Here’s Research in Motion’s Strategy for BlackBerry
Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) president and CEO Thorsten Heins spoke out today to address speculation his company is dumping BlackBerry keyboards in future models of the device. Heins addressed the press at RIM’s BlackBerry world conference and asserted that RIM is not killing off its physical keyboards with the unveiling of the BlackBerry 10 software.
The BlackBerry 10 software will offer an intelligent virtual keyboard that takes touchscreen keypads to a new level. The software learns the words users use most often and also learns how people type on the device to compensate for sloppy typing. Essentially, this will make typing more accurate, which has been a problem with other virtual keypads, including touchscreen keypads on Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android devices.
Heins reiterated that RIM would not be getting rid of its physical keyboard as it builds BlackBerry 10 devices. He stated that RIM is well aware of its strengths and would not make the mistake of getting rid of physical keyboards that distinguish them from competitors. He also promised that the first BlackBerry 10 device, expected to ship later this year, will carry a physical keyboard.
Heins clarified that the BlackBerry Alpha Dev device that the company showed off during the presentation on Tuesday was just one possible form factor for the upcoming BB10 devices, but it does not reflect the final product or software for the device. The physical keypad will be part of BlackBerry 10 devices in the future, with much more to come.
RIM’s BlackBerry Playbook was also a topic that Heins discussed during the world conference. The Playbook runs software based on QNX that also fuels BlackBerry 10 software, and apps developed for the tablet will be compatible with BlackBerry 10 devices. The tablet has struggled in the market and is still considered a niche product for RIM.
However, Heins said that the Playbook is not to be considered a tablet, rather a step toward developing a computing platform. The device is expected to have 4G LTE network support this year, which is a drastic upgrade from the current models that only connect to the Web via WiFi. RIM will push the Playbook for business users before addressing the consumer market.
Heins also took the opportunity to state that the company has no plans of abandoning the consumer market. Heins said that while RIM will not try to develop its own consumers services and apps, the company will work with third party providers for those features and apps.
It’s no secret that RIM has been struggling to keep up with competitors like Apple and Google. The company has been losing market share — especially in the U.S. market — over the last few years. Heins attributed RIM’s decline to a lack of company focus as RIM grew too quickly for its own good. RIM’s new plan will be to refocus on its management team and on its business. Whether the BlackBerry 10 will be the comeback RIM has been waiting for is yet to be seen.