Thorsten Heins talks about the future of BlackBerry

Thorsten Heins
By Adam Zeis on 9 Jul 2012 12:22 pm EDT
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We're been hearing quite a bit from RIM CEO Thorsten Heins in the last week or so and it's good to see him reaching out to the media and setting some things straight. He's been making the rounds the last few days, all on the heels of the announcement that BlackBerry 10 is delayed and won't launch until early 2013.

Our good friend Al Sacco got a chance to talk one-on-one to the man in charge last week. Al is no slouch when it comes to BlackBerry and he certainly knows the right questions to get the right answers. There is some interesting stuff in the interview -- including the fact that much like many of us, Thorsten also uses a 2nd device to keep up with the competition. He also addresses his editorial in The Globe and Mail as well as what's in store for RIM and the future of BlackBerry.

It's a great read that really gives some awesome insight, so grab a snack, sit back and check out the full interview over at CIO.com 

Reader comments

Thorsten Heins talks about the future of BlackBerry

92 Comments

Eventually they will wake up.
It is all marketing.
Lets pretend that there was another planet just like ours where Apple never came out with an iPhone. The folks that ran Apple on our the other planet heard about our planet and came here and stole the BBY 7 and came out with a 9900/9930 on their planet. Bet you an os 10 device that five years later Apple would own the hand held device market on that planet too.
They know how to market and BBY does not. Period. Full Stop!
Cellcom Employee

Why don't you put crapple logo on any over priced crap/toy and worship it day and night? Crapple products are in hype mode and anything they make gets even more hype. But every fad has its end and so will crapple toys, their products simply do not have any competitive advanatage over other products, yet they are overpriced and sheeps like yourself will keep buying them.

One thing I noticed in the article was that he actually stated a month for the release.

"In January with the full touch device and the QWERTY coming, I think we will reinstall faith in RIM. That's what we're working on. This is what our objective is, and when I've talked to carriers about the delay of BlackBerry 10, the overwhelming feedback was, "First, thank you for letting us know in advance. Second, Q4 is mostly a prepaid quarter anyway, lot of noise coming, actually why don't we focus on a Q1 [2013] launch and make this a major launch in Q1?" I think we have a lot of support there."

Hence my "Yay RIM!" comment lol

It sounds like both full touch and qwerty will be launched in January if you read a little bit before this in the article. I'm super excited!

he did comment earlier that it was only delayed by two months so he obvi knows the time lines that are set. Jan for the the full touch maybe 2 week gap to the the keyboard. one can only hope

I noticed that too, the moment I read it.
Also note that he said,

"I think you will be writing that if BlackBerry gets its execution right and straight than the company has a great future. "

which means he get that the execution needs to be perfect.
Great stuff IMO.

Now lets see how the crazy bloggers/journalists spin this off again in some negative light.

There is two different kinde of users, the forever rim user and the looser user...the looser user goes where all goes...the rim user are faithfull users and know what they whant....number one qwerty keyboard .... Yes the best that many smartphone brand try to copy every day ....but blackberry still have the best, sorry.
The looser customer are this, if they go out from they houses and the meet people they need to show them look at me im a member now of Apple or android....we all rim users are proud to show our devices and they all look at us when we tip so fast....sorry for my english ... Go rim...and you know what, all speak about rim that the end is comming...but they speak and this is a great thing...if they speak is allways a good signe..:-)

I wonder if we are just reading that wrong though. It seems a little bit too subtle for a release date announcement.

Quote:
Q: You're not worried about missing the 2012 holiday season?
A: I'm not happy about this, but the point is, there's a lot of noise out there anyway. You have to ask yourself, is it good to launch within a lot of noise? How do you get above the noise then? Or do you launch outside of this noise and get much more attention?
So there is actually a lot to this delay than the OS not yet smooth.

Well, done, cleaned up a few loose ends from last week. He noted that the BB 10 is expected in January followed closely by the QWERTY board version, cool!!!

Thor seems to be hitting his stride. I'm just waiting for the trolls to come running in and spew nonsense like they normally do. Stand up, where ever you are.

