is a device where security has utterly failed. Sounds harsh, but that's just the reality.

SDTRMG

Best comment I read all day, and if no one else can see this, they really need a wake up call

Calim2

Firstly, I think all of us prefer a blackberry-branded blackberry (One full touchscreen and one QWERTY will do!), but not some samsung or htc-branded smartphones running BB10. So it's important that RIM acknowledges the fact that their loyal customers around the world want to buy a blackberry designed by RIM (of course, the manufacturing can be outsourced to a manufacturing company, just like what Apple does).

I'm not against the idea of licensing BB10 to other smartphone vendors, however, several conditions need to be agreed by RIM and other smartphone vendors.

1) Software update: Software update needs to be released OTA directly by RIM (again, just like what Apple does), but not by smartphone vendors. The purpose is to avoid fragmentation, we don't want Android's fragmentation happen to BB10.

2) OS modification: No OS modification should be allowed on BB10, again this is to avoid fragmentation as smartphone vendors need to ensure their UIs work on BB10, hence causing the delay of software update. (Maybe someone can enlighten me on this part, I'm not fully sure about it. But the bottom line is, ALL devices running on BB10 MUST be able to upgrade to the latest software version AT THE SAME TIME)

I don't know whether smartphone vendors will agree on these two conditions or not because they will have no control on the OS at all. For me, all I want is a nice looking BlackBerry designed by RIM running on a modern OS.

We don't have to speak for the product, the product will speak for itself. Customers will again choose blackberry if they find it cool and have all the popular apps developed for BB10.

What do you guys think?

m2k_mz

I know software is really important and that RIM is struggling right now, but seriously i dont
see myself buying BB10 software on a Samsung, Apple, Nokia or whatever other brand.
For me my mobile MUST be BB all the way, hardware,software and branded BB.

TheYalier

It doesn't mean he wants to have 60 new BB handsets, he just means that BlackBerry is not in a place where they can launch 60 smartphones even if they wanted to. Like Android, I imagine.

nickthebold

If blackberry outsource to other hardware manufactures then they are dead...I want to use qnx/bb10 knowing that it is exclusive to rims hardware..don't want some newbies flaunting a Samsung device running bb10..that's like having Apples iOS on Samsung hardware...just my opinion aha

birdman_36

If other manufacturers pick it up, it will NOT be named BlackBerry 10!

lorax1284

I dunno, but Apple tightly controls their hardware-software ecosystem, and both the hardware and software are well regarded and popular ergo Apple is successful.

I believe RIM hardware is best-of-breed for a device running a keyboard-centric Java-based OS, and that their hardware will be EXCELLENT when it's running an all-touch Posix-based OS (as iOS and Android are to greater / lesser extent).

I am firmly in the "there's lots of business to go around, folks!" and "one man's meat is another man's lameoid meat for fanbois" (meaning that we all have different tastes).

I will be very happy with a BB10 Portrait Slider with a very high resolution screen and a fast processor, I am not happy with iOS or Android phones, having tried them. If there are enough people like me, RIM can do great business. It doesn't have to be everyone in the world, all or nothing... an OS ecosystem can survive quite well with MERELY 100 million customers. So all this talk of drastic measures and change evokes a picture of some kind of demon standing on a rock, with the nameless vermin and lesser-demons groveling in a smelly pit ripping each other apart, and the head demon throwing decaying organ meat to them which they fight over.

The vermin and lesser-demons are the shareholders looking for short-term value, and the pundits / analyst media, respectively. I don't care at all what they want or think. They can go straight to where vermin and lesser-demons should go. A sewer in hell.

badiyee

I don't see much of a problem with BlackBerry licensing out their OS to other handset makers.

This, coming from me, from a non US-centric approach.

Now, i'm not a citizen nor am I residing in any of the N-A (northern america hemisphere) nations. In fact I am in SEA.

Here, I would say that its an 'emerging' market. In where I live (Malaysia, and just in case you don't know where it is, its south of Thailand, North of Singapore, sandwiched in between of Indonesia, and has Brunei within our lands) we haven't started going to high end tech devices like what you guys enjoy in the US (but LTE is coming in 2013, and that's considering our nation's as puny as Florida, I suppose its quite possible for a more than 80% coverage as our local carriers have claimed to pledge).

So enough of some groundbuiding.

The way I read Thorsten's view on the possibility of making a "reference design" and then pass them on to other vendors to do it, is quite frankly a bold move, but to which I believe would be very good. All RIM needs to do is just tell these hardware manufacturers to "STICK TO THE SCREEN SIZE", so as to avoid the convulated mess that Android has got itself into.

I am not going to oversimplify the details, but here's what I know that made sense to me about RIM's behaviour in the past to "qualify" for Thorsten's current 'consideration' to even have OEM manufacturers, and I certainly don't think this is a 'professional call for help', as somebody in this thread repetitively (quite sickening, I must insist) insisted.

I cannot speak for the entire SEA (south east asia) scenario, but we do have tiered plans that mirrors the small player's in the USA when it comes to prepaid, and what's even more surprising (I believe to the US-centric audience) is that BIS over here gets chopped up, repackaged and sold, and we readily take our pick. Literally, like a buffet of sorts.

I am talking about say, BIS with only EMAILS, BIS with Mails, and BBM, BIS with MAILs, BBM, Social Media (youtube and streaming excluded), BIS + data (non streaming), BIS + data + streaming (capped bandwidth), BIS + data + streaming (uncapped bandwidth unlimited) and the list goes on.

The standard ones comes from DAILY BIS with 100mb per day, or all the way up to 1GB, 3GB, 5GB montly packages with (mostly postpaid services) data cap, and some given unlimited broadband + bandwith cap throttle.

So you see the picture? Its just not only Malaysia, but there are plenty of other carriers using this model, because they are from the same alliance of carriers (from so many other nations) or they have the same parent company that dictates a similar policy in pricing.

Then, when it comes to technology front, not everything is on "Last Mile" available. Newer tech such as NFC, LTE has not yet gained track, or even if they do, they'll be another few years.

So without further ado, many Malaysians (or mobile tech consumers) tend to commit to an age-old mistake, that is to buy a phone because the phone is technologically superior instead of buying a phone because "you like what it can do now, not later."

This is very true in the case of iPhones, Android, etc. For example, Siri is practically unusable here. It doesn't relay much of the correct data. iTunes only came in Malaysia like a month ago, when in the past everyone wanting to jump into the "i-am-also-an-ifag" bandwagon bought gift cards just to be able to be in the 'hey-look-at-me-i-am-an-izombiefag" crowd.

Android for all its open-ness, is a cesspool of piracy. You'll be surprised how shops openly advertise "we have gameloft unlocked games here!"

So bear with me and let's continue. How does this present RIM with the opportunity? The opportunity didn't came along and RIM snagged it up. Its just that RIM sort of came along with the RIGHT HANDPHONE for the right market at the right time.

There is a running joke between BlackBerry users and Android users, and it goes like this:
"What is a difference between BlackBerry users and Android users?"
"Well, the answer is BlackBerry users have credit cards they'll buy on apps, and Android users, despite MAYBE having credit cards, PIRATE the apps!"

RIM has very good rapport with carriers and here they leveraged it well with their BIS offering. Should I even point out, BES for individual customers are available here. I pay BIS monthly on postpaid for RM10 (that's probably less than USD3 per month), and for BES i pay RM20 (USD6?) that's on my carrier, which I get the option of hopping to my own private BES, or continue to run on my carrier's BES offering.

But there's just this one REALLY BIG PROBLEM, with this.

That is RIM does NOT have a 'low-end' device that's plainly competitive.

9790 and 9360 are making massively great inroads, due to the fact that OS7.1 is really good (this is what OS6 should have been like, and we would still be grateful either way) and depending on how we select our packages to suit us, the end result is completely awesome.

Mind you, here there are still level headed people who don't really give too much a rat's arse about "iphone styled smooth transition" or "android's quad core madness", because as long as it works, it'll work.

But what many in the SEA has been echoing, the sentiments about being treated marginally as an alien-fanbase, its what that RIM doesn't get, (get it right, please) and haven't got it correctly.

Low end Android (we're basically talking about Android OS 2.2/2.3/2.3.x/ variation devices here still sell for a pop of RM400 but just has the OS, but none of the features. You can't get google play to work properly. You can't get most apps to work properly due to processor constraints, screen size adjustments, etc.

But RIM on a budget-superphone can do it.

Because QNX is designed to even run on low-end systems, and we don't need the fancy hardware yet (the infrastructure is not supported here, darn that!)

So like I said, remove all the unnecessary hardware chipset (LTE, NFC, etc), focus on communications and the emails and the web experience, and voila.

the 9000-9800 series of BlackBerry smartphones literally had the same chip, except they were either underclocked or overclocked for battery performances.

I don't see why RIM can't pull this one off with a reference design, and have very strict guidance with the OEMs.

Google is already pulling an Apple with Motorola. Is there any other reason why Samsung is developing Win8 phones or trying to conquer the low-end market with their "Tizan" OS? Smokes are there!

ferre_kun

i agree on most of your points, that's what happens at my place too. however you forgot to mention that RIM is now trying to make up their lack of low budget smartphones by making 9320 and 9220. though the price is still more than $100, those are still the cheapest they ever made and are categorized as entry level/low budget smartphones.

and though i don't want RIM to license the OS or separate the software and hardware (because there's no guarantee licensed parties will make the exact blackberry like RIM made or the same quality like BB10 will be), i can accept only RIM license the manufacture/outsourced (or whatever the term) the budget/entry level smartphones and split the revenue, but keep it under blackberry name.

igor10000

Someone should ban the Surreal Civic for spam

gymwarner

After getting to the bottom of this page, I have forgotten what it was about.

So here are my 2 pence...umm, chris writes good articles, kevin's hair is funny, bla1se spells his name odd, the same trolls say the same stuff and I need to remember the topic before writing a reply.

Also, the Olympics rock!

BlackBerry by choice.

Mike.

SDTRMG

Rim knows if they license there software out to company's like Samsung, that alone will add to the death of blackberry, I'm a die hard blackberry user and already have my money set aside for this bb10 device, witch I would not buy if it cam from say Nokia, or htc etc. rim was in aples position for years making, testing blackberrys and having a manufacturing comapny(like apples Foxconn) make there devices, this is one of the only ways they will make it in todays phone industry.

You sell off to Samsung or any company they will lose a large profit threw out the years adding to there death.

I await bb10, tested and released under the blackberry name, rim still makes a decent amount of money each month from subscribes to licensing the QNX software for smart tv, fridge, car etc use.

Blackberry by choice !