Speaking with PCMag recently, RIM’s vice president of developer relations and ecosystem development Alec Saunders said that the company’s early BBX-powered smartphones will not resemble the popular BlackBerry Bold form factor. The first BBX devices will instead look like smaller versions of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and will come equipped with screens sporting a 16:9 aspect ratio and a 1024 x 600-pixel resolution. Saunders also said the first BBX phones will support BlackBerry Enterprise Server. BGR’s exclusively reported in August that the Waterloo, Canada-based company was building a special version of BES for its new BBX devices. According to rumors, RIM is rushing to get the BlackBerry Colt out of the door in light of BlackBerry 7 device sales that have reportedly underwhelmed, and it is expected to make its debut during the first quarter of next year.
Research In Motion this week revealed a limited-time offer that aims to bolster sales of its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to enterprise customers. Between now and December 31st, BlackBerry business customers who purchase two PlayBook tablets from an authorized reseller will get a third PlayBook for free. They will also receive one free premium accessory for every two PlayBook tablets purchased, and they may choose from a black leather sleeve, a charging pod or a 6-foot HDMI cable. While some find that RIM’s PlayBook gets the job done as a recreational tablet, business customers may not share that opinion. BGR exclusively reported on Tuesday that RIM would be delaying the OS 2.0 update that will bring email and other PIM services to the device until next year. RIM confirmed our report later that evening, and also confirmed that standalone BBM capabilities would not be included in the February software release. More →
BGR reported exclusive details of RIM’s upcoming BBