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OS Watch: How Will BB10 Save RIM?

Sarah Thomas
3/30/2012

BlackBerry is ready for the weekend after a rough fourth quarter and only the promise of a new operating system to revive the business in this week's OS watch.

  • Why is RIM so confident about BB10?: RIM is putting a lot of pressure on its next-gen OS, BlackBerry 10, to saves its sinking ship. But, the company hasn't actually said how the QNX-based OS will transform its business. On the company's fourth-quarter earnings call, CEO Thorston Hein only noted that the PlayBook's 2.0 software gives a good preview of what BB10 will be. So far, 70 percent of its PlayBook users, which total 1 million, he said, have upgraded to the new OS. (See RIM Chairman Resigns After Bleak Q4, RIM Open to Licensing BlackBerry 10 and CES 2012: RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 Demo.)

    Canaccord Capital Corp. , for one, only has modest sales expectations for the BB10 OS. They write in a research note, "We believe BB 10 smartphones will launch into an even more competitive smartphone market, as we anticipate continued innovative new Android LTE smartphones, an increase in Windows smartphone offerings from Nokia and other OEMs, and a refreshed LTE iPhone 5."

  • Dell quits U.S. smartphone biz: Dell Technologies (Nasdaq: DELL)'s two-year run at the U.S. smartphone business is over, as the computer maker says it will focus instead on emerging markets and higher-margin products. That means it will discontinue sales of the Windows Phone-based Venue and VenuePro in the U.S., but it may try again with tablets here later in the year.

  • Android soon to outsmart Microsoft: Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s focus on the mobile space may be coming at the expense of its personal computing business. According to IDC , Android will overtake Windows as the dominant OS for smart connected devices, including PCs, media tablets and smartphones, by 2016. As of the end of 2011, Microsoft held 35.9 percent market share, trailed by Android at 29.4 percent and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) at 14.6 percent. By 2016, IDC says Android will have 31.1 percent market share, thanks to growth in the low-price devices, while Microsoft will have 25.1 percent and iOS at 17.3 percent.

  • AT&T plans Lumia marketing blast: Microsoft's OS may get a little help from AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) as the carrier is planning an all-out marketing push for its new $100 Long Term Evolution (LTE) Windows Phone smartphone, the Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) Lumia 900. The carrier even went as far as to say this is its biggest product launch ever, even bigger than the iPhone. It plans to air commercials supporting it and give it front and center prominence in its retail outlets. (See AT&T's Nokia Lumia Drops LTE to $100.)

  • Google to take on Amazon online: Even though Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) failed to sell its smartphones online successfully, the Android-maker may try its hand with online tablet sales, according to The Wall Street Journal's sources. Some of the tablets may even be co-branded by Google, but its range of hardware partners -- as well as its soon-to-be-acquired company Motorola Mobility -- will build the devices, the site suggests. (See Google Store Reopens.)

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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