I feel very confident with Heins running things, just wish these answers/explanations were given during the call last week. Great interview

I hope RIM's future wont end up like Palm's..if im not mistaken they releashed a new OS and shortly after they where bought by HP witch ended up in Palm's closure..Let's go RIM!!!I wish i could see RIM on top of the smartphone industry once again!!

He still talks like the competition does not exist. He mentions that he has used all competing products but he talks like they will do absolutely nothing for the next year or so an just let BlackBerry get caught up. Both Apple and Microsoft are making HUGE plays with ANNOUNCED PARTNERS in automotive while RIM just keeps auditioning to host the remake of Pimp My ride with no announced partners. They aren't going to sit around and do nothing and let RIM catch up. Microsoft is redoubling its efforts to win over enterprise users. RIM is struggling to gain any traction with mobile fusion.

Yes, RIM has a loyal flock of BlackBerry users and we won't change platforms as long as there are BlackBerry Smart Phones to buy, but we are only the 5-6% that he's still holding on to and he said that he is not happy with that in the interview but yet mentions no plans to even keep up with the competition as far as building a BlackBerry Ecosystem is concerned. I love that BB 10 will launch at a time when no one has any money to buy it and will hopefully steal the show at CES, but unless he has some plans for an ecosystem the platform it's self is not going to matter. WebOS is a phenomenal platform, but when HP dropped plans to incorporate it into their ecosystem it floundered. RIM needs to come up with some plans to get consumers interested in the BlackBerry Ecosystem. Mikes Home Automation plans, QNX Car 2, maybe partner with Amazon... there needs to be a value proposition beyond just a great platform TODAY and by next year that will be even more true. I have faith but I want to know that RIM sees the WHOLE picture and are not just laser focused on delivering the best platform ever created that no one will ever use. Don't make the same mistake as Palm, get those partnerships in place, and get Car 2 IN CARS and make sure BB 10 is in more aspects of my life then on my smartphone and Tablet.

What automotive partners has Apple announced?

People REALLY misread Apple's announcement of in-car Siri a few weeks ago; it is NOT a standalone in-car implementation of Siri.

What it is, is a bunch of car-specific "hooks" for Siri. You still need to have an iPhone.

Bottom line, it's still built on top of QNX...

Further to what Thunderbuck says.....

The QNX platform is running behind the scenes in....

Audi
BMW
Acura
Chrysler
Daewood
GM
Hyundai
Landrover
Porsche
Saab
Renault Samsung

Apple is just a plug in at best.

So our beloved QNX is RUNNING the show, not plugging into it.

Excellent interview. Al asked the critical questions, but did so respectfully. And Thorsten answered them extremely well. I'm feeling a bit more confident now that he 'gets it'.

Thanks, Adam. ;)

Just appreciated this interview to the max.
Carriers being a very important info. Then devices number (please do not rumor a launch date ...) being reduced to a limited number of "top quality" ones.
Thanks Adam, you made my day !

The "Noise" he is talking about is iphone 5 and whatever Goole pushes out too.
Although i am not happy i have to wait ,I think it was very wise to delay the launch.
2013 Q1 is perfect because the competitions new devices would have been out for some months and Thus Rim will have the spotlight solely for this time period.
Not to mention it gives them more time to polish the os.

BlackBerry10 is gonna be awesome!

There were a few key errors in the launch of the Playbook; the worst likely being the pricing.

A close second, though: rushing an unfinished device to market in an attempt to go head-to-head with iPad 2. They missed that target (bad), but still launched close enough that the iPad hype was still very much in place (worse), and came out looking ridiculous in comparison (worst of all).

By launching in January, RIM gets the floor to itself. Of course people will compare it to the new iPhone, but it will have had some time on the market by then, and there will inevitably be at least a few critics of it by that point.

I think this is a sound idea.

Mr,. Heins

After my last 7 phones being BlackBerrys, listening to the "disasterous pushing up of BB 10 til next year, and the "media bash by RIMM Executives" last week, I am so confident in the leadership of RIMM

THAT I BOUGHT A GALAXY S3 LAST FRIDAY.....

You all can sit around and listen to the deceit which has, unfortunately, been the norm at RIMM for about 3 years, but until enough people get disgusted - why should anything change???

I have to tell you, being very involved with BlackBerry's OS 6 and OS 7, most recently, you have a lot of catching up to do to compete with this Android OS on the Galaxy S3.

Owning a Playbook, I know that RIMM may have a shot, but you had better get the BB 10 launch "RIGHT" or you will be crucified in the media - ESPECIALLY SINCE BLACKBERY has no MARKETING to speak of and I think it wll be the end of RIMM.

Lastly, I could not help but notice that after purchasing th GS3 on Friday, I noticed a Galaxy S3 banner behind the batter at the Cubs/Mets game and driving home saw a Galaxy S3 sign in a bus stop shelter... In other words .... New Samsung phone - ADVERTISING EVERYWHERE....

Have never seen a BlackBerry ad campaign as omnipresent....

Just a thought..

Lastly - STOP MISLEADING YOUR CUSTOMERS... the botched timing on BB 10 launch - INEXCUSABLE...

+100,000,000 and RIP RIM for giving up on the consumer...

Why not just set it for release January of Feb. Why have to say you delayed it again....it looks like a mess it looks bad and that has been RIM for a long time.

Since Heins has taken over, I don't see any evidence of "deceit". BB10 got delayed a couple of months; I'm sure they would have loved to have it out in November, but it would have been an incomplete product.

THAT move would have been "old-RIM" to a tee.

Tbuck

If you don't remember Thor saying that BB 10 would be out at the end of 2012 and that he had spoke to the BB 10 engineering team and was "impressed' then you have to go back and do some due diligence.

Unfortunately, Thor is a 'victim of circumstances', in that he took over for one of the most infamous "over promisers and under deliverers" in CEO history, namely, Balsille.

That guy cost us stock holders a lot of money with his puffery.... Thor should have been more competent in his words and "internal due diligence" before promising BB 10 at the end of 2012.

Makes him look like just another "LEADERSHIP HACK" at RIMM...

Here we go again, I knew it wouldn't take long before the roaches came out of the woodwork. You need to get a life...like quickly.
You keep trying to save us "delusional" blackberry users only by trying to convince us that your delusion is better.
If you bought an SG3, why in heaven's name are you still here.
If I bought a beast of a phone like that i'd be on the XDA forums looking for ways to pimp it up. Sadly I doubt you have the sense to follow any advice let alone find the money to by an SG3.
Evidently even getting a life is a difficult task for you.

mindy -

Here was the thought process for the SG3 purchase...

1. My 9860 was a "small screened freezing up, constantly, piece of garbage.

2. What a number of the "misinformed" here don't get is that they are assuming that BB 10 will be launched in the United States in January 2013, unfortunately, Thor may be "misleading by omission" by not stating that they are planning on bringing it to Europe 1st - then U.S. Which means that it will, probably, come to ATT in June, or so, next year. I have 2 additional upgrades at that time.

3. Made more money on my "trade in" of 9860 then paid for it at ATT.

4. Droid is a better OS than OS 7 - SIMPLE FACT.

5. If BB 10 rocks and BlackBerry still around next year... will check out BB 10... Worse case scenario, stick with GS3 and this phone "IS A BEAST"...Amazing and my last 7 phones were BlackBerry and I own a Playbook.

Were you able to follow that?

Bottom Line - RIM better get their act together "fast"..

There you are. I could smell you from a mile away. You need to douche. You're still stinking up the joint. Go be angry somewhere else you pathetic low life.

I love how aggressive Heins has been about telling RIM's story. I was doubting the effectiveness of their media blitz at first, but I feel like the whole thing is really starting to make sense now. And the reassurance of a release in January vs the end of March is always helpful too.

To the men and women working hard at RIM making this comeback story a possible success we thank you and salute you.

I have had faith in RIM all along but I have been disappointed at the same time, I am not one to complain and I have refrained myself from doing so because I don't like reading negativity so why would I write it. To those people that get a kick out of spreading hate and negativity please keep it up cause I actually do get a laugh from it and it only keeps us loving our BlackBerry's more and more.

I actually agree with the trolls that ios/android is better than BlackBerry as far as the software goes, the freezing and bugs have given RIM a very bad track record. BlackBerry as a so called smartphone has been in the ape stage and ios/android has evolved into a highly intelligent machine.

