Woah boy, it looks like no one can stop the leaks from flooding out once the levy breaks. The Boy Genius is really going into overload this weekend, releasing RIM’s Blackberry Storm strategic documents. However, unlike previous ‘leaks’ we’ve seen in recent weeks, I don’t think this one was intentional — there’s no way RIM wants this type of information getting out. It’s a long read, but here are some of the highlights:
– Vodafone will be the only carrier to get the full BlackBerry portfolio
– RIM was hoping to release the BlackBerry Storm in September
– During internal keyboard testing, RIM found that satisfaction was highest with the LG Viewty rather than the HTC Touch or iPhone 3G.
– Touchscreen demographic info and the BlackBerry Storm’s target market
The fall of 2008 will be a busy time for RIM seeing multiple major platforms being launched within 90 days of each other, all of which have an important role to play in the 2008 and 2009 calendar years for RIM. As such we need to ensure the entire portfolio and the market messaging of those devices achieve the proper end goal of helping end users decide which product is best for them.
Thunder combines BlackBerry’s unique and elegant style with a number of firsts for RIM from a technology perspective. Targeted at the high end consumer multimedia market, Thunder will be RIM’s first touchscreen device that raises the bar for what users expect for touch screen usability. Thunder is designed to satisfy the most demanding technophile by offering the most extensive multi-media experience on the largest, richest HVGA screen offered on a BlackBerry.
Thunder also introduces the first smartphone offered by RIM that will simultaneously launch in a dual CDMA and GSM format with HSPA capabilities for 3G networks globally. Thunder will deliver to the user an ultimate play and work BlackBerry. The leading edge look and powerful functionality make Thunder the must-have consumer BlackBerry solution – with the perfect blend of style and performance.
• Feel the BlackBerry Difference
The innovative tactile response provides users with touch feedback with ‘click through’ – taking touch screens to a new level of ease of use and moving the Thunder touch screen from novelty to acceptance.
• Accelerated Work and Play
This will be the first phone in the global BlackBerry portfolio to introduce 7.2Mbps HSPA (High Speed Packet Access). HSPA is an enhancement to UMTS and sometimes is dubbed “3.5G”. It will bring carriers and end users benefits when applications that require large amounts of data are used and for some carriers will provide needed network capacity relief. HSPA increases spectrum efficiency enabling more capacity in carriers’ networks.
• Enriched BlackBerry Experience
With a 3.5” HVGA screen and dynamically oriented landscape and portrait mode, Thunder offers the largest and highest quality screen of any BlackBerry product. Thunder is loaded with applications and features to provide the richest experience expected by the high end consumer segment. In addition, Thunder contains the applications and features to satisfy the most demanding global business traveller while at the same time providing the security and trust expected by corporate IT managers.
The Thunder product will be the first BlackBerry product squarely positioned in the high end featured multimedia smartphone category, targeting the high end consumer (or Prosumer) market segment. It will fuse the market leading BlackBerry value proposition with state of the art touch screen technology, a rich multimedia feature set and leading edge design. It will be the first BlackBerry device with a touch screen incorporating an innovative tactile response and an expansive display ideal for multimedia use. Its styling, critical in this segment, will be clean and refined offering users the promise of style and function. Thunder will be targeted at both CDMA and GSM operators supporting support multimode roaming. This will enable the development of a single iconic brand around the Thunder brand that is universally recognizable. The launch version of the product is specific to Vodafone and Verizon.
Secondary research was consolidated on touch screen devices (This report is available for review upon request). The research includes 3 main areas:
o Keyboard Study
o iPhone Usage
o Demographic Analysis of Comparative Devices
A summary of the results are as follows:
• Keyboard Study (based on internal RIM study with external participants)
• In an internal keyboard test, customer satisfaction was highest with the LG Viewty compared with Touch and iPhone
• The LG Viewty performed best compared with the Touch and iPhone on a variety of typing tests
• iPhone Usage
• A majority of those who own or intent to purchase an iPhone intend to use the device for both personal and business use (based on IDC Report, “The iPhone Appeals to business Users, Implies Issues for Enterprise IT Departments”, Nov, 2007)
• Although there is a desire to use the iPhone for business and personal use, there are obstacles in using the iPhone as an enterprise device. (based on Forrester Report, “The iPhone is Not Meant for Enterprises, December 12, 2007)
• Demographic Analysis of Comparative Devices (Based on M:Metrics 2007 data)
• Nokia’s N95 has the highest installed base in Europe for touchphones
• Apple’s iPhone has the highest installed base in the US for touchphones
• Touchscreen device users are primarily males in the 25-44 year range
• Personal self-paid contracts are the most popular in all countries, except in Italy where prepaid or pay-as-you-go plans are more common
• 46% of purchasers of touchscreens in the US has a household income of greater than 100K
• Purchasers of touchscreen phones in EU are in the middle to lower income bracket.
• Browser is the most heavily used application across all phone types.
• Unrivalled Connectivity
- GSM/EDGE/UMTS/HSPA and CDMA/EVDO Rev A
• HSPA – 2100MHz up to 7.2Mbps
• GSM – 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
• CDMA/EVDO Rev A – 800/1900/MHz
- Support for simultaneous voice-data transmission
- World Edition (for CDMA)
- 3G Modem support
- High Speed USB
• Fast speeds providing superior side loading of large files
- Bluetooth 2.0
• In Vehicle stereo connectivity
• Home stereo solutions
- Built in GPS Engine – Global Capabilities from BlackBerry
• Mapping and navigation support including BlackBerry Maps out of the box
- Generous 1400 mAhr battery for long life
• Rich Internet and Multimedia Experience
- Large 3.25” Display
• ½ VGA+ 480×360
- Innovative Click Through display
• Tactile response – offering the best of touch screen & keyboard
- Dynamic Screen orientation supporting Portrait and Landscape viewing
- 3.2MP camera with Auto Focus and Image Stabilization
• Fully Integrated into applications
- Full Page Internet Browsing
• Including support for streaming audio and video.
- 1GB embedded Memory and expandable MicroSD Slot with SDHC support (4GB, 8GB etc)
• 1GB out of the box, and the flexibility to expand to suit your needs
- Comprehensive Application Suite out of the box
• Instant Messaging support for multiple communities including Yahoo!, Messenger, AOL/CIQ, GoogleTalk
• Social networking communities including FaceBook, Flickr, Picasa
• Turn by Turn Voice Navigation (Verizon Only)
• Music Store integration
• Iconic Styling
- Sleek, clean head-turning design
• Premium accents such as metallic trim and stainless battery door
- The ‘Right size’ – feature packed yet fits in your pocket
• Innovative design that blends a huge display without compromising ease of use that users expect from their BlackBerry
The smartphone market continues to dramatically evolve, with new categories emerging and bleeding into existing categories. The diagram below depicts the broad product categories expected in the 2008/2009 timeframe.
Geographically, the move to optimized music phones is more pronounced in Europe and Asia, with over 50% of phones sold in these regions supporting music capabilities. In North America, such devices are not as popular, possibly due to the popularity of dedicated music players . (Source: Ovum). In contrast, productivity smartphones are seeing greater success in North America compared to other developed regions.
The trend towards multimedia smartphones reflects the blurring of expectations, and functionality between market segments: the mobile professional is increasingly looking for consumer centric features like cameras and media players, while consumers are looking for increasing data communication capabilities (Mobile email, Mobile IM, Internet applications etc) adapted to their mobile needs. Additional features that are starting to emerge in the smartphone segment include accelerometers and touch screens .
For prosumers/consumers with active and mobile lifestyles, the ability to create, share and access content – send messages, read documents, listen to music, snap and share pictures, access websites – is a valuable currency . Entertainment, personal content and professional productivity functions have all been mobilized. Mainstream communication needs encompass voice calls, email, text messaging and access to larger communities through instant messaging and web communities.
The Pearl was the first BlackBerry that directly targeted consumers seeking a stylish and sleek phone that delivered these consumer oriented features, while maintaining the business features that many of them still expected.
The BlackBerry Thunder will cater to the higher end of the consumer market. This segment is distinguished from the Pearl’s target market by increased emphasis on leading edge technology married to style: the high end multimedia consumer epitomizes the connected, mobile consumer that is looking for a device that will function as both their personal and professional device, provide access to the plethora of communication options, and include the latest technological advances. Style will be a particularly important purchasing criterion for this more discriminating market.
