Breaking down Balsillie: conference call quotes

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RIM CEO Jim BalsillieWe’ve seen a busy 7 days in the wireless industry, with RIM and Palm’s financial statements and the launch of what savvy tech blogs have dubbed the “Jesus Phone“. Also, with Canadian’s recovering from extended national celebration, and Americans preparing for one, it’s possible that some salient facts surrounding Jim Balsille’s comments during Thursdays conference call/webcast have been overlooked. We’ve gone back over our live blog to pull out the important bits — and our thoughts on their implications — for ya.

BlackBerry Connect is effectively dead. Balsillie announced BC support for 5 new carriers, but more importantly, only a handful of new devices in the past quarter. Tellingly, Balsillie spent more time discussing RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry Virtual Network project — meaning that perhaps BC has not been killed, but reborn as a more full-featured product. Here’s hoping that BVN receives more legitimate support than its predecessor.

RIM is rolling. Forget the stock jump (or the stock split, for that matter): with RIM, it’s all about devices. Balsillie said he expected their strong Q1 to extend into Q2, and with the numbers he’s throwing around, it’s hard not to believe him. 20 million BlackBerrys shipped by the end of the summer. 3 million BB’s shipped next quarter, to go along with 1.65 billion in revenue. Whether this is due to a slick product lineup or a growing smartphone audience (we’re guessing a bit of both) doesn’t really matter, because RIM is making money and moving devices.

RIM doesn’t fear the iPhone. No, really. That is, if you believe their Co-CEO. While it is par for the course to see company reps put on a stiff upper lip during investor calls of this sort, Balsillie’s lack of concern about the iPhone was palpable. Maybe it’s hubris, maybe it’s because he knows that his products don’t really compete in the same space (for now). Regardless, read what he had to say and decide for yourself.

[Apple] did us a great favor… But iPhone is 1 carrier, 1 country; we’re 300 carriers in 100 countries. The device that AT&T has launched is a very narrow subset of their channels.. I think we welcome the open competition in our space – consumers benefit and the increased attention has been great for our business.

I think there’s so many dimensions to the market that we’re in, that people tend to define it too specifically… I’m not really into the ‘my input mechanism is funkier than your input mechanism’. It’s really about the user experience for us. I really don’t pay attention to all these different dynamics, because it doesn’t help me with my channels or my customers any.

New BlackBerrys: Believe the Hype. Possibly the most interesting item of note to come from RIM’s investor call was the time Balsillie spent promoting their future product lineup. Check it out.

The summer is when we go double-speed while everyone else is resting. You’re gonna see some very unexpected surprises from us. A lot of stuff for media, consumers and devices. I won’t tip our hat, but a couple that people don’t see coming.

This is a very exciting comment. While we originally speculated that the Jim Dog was dropping hints about the Pearl 2 — a device that BlackBerry Cool readers are familiar with, but the general populace has no idea about — further thought leads us believe that he’s talking about something more. Balsillie strongly emphasized unexpected surprises, and the Pearl 2 is anything if not expected; to help put this in perspective, when asked about UMTS/HSDPA support, Balsillie responded by saying that no one should be surprised to see 3G BlackBerry devices by this winter.

So if not a new BlackBerry Pearl or even a 3G Pearl, then what is surprising? Could we be looking at a whole new device stream from RIM? Too many questions, and for now, only Balsillie and co. have the answers.

  • jorge
    Perhaps the Curve II at $299.99 with a 3.2 MP camera from Sony and a major face lift on the basic bb pims
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