BB10 will be a player in the smartphone game, it's not a wish or a want, it's the simple truth that RIM wants to succeed and will overcome any obstacle in it's way.

They're still words on a screen but I am hoping that Heins will be able to pull the BB ship around and famously dodge that whirlpool.

He does give the impression that he had carefully considered the potential RIM has as a company before taking the helm and believes that he can rebuild the brand. For all BB fans, I sure hope he succeeds.

He touched on one area I thought about when the delay was announced and that RIM may want to avoid launching BB10 at the same time as iPhone 5. Certainly he is right to say that BB10 launch will be drowned out if they launched at the same time. So the choices were to launch before or after - and after appears to be better. Launch before and people may wait to see what iPhone 5 will bring before they buy, or launch after and maybe catch those who are disappointed in iPhone 5.

But it does hint that RIM has prepared a major launch for BB10. I look forward to it.

And that was the first interview (in a long time) about RIM that I felt was more objective. Thumbs up.

Edit: Given that Heins acknowledges that all-touch has become a major market player, makes me wonder what the other phones he mentioned will look like.

~I am BlackBerry by choice~

This is -by far- the best interview I've read on this topic. Great questions. I could hardly think of any other question...

And then, January is! Perfect timing for me!!! I'll be able to upgrade my 9900 by December 24th.

I really liked that he uses a Galaxy S3, because that's a pretty good phone, perhaps the best smartphone out there, and he is aware of what it can do.

STAY OPEN TO POSSIBILITIES. BE BOLD.

Heins mentioned battery life as a pillar and I would certainly have asked about the kind of battery life we can expect from BB10 devices especially since battery life was sacrificed with a lot of the OS7 devices, much to every1s dismay!!...good interview tho

I think the device will be showcased at CES 2013 which runs Jan 8-11, 2013, with launch not too far after then.

Apple was lying in the dust, ready to die not too long ago. They survived. Blackberry/RIM will be fine. BB10 should be he beginning of the recovery.

Apple was in the dust, and very well could have gone under. But then Jobs came back to Apple. Everybody knows the rest of this story.

Reality is, even though he was a quirky, and sometimes impatient person, Jobs is what got Apple to the point it is right now. Both by his own vision, and his single mindedness. Thorsten Heins may be a good, possibly even great CEO; he isn't Jobs. Jobs wasn't just about running a company; he set design goals/principles for both hardware and software, and was the first to design the entire "eco-system" (hardware (device), Software (OS and Applications), and a delivery system (iTunes Store)). All of the other platforms are attempting to catch up, and maybe they will succeed. But the reality is, that there is only so much room for these "eco-systems", and outside of Apple's and Google's, there may not be much room for others. I think the Widnows Phone eco-system is the only one that possibly has a chance, and I see even the Amazon eco-system eventually dieing off. I don't see any room for a fourth eco-system. People have already "bought in" to the existing eco-systems (example, iTunes musid and movies, and iOS applications), so those people, while possibly considering a BB10 device, may not want to give up their already made investments in the Apple or Google eco-systems.

BB10 may be the greatest thing since sliced bread. But even if it is, it may not succeed commerically. See the exmaples of VHS vs. Beta VCRs, Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD, and even the more current example of Palm. All great devices, arguably better than the competition, but still footnotes in history, not current, thriving technologies.

Kostas

Stop worshipping the heroes, Steve jobs had his chance and he was successful but he also had his flaws. If Jobs had not listned to people around him, apple wouldn't be having the ecosystem all analysts so boastfully talk about. Only time will how effective Thorsten Heins is but he seems to be on the right track.

Funniest line for me in the interview:
Thorsten: "I love race simulation..."

What a formal way of expressing his love for racing games.

Now excuse me while I demolish swinesian constructions with my irate avians.

Great interview. Thorsten is proving to be a quick learner.

not going to put any debating comment, i just wanna say

#blackberrybychoice (y)

*mind my all lower caps, i'm not shouting or yelling, just wanna say that casually ^^

Thor had such clarity in answers and knows exactly what they r doing. This guy will turn it arround. Some times a calamity is exactly what's need to shake things up, how ever painful it might be. Why do we fall....to rise.
Go RIM go..!!!
#blackberrybychoice
Typing boldly from my bold 9900.