The target segments identified by Verizon and Vodafone are as follows:
Multimedia Converged (Verizon)
• Technology leaders; looking for the latest and greatest device. Heavy multimedia users.
• Internet savvy; accustomed to using the internet as their primary information tool, both in their personal and professional lives
• Slightly skewed towards the male demographic
• Would encompass some portion of the traditional BlackBerry mobile professional segments, such as Mobile Men (younger portion) and Successful Male (less so)
• Evenly split between consumer and business use
Stylish Techies (Vodafone) – Desired Target 1
• Heavy multimedia users – use MP3s, internet radio, video capture
• Heavy users of internet services, both media (including download services) and Community applications (chat, Social networking)
• Skewed towards younger demographic, but generally office workers or university students (not teenagers)
• Aspirational – would include the traditional BlackBerry Career Builder segment.
• Will be slightly skewed towards consumer users
Super Users (Vodafone) – Desired Target 2
• Driven by continuous career progression, sometimes prioritising work over F&F
• Confident with technology
• the mobile is ‘essential in helping to organise my life’ and maintaining social circle
• Preferring to use the mobile even when at home
• Price plan and network drive mobile choice
• Single, predominantly 26-35yrs, but evident in 19-45yrs
• High use of all core services
• Highest roamers and incidence of expensing calls for business use
Based on the description of Verizon and Vodafone’s target segments, we see overlap between their segments and RIM segments as outlined in the table below:
• Higher end College&Graduate Students, Young social singles, Recent college graduates, entry level professionals
• Higher than average mobile monthly spend
• Strong smartphone usage
• Single; 61/39 M/F; 17-34 yrs
• Approx $59K HH income
• Strong tech enthusiast; career oriented
• View mobile comm. As primary social lifeline and productivity tool Achiever
• Work dominates their life
• Ambitious, driven
• Short of Time
• Travel a lot
• Need to be organized
• Tend to have money
• Stay in touch with clients, colleagues and suppliers (but also with friends and families)
• Predominately male
• Mid/senior level professionals; family men and women; entrepreneurs; DINKS
• 60/40 M/F; 25-55
• HH income >50K
• They are tech savvy/early technology adopters
• Highest ownership of smartphones and heavy monthly mobile spend
• Want to always be available; extremely busy and want control over their schedules
• Strong tech enthusiasts Explorer
• Technical pioneers and trendsetters
• Passionate about new technology
• Purchase new gadgets and latest kits to be the first amongst their friends
• Advise others on enw technology and mobile devices purchases
• Look for all kinds of functionality and feature-rich devices
Consumers in these segments will look to the BlackBerry Thunder to empower their mobile lifestyle with a feature set that connects them with the people and communities they care about in the medium of their preference; enables them to manage, access or share content and information; as well as to snap photos, play music and videos or download the latest, music, videos and games for personal entertainment. This rich feature set will appeal to their desire to be at the technological forefront, while sleek design will appeal to their sense of style – this will be a device that consumers will want to use, and to be seen using.
The styling will be a targeted towards the high end multimedia consumer segment:
• The size of BlackBerry Thunder will allow comfortable single handed use, while being large enough to be a powerful multimedia device
• Thunder will continue the momentum of the Curve. It is a “BlackBerry” on the inside, but more ‘business casual’ on the outside. Its overall design will imply a refined, understated style and quality, with metallic accents and clean lines.
Product Positioning Statement
For the high end consumer looking for a state of the art multimedia device that makes a statement in the office and out on the town, there is no better choice of Smartphone than the BlackBerry Thunder. This global device offers the sophisticated user the perfect mix of substance and style with powerful multimedia feature set and innovative interface in a sleek, clean design – a status symbol for the style conscious technophile.
