Media agencies and bloggers on all sides of the tech world have been absolutely vicious when it comes to covering RIM these days. The coverage blames RIM for missing this, failing at that, and for not being Apple for reasons x,y, and z. Is this fair? Is it really that bad? After having attended DevCon and seeing the latest and greatest on the development side of BlackBerry, my impression of RIM remains positive and progressive.
The technology roadmap is clear. RIM will be moving to BBX, the QNX and BlackBerry melding that will represent a more robust and flexible OS without sacrificing security. RIM is opening the door for Android apps which should please the consumers and increase the number of apps available. RIM continues to grow its revenues, deployments, and clients. While they stand to lose some market share in the enterprise space based on all the speculation that companies need to provide employees alternatives to BlackBerry, the reality is that IT administrators are in control when using BlackBerry and they know their data is safe. The same cannot be said for Apple who has acknowledged that it actively collects information from all of its users.
When it comes down to it BlackBerrys are workhorses where iPhones are show ponies. I’m not saying the iPhone is an inferior device; It’s a great device. It’s just not suited to be the go-to communication device for the world’s governments and corporations, or consumers that place a greater emphasis on messaging versus games. The history is different for BlackBerry than iPhone. BlackBerry started in the enterprise and moved into the consumer space as demand required it to. BlackBerry has built a globally recognized brand associated with security, durability, and prosperity. The iPhone was launched as an amazing entertainment device modeled on the simplicity of Mac OS and launched with such buzz that developers worldwide flocked to create entertaining apps for the device. Apple has created 5 iterations of 1 device and in the same timeframe RIM has released 30+ device models that cater to the needs of different carriers, countries, and market segments. I’m not saying that BlackBerry is doing everything right – I’m saying they are well positioned and still have lots of bullets in the chamber.
We’re bullish on this BBX move as it shows RIM knows where the platform needs to go: more show pony material with a workhorse base. Arguably, you can go from enterprise to consumer but it’s not nearly as easy going the other way. The games we saw on the PlayBook were stunning and they will eventually make their way to the smartphone. Now it’s a matter of execution and hopefully it will happen sooner rather than later.