Must be hard having to be in command of a sinking ship, and I'm really sorry for all the people working at RIM that will have to be laid off now or in the near future for the poorest management strategies I've seen in the tech industry; but to be honest I don't know whose more delusional between Thorsten Heinst or you fanboys (and I don't mean the people commenting) at Crackberry

Must be hard on you to not have full control of your thought processes. Shouldn't have taken your helmet off. Sorry bro.

I thought it was a great interview, except for one of Heins' answers (which was repeated several times). Instead of saying that it was the iPhone that changed the market completely in 2007 (I'm not an Apple fanboy, but that happens to be a fact), he kept saying it was "LTE", which came across as a weak and lame answer, deliberately avoiding the known and established reason. He alluded to it later by admitting the market is primarily a "touch (screen)" market, but avoided the obvious. I can only assume he wants to avoid saying "Apple" at all costs, I guess for obvious reasons.

Finally someone asks the right questions! I was doubtful that RIM could come back from this but I also appreciate that they have a new Captain at the helm who's reasons for delaying BB10 seem perfectly logical. Thorsten has not just staked RIM's reputation on a timely and successful launch of BB10 but his own as well.

I will continue to keep myself appraised on what the competition (Apple/Android) are doing but if RIM continue to make the right noises I shall hold off parting with any cash until the launch of BB10. RIM has this one last chance. BB10 needs to be mind blowing.

It was a good interview that provided some information. Thor is still asking us to have faith which will be hard for us to do since we're still 6 months away from a phone. Execution, marketing, and an amazing device is what they need to put out.

And I've thought about how people are like, since you're missing out on the holiday season (which still is a bad time to miss anyway) that will kill RIM. This seems short sighted. Last time I checked, people don't just buy phones 1 month out of the whole year. The numbers may be better but last time I checked, buying a phone can happen anytime during the year especially if the phone is a better product. Samsung is successful with launching phones throughout the year. RIM needs to have 3 phones launch in different quarters (All touch, Qwerty, Slider) and then have other offerings (New Playbook to build off of BB 10 success hopefully) in that missing quarter.

Frankly, I think Thorsten is being as up front as he possibly can be. Personally, I'm not ready to turn my back on RIM. My experience with their products has always been positive ....ever since my first BlackBerry, the 8100 Pearl. Since then I've owned an 8110, 9000, 9700, 9780 and, presently, a 9900. All have have been excellent devices, all have done exactly what I needed and wanted them to do. Now, having said that, I understand those of you who are sold on iPhones and Android devices. They are attractive products as well. I never could understand why people come to this site and threaten to disown RIM, or never trust RIM, or never buy another BlackBerry. I mean, you need to get over yourselves. If you have no faith in RIM, or simply prefer another product, by all means go for it. Seriously, their ain't no anchor on yer ass and, quite frankly just speaking for myself, I couldn't care less what device you prefer. Selfishly, I'm only interested in what I prefer and want. All you naysayers are tiring and bore the hell out of me. You can blast me for this post, but, as Neil Young sang, "it doesn't mean that much to me to mean that much to you!"

The release date story has changed three times now. Why?

(1) 1Q 2013
(2) Two Month Delay
(3) January 2013

Why did he not just say January 2013 originally?

The story about the original release date has also changed

(1) Silent about whether it could have been released in 2012.
(2) Probably could have been released in 2012
(3)Could have been released in 2012 but didn't want to sacrifice quality.

Beware "Evolving" stories. The truth does not change. Only spin changes.

Thor actually stated "In January with the full touch device and the QWERTY coming..." It is not going to be released in January, it will be coming in January. The end of the first quarter puts that as late as March 31 for a release. Take into account that with be the initial release, and North America may lag a bit. You might not see the new BB10 in Canada/US until next summer.

Just walked into a Verizon corporate store-they are saying they will no longer carry Blackberry phones-has anyone heard anything? Very disturbing.

Verizon will not longer stock any phone that does not have LTE. BlackBerry have no LTE phones currently. Until BB10 changes that. So it's right - but for a limited time.

Believe me when I say this...I was at Verizon's website almost ordering the shiny Droid Razzr max, but held back once I saw this interview.