Key Competitive Attributes and Differentiators
“Shed the corporate only image”
A new way to do things with BlackBerry
• Large 3.25” touch screen, media-oriented device, auto portrait and landscape modes
• Innovative ClickThrough technology takes touch to a new level
• Redesigned interface provides a fresh perspective on the things you want to do with your smartphone and enhances the way you work
• Visually lush plus snappy, responsive performance
True BlackBerry styling and image
• Refined, understated appearance with attractive lines and contours
• Stainless steel detailing on battery door
A wealth of communication options
• Balanced for personal and professional use
• Combines style and performance
• A touchscreen device that you can still use for work — your IT team will support it because it supports security features and IT policies
Loaded with applications and features
• Includes both business and personal applications to provide a truly balanced mobile experience
• In addition to BlackBerry productivity applications, Thunder comes with GPS-enabled mapping applications, media player and native applications for Internet communities, such as instant messaging and social networking sites
• 3.2 MP camera with autofocus, zoom, video capture and image stabilization – integrated into your applications for one click posting to internet
Simplicity and ease of use
Fast, accurate text input
• Best-in-class touchscreen typing, thanks to clickthrough technology that simulates pressing physical keys — touchscreen text input that’s good enough to be BlackBerry
• Excellent for heavy message users
• Users interact with device features and applications with natural gestures, such as pointing, dragging and clicking, just as you would with a mouse
• Menus are organized logically around common and complex tasks, making them faster and easier to perform, e.g. take a photo and send it to a social networking site or a contact from your address book immediately
Connect anytime, anywhere, anyhow
Screaming fast networks
• Access rich media and content: stream audio and video, download music, send photos or attachments, use your device as a tethered modem
• Operates on HSPA and EVDO Rev A
• Don’t have to rely on open Wi-Fi networks – broadband anywhere
• 3G Tethered modem
• Enhanced flexibility with simultaneous voice & data support – email or browse while on phone
The freedom to stay in touch however you want
• Blog, use social networking and photo sharing websites; send email, multimedia messages, text messages, listen to internet radio, stream videos, read and post to online forums; phone; instant messaging
• Native clients for Instant Messaging (Yahoo!, GoogleTalk, AOL, Messenger) and Social Networking (Facebook, Picasa, Flickr) mean you’re always connected … BB provides more than just access through a web application
• Dual mode CDMA/GSM (Verizon only) allows you to stay connected – anywhere in the world
High resolution screen
• The largest, highest resolution (480 x 360) screen of any BlackBerry allows you to lose yourself in the Web pages, videos and the gorgeous BlackBerry interface
Music store integration
• Unique in the BlackBerry line up, access thousands of songs from practically anywhere
Big Internet experience in a little package
• BlackBerry Thunder provides an Internet — users can view video, YouTube and linger over ‘rich html’ webpages
• Room for all your songs, movies and photos with 1GB built-in and limitless storage on microSD SDHC cards
High speed USB (and 3G)
• Moving content to and from BlackBerry Thunder is fast, simple and practically wait-free
• Ideal for use with BlackBerry Unite! Software media sharing, remote access and content syndication features
Intuitive media access
• Convenient access to media content thanks to music service support and easier navigation
Plus everything you love about BlackBerry
Push Email, PIM, SMS, MMS, BB Messenger, Yahoo! AOL/ICQ, GoogleTalk and others
• Business is a breeze with favorite BlackBerry features – push email technology and integrated PIM tools, etc.
Long battery life
• Go long and far between charges, the high capacity battery in Thunder works as long and hard as you do (class leading 1400 mAhr standard out of the box!)
Enterprise-ready, secure, voice
• Thunder – proven BlackBerry security, manageability and a host of other advanced features
The BlackBerry Thunder will continue the momentum of the Curve and Pearl into the consumer segment targeting market share growth in the rapidly expanding high end market segment. It is expected to have minimal overlap with the existing BlackBerry portfolio, being positioned up market from the Curve and Pearl. The greatest potential for market overlap will be with Meteor and Javelin. Relative to Meteor, Thunder will be positioned as a more consumer centric device and greater emphasis on technological leadership. Where as Meteor will be the must have amongst the CxO crowd, Thunder will be the must have amongst the high end consumer segment. Compared to Javelin, the key distinction will be the touch screen and styling, characteristics which will appeal more to the technophiles and style conscious.
