The mass exodus of BlackBerry executives continues. According to The Wall Street Journal, David J. Smith, the executive who led the team that created the failed PlayBook tablet, has left the company. A BlackBerry spokesperson confirmed the report, noting that he “resigned for personal reasons.” Despite releasing two new smartphones running its new BlackBerry 10 operating system, BlackBerry has continued to struggle in the mobile market and recently lost 4 million subscribers. The company recently fired its U.S. sales chief, and a number of other high-level executives have left BlackBerry in recent weeks. The PlayBook failed to compete against the iPad and Android tablets when it was released in 2011, leading BlackBerry to write off nearly $500 million in unsold inventory. The company would later end support for the PlayBook, announcing that the device will not be updated to BlackBerry 10.
The dozens of loyal BlackBerry PlayBook owners out there were dealt a major blow on Friday when BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said that he’d stopped plans to bring the new BlackBerry 10 platform to BlackBerry’s 7-inch tablet. Heins said that he was “not satisfied with the user experience” that BlackBerry 10 provided on the PlayBook, which led him to make the “difficult decision” to stop the plan and instead focus on the company’s core hardware products. While the news is certainly disappointing for PlayBook fans, it’s not entirely surprising since the tablet didn’t sell well when it launched two years ago and Heins has largely been cool to the idea of making a new version of the device.
The BlackBerry PlayBook was not one of BlackBerry’s (BBRY) more successful products, which is why CEO Thorsten Heins is understandably wary about producing a sequel in the near future. Australia’s Herald Sun reports that while speaking at the BlackBerry Z10 launch in Australia this week, Heins said that he didn’t want to produce a followup to the PlayBook until the company figured out how to make it “not just… another tablet.” Heins also said that the tablet market had become so competitive that it was hard to earn a decent profit from selling them, and that he owed it to “shareholders to provide a return on investment.” So for the moment, it looks like BlackBerry will be all about smartphones first.
Getting exposure in Apple’s (AAPL) iOS App Store and Google’s (GOOG) Google Play market can be daunting at best. Developers must compete for exposure with hundreds of thousands of other apps, and viral success or a big marketing budget is almost a requirement at this point if an app is to see any real success. Research In Motion (RIMM) on Tuesday presented another option, however: Develop for BlackBerry. More →
Research In Motion (RIMM) on Thursday took the wraps off of a new version of its PlayBook tablet, the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook. Rumors had previously pegged July 31st for the new slate’s launch. RIM’s revised PlayBook features specs that are in line with the original model with one main addition: 4G LTE connectivity. “We’re excited to bring customers the first BlackBerry PlayBook tablet with support for 4G LTE networks,” said David J. Smith, EVP of Mobile Computing at RIM. “The new 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook offers a broad range of premium features, including a stunning 7 inch display, front and rear facing HD video cameras, HDMI out and stereo speakers, and it also offers premium performance on high speed cellular networks, helping customers to be more productive than ever and to make the most of their time on the go.” Bell, Rogers and Telus in Canada will be the first carriers to offer RIM’s new tablet, and it will become available on August 9th. Pricing was not announced. RIM’s full press release follows below. More →
While Apple (AAPL) prepares to attack the affordable tablet market with a smaller, cheaper iPad, Research In Motion (RIMM) is taking the opposite approach. RIM has been toying with a 10-inch tablet for quite some time, and the project was reportedly sidelined last year as focused shifted to the struggling vendor’s next-generation BlackBerry 10 smartphones. Recent rumors suggest the larger PlayBook has been resurrected, however, and will debut some time next year. A user on Vietnamese forum Tinhte published purported images of the device and we have no reason to doubt their authenticity. Few details are found in the photographs beyond the fact that it looks like a larger version of RIM’s 7-inch slate, and we can also see a 7,250 mAh battery in one image. There is also “BlackBerry 4G PlayBook” branding on the bottom of the tablet, so it’s safe to assume it will at least ship with an HSPA+ radio. More →
Apple released its third-generation iPad on March 16th and I purchased mine one day later on the 17th. There were no lines at my local Best Buy when I went to buy the new model. In fact, there were still more than 100 new iPads in stock when I picked up my iPad more than 36 hours after it was released. The store was eerily quiet. It felt nothing like an Apple launch. More →