I now have faith in RIM more than ever, I only hope that my faith will last and Thor will be in some corporate hall of fame down the the road.....

Very good interview. Thorsten Heins seems to know what is doing. I really liked the part where he pointed out how RIM missed the LTE revloution and how their value proposition didn't match with the mobile changes in North America where data compression was not a big deal anymore, in fact pushing data was advanatagous. Awesome interview in my opnion, I am quite confident now that RIM is on the right track with his leadership.

Sell me a BOLD today, then upgrade to the BB10 phone when it comes out without penalty (I don't mind paying the difference in the unsubsidized amount, just not willing to pay out the full cost of a BOLD). The problem is, if I have to wait until the first quarter (which may be as late as March 31, 2013), and further wait because another part of the world gets first release, then it probably won't happen.

-I am a BlackBerry by Choice- 100% with you Thor! I know you're leading RIM to brightest days! you're always doing you best to fix what didn't work in previous interviews, you gives arguments against those who can't understand what blackberry is all about! And I thank you for that! you understood that BlackBerry needed a new OS! And you didn't fear to build one from ground up! From what I saw @ BBWC 2012, from what I hear from developers... BlackBerry will be a big product and also a great platform! of course the delay brings frustration... But do we really want an OS wich needs updates to fix NFC or whatever issues 1 week after its Release??? As for me I'll stick to RIM till the end of times! Because BlackBerry is the ONLY device that corresponds to me. Bold Till I Die! (sorry for my English (I m a french speacking) and this is my 1srt Post!)

I fully agree. Both full touch device & keyboard device should launch at the sametime. During the SuperBowl launch, this would be great too with a great ad from Verizon.

Happy to see that Thorsten is getting his interview answers out more fluently and to be honest I have never doubted his position as CEO. I have trust in RIM to release the first BB10 smartphone but I will do so cautiously, afraid to get another blow to the gut. See you BB10 in 2013! Start the new year with a bang. My beloved Bold 9900 is working great & will help me get through the time for now.

I think I'm the only one not impressed with the interview.

He was hiding the truth.

He still won't tell us if the new BB10 phones will be on the same level as IPhone or Androids.

Bold 9900 should be on the same level as the IPhone 4s.

Forget the OS. Why doesn't if have dual core? Why doesn't it have more RAM? Why doesn't it have a front face camera? A better camera period? These are just a few to name.

So BB10 will have these things. Big whoop. It's nothing new. Why would anyone switch to BB? The only reason is because of the keyboard. That's it.

My prediction is that BB10 will have everything it should have had a year ago and that will be the BB10. Nothing more, nothing less.

It's like saying "BB came out with a new phone. It have dual core, and a front camera. Yay!"

Who cares? This BB10 phone could have been had over a year ago. Only with a different brand.

BB10 must be something special and I don't think it will be. It'll be behind like it always was.

Also, why is he blaming going global, 4G LTE and touch screens as to why RIM has problems?

The answer is simple.. HARDWARE, APPS, LAZINESS, LACK OF INNOVATION, LIES and MARKETING.

He says LTE and that's because LTE is becoming the new standard. Overall he's referring to data consumption. BB's were made to be frugal in those terms as well as battery consumption. Those created "slow" phones. Phones still very capable of doing 95% of what phone users did up until very recently. With no regard for data consumption by new users(regret and dismay will soon come to these people), that frugality became code for crappy and non innovative among the average consumer who has no clue. So bb7 phones were there first real dip into that pool on those terms AND for TOUCHSCREEN.
As for the touchscreen argument, to say that Apple's touchscreen implementation was in no way a gargantuan catalyst for change in the cellphone market would be ludicrous. I'm in no way implying it is better than a bb, because that would also be ludicrous. The original Iphone was very very limited in comparison to the things BB's could do but it was cool and flashy and unlike anything people had ever used.
Mr. Heins knows what he's talking about.

Saw a news report that said BB's CEO carries an SGIII to "check on the competition." Right. That says it all, people.

Have many of you received a phone for Christmas?
This is about marketing, which was Steve Jobs real talent, he was a salesman extraordinaire!

I just like the part where he referred to the iphone as " entry level". I think that's a clear indicator to anyone asking Mr. Heins how bb10 will compare to existing apple and android OS's.