Thunder will the first BlackBerry released simultaneously to CDMA and GSM operators. The tables below highlights the major differences between Thunder and the CDMA and GSM/UMTS BlackBerry portfolios expected to be in market at the time of Thunder launch.
Focusing on the latest GSM/EDGE/HSPA offerings launching in the 2008/2009 timeframe:
Meteor may be seen as an alternative product to Thunder in some markets. Although the Thunder product will focus more on the Consumer, the comparisons will be drawn by the industry and analysts covering RIM. In the U.S. market the two will be competitive offerings between Verizon and AT&T, and each may be positioned as the flagship BlackBerry offering – blurring differentiation between the two products. In the markets where Vodafone operates, Meteor will be seen as an alternative 3G product. Vodafone will carry the Meteor product and focus it as more of an Enterprise focused device. Vodafone will be the only carrier globally to offer the full range of 3G HSDPA products carried by RIM. In those markets where both Meteor and Thunder are offered, the consumer versus enterprise and leading edge versus luxury will be the key characteristics that will distinguish the Thunder from Meteor product. Features that may lead them towards a Thunder purchase include the tactile screen, larger display and higher resolution camera, along with its more understated styling.
The next generation EDGE product launching in the fall of 2008 will be focused on providing a higher tier narrow QWERTY solution around the globe. There is expected to be minimal overlap between Thunder and Javelin products.
Although Thunder and Kickstart target the consumer segment, Thunder will be targeted at the higher end portion of the consumer segment. Minimal overlap is expected between these products due to the relatively distinct flip phone market targeted by Kickstart, particularly in the US.
Focusing on the latest CDMA offerings launching in the 2009 timeframe:
The Niagara product launching in the early of 2009 will be the evolution of the successful 8830, focused on the Enterprise market. Niagara’s feature set includes a 3.2MP camera, EVDO Rev A and a large display, with the addition of WiFi. It is expected that with the rich feature set, and ID styling similar to Thunder, that there will be overlap between Niagara and Thunder target market.
Although Thunder and Apex target the consumer segment, Thunder will be targeted at the higher end portion of the consumer segment. Minimal overlap is expected between these products due to the relatively distinct flip phone market, particularly in the US.
Overall Pricing Strategy
Pricing for Thunder to Verizon and Vodafone will be established up front contractually based on a volume commitment. In terms of pricing strategy, Thunder represents a move into the upper end of the consumer market, with the objective of market share growth. As a multimedia phone that should drive high ARPU, it is conceivable that carriers will choose a retail price with a higher subsidization level than with other phones.
The figure below shows the expected relative pricing for the BlackBerry products expected to be available at the time of Thunder launch.
The current FCS target for Thunder is Sept/08 with both Verizon and Vodafone. Time to market will be imperative for this product as it is expected that competitive offers with similar capabilities will be released around mid 2008.
Multimedia centric devices are being aggressively launched by all handset vendors looking to quickly gain a beachhead in this emerging sub category of the smart phone market segment (examples of expected launches or already available devices are included in the competitive section). It is expected that all of the major vendors will have launched devices by mid 2008 (e.g. internal view from PM is that Motorola and Samsung should have high end multimedia devices available in Q1/2 of 2008). For this reason, it is critical that Thunder be available latest in the fall of 2008 to hit the important end of year sales cycle.
The expected launch schedule for Vodafone and Verizon properties is:
1) EFIGS (Launch requirement) + Netherlands
2) Non EFIGS European Opcos/affiliates (4-8 weeks)
3) Row OPcos/Affiliates (8-16 weeks)
A key element of Thunder is to create a new franchise that will be global in reach. In keeping with this strategy, both carrier and end user customization options are limited to help reinforce a single, unified device.
Thunder product will be released simultaneously by both Verizon and Vodafone. The only differences between the products made available will be branding (Verizon on the battery door and Vodafone being on the endcap) and s/w branding on home screen and carrier specific Icons (e.g. Music applications).
Key difference between the US market and the European market relevant to Thunder include:
• BlackBerry Brand – BlackBerry brand strength in North America will have much stronger impact than in Europe in terms of entering a new market
• More competitive GSM/UMTS market for devices as compared to CDMA resulting in the earlier launch of competitive products in the European market.