RIM says it will launch its Blackberry 10 on January 30 in New York. That’s nice – there are still Blackberry fans out there in the wild hoping for their favourite phone maker to bounce back. Some still pine for a phone with a physical QWERTY keyboard.
Last month the company’s boss Thorsten Heins told reporters RIM has “just this one shot”. He is an optimist. One analyst gives Blackberry 10 a 30 percent chance of success. Even that sounds generous.
RIM plans to announce touch-phones and QWERTY models along with a new operating system. The goal is to go after corporate customers – Blackberry dominated this sector until three years ago.
The smartphone market is saturated. With Apple and Android sharing 90% of unit sales and Windows Phone 8 making a determined bid for the rest, RIM has its work cut out.
It has been such a long time between drinks for RIM that most previous Blackberry owners have already moved to other smartphones. Wooing them back will be hard.
RIM must deliver faultless hardware and rock-solid software. It needs to offer something new and unique.
Even a perfect phone isn’t enough. RIM also needs a credible slew of apps ready at the launch. That doesn’t mean Angry Birds, although having games will help.
And the price has to be right. Blackberry can no longer command a premium.
The company’s last launch was the disastrous Playbook. While it had some good reviews, RIM held a humiliating fire sale to shift stock. That’s not an option this time.