I saw from the inside and outside how RIM transformed the mobile landscape, and how the company even battled its own inner demons throughout the years. Here are my thoughts on the company’s worst quarter in five years:
RIM grew incredibly fast. It grew faster than the company knew how to manage, and RIM slowly — and then quickly — slipped as a result. This is the company that used to make users choose between a device with Wi-Fi and no GPS, or GPS and no Wi-Fi, just to have two products on the market instead of one. This is the company that refused to take the consumer market seriously for a number of years. This is the company that couldn’t see the future when it was right in front of them. More →
With expectations at an all-time low and analysts lowering estimates left and right, Research In Motion on Thursday reported its results for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2012. RIM posted a surprising beat in the third fiscal quarter when it managed earnings of $1.27 per share on $5.2 billion in sales. At the same time, however, the Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry maker issued worse than expected fourth-quarter EPS guidance of between $0.80 and $0.95, and it said revenue would likely fall between $4.6 billion and $4.98 billion. RIM has now confirmed adjusted net income of $0.80 per share, on revenue of $4.2 billion, down sequentially from $5.2 billion despite the launch of multiple new BlackBerry 7 smartphone models. Read on for more. More →
Research In Motion is set to report its results for the fourth fiscal quarter and full fiscal year on Thursday, and Wall Street is bracing itself for another disappointing quarter. RIM’s fourth-quarter guidance came in worse than expected when the company posted its third-quarter results, and now several analysts are lowering their expectations even further. Pulling no punches, Barclays Capital’s Jeff Kvaal wrote in a note to investors titled “Grim and getting grimmer” that BlackBerry 7 sales have been poor thus far, and he has lowered his projections as a result. Read on for more. More →
Research In Motion on Wednesday confirmed that the PlayBook tablet will eventually receive an update to unify its operating system with next-generation BlackBerry smartphones.The PlayBook’s first major update was delayed by several months and the device still does not support BlackBerry Messenger, but RIM vice president of product management Rob Orr stated that the tablet will be upgraded from the PlayBook OS to BlackBerry 10 some time after the company launches its first BlackBerry 10 smartphone in the third or fourth quarter. “We’ve said publicly a number of times that our first BB10 handset will be available towards the end of 2012, and that’s still firmly the case,” Orr told TechRadar. “At some point after the launch we’ll bring BB10 to our PlayBooks, yes.” RIM took a $485 million charge related to the PlayBook in its fiscal third quarter, but it did manage to increase sales by slashing the price of the 7-inch slate. Now that all those tablets are in the hands of consumers, the hope is that RIM will manage to release a timely BlackBerry 10 update to ensure all the new features RIM is planning to introduce with BlackBerry 10 become available on tablets as quickly as possible. More →
Research in Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook may be down, but it’s definitely not out. Over a year ago, the company revealed plans to release an LTE-compatible PlayBook as well as a 3G model that will work on HSPA+ networks. Details surrounding these variants have been few and far between, with some assuming they were simply canceled. As it turns out, two tablets from Research in Motion recently passed through the FCC equipped with HSPA+ connectivity and AT&T compatible LTE radios. BGR in January exclusively reported details about RIM’s plans to introduce a new PlayBook tablet around May or June that will be equipped with a 1.5GHz processor, built-in HSPA+ and NFC support. More →
Following the much delayed BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 update, the tablet finally has a native email client, other PIM apps and a larger selection of apps thanks to its Android player. Research in Motion is now looking to further boost interest in its debut slate, and it has announced the BlackBerry Mini Keyboard for those users looking for a physical keypad option on top of the virtual one. The accessory retails for a lofty $119.99 and is available for pre-order starting today, with shipments going out on March 23rd. The concept of the keyboard is similar to the competition. It includes a multitouch trackpad for browsing, a keyboard for easy input and a battery that last up to 30 days. Unlike the ASUS Transformer Prime, RIM’s accessory does not have a docking feature and is just a carrying case with an integrated Bluetooth keyboard. RIM’s video demonstation follows below. More →