The company announced plans for seven new smartphones based on the "next-generation" BlackBerry operating system this year, as well as noted its App World store has surpassed 1 billion downloads. What the company's co-CEOs did not highlight was the OS it's hanging its hopes of recovery on, QNX Software Systems . (See RIM's BlackBerry Evolution Fails to Impress and BlackBerry: The Mullet of Mobility.)
[They also didn't adequately address complaints against their crippling dual-management structure, but that's its own sordid tale for another day.]
Despite many employee letters urging it to change its ways, RIM doesn't seem to be keeping up in a fiercely competitive market. Delays have been a constant theme for the device maker lately, and its posturing has been dismissive of the very real threats to its business. (See RIM Delays 4G PlayBook to the Fall and OS Watch: Developers Take a Bite Out of Mango.)
Sascha Segan, of PC World, makes an alarmingly apt comparison between RIM and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK). The Finnish handset maker, like RIM, held on to a struggling OS, Symbian Ltd. , while promising a next-generation, game-changing platform in MeeGo, an OS that is slipping into irrelevancy today.
That could turn out to be what RIM is doing with QNX, which won't debut on smartphones until next year.
To avoid this fate, analysts have suggested everything from breaking the company into two companies, like Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) did, to bringing in an independent chair to the board to playing up its carrier relationships.
A constant theme in all their recommendations, however, is to "do it faster."
The battle in mobility is not over -- a fact that RIM is counting on -- but I share the widespread disappointment reported today that RIM isn't listening to the market and starting its enormous transition now.
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile