With summer ending, we’re expecting a few announcements from RIM just around the corner. End of summer also means we’re closer to the holiday season where RIM and all the major tech companies scramble to get a killer product out of the door that everyone can buy for their loved ones. So what can we expect to see from RIM coming soon? Here are 5 things we have heard about and we know will come soon (hopefully).
1. Android app player beta
This was somewhat promised to come from RIM this summer and we got the impression at the BBM Hackathon that we will see something soon. The problem is that the Android app player will most likely end up in the hands of developers first and consumers may not see something until the Developer Conference. It should be interesting to see how this all pans out as having a tablet with access to both BlackBerry and Android apps could be huge.
2. Native Email and PIM functionality on PlayBook
We’re not clear on exactly when this will happen but we’ve been hearing about a big relaunch of the QNX Tablet OS UI coming soon and it could coincide with native PIM functionality for the PlayBook. There is a lot riding on the QNX platform and while the PlayBook may not be a huge seller now, it will definitely sell more units when you don’t necessarily have to have a smartphone to use it.
3. BlackBerry Curve Touch announcement
The BlackBerry Curve Touch announcement looks just around the corner as we’ve already seen it popping up in FCC filings. The device looks to be just like the other recent BlackBerry 7 devices: incremental updates to the devices, giving them all “liquid graphics” and smooth user experiences. Sure, it may not have all the glory we’re going to expect of the QNX devices, but they’re great updates to the product lines.
4. BlackBerry Colt announcement
This one is a bit of a stretch but rumor has it that the BlackBerry Colt will be pushed to early 2012 and a holiday announcement wouldn’t be so far fetched. Generally, devices are announced a couple months before they’re available for sale so an announcement shouldn’t be that far away. If the device is up for sale in January, a November announcement wouldn’t be unheard of.
5. BlackBerry Music Service announcement
The BlackBerry Music Service looks like an interesting project. So far, we’re reading that the service will likely be around $5 a month and give you access to a limited number of songs for that price. Songs and the app are shared over BBM and where the service really takes off, is that you also get access to the songs on your shared network. This will encourage people to invite their friends to download the app and get in on the monthly charge. By leveraging BBM and the shared experience, RIM could do a great job of monetizing the BBM network. The only downside could be that if RIM is making money, will they want competing music services such as Spotify coming to their network? Perhaps RIM should be more focused on building a platform that will encourage music innovators to get on board rather than doing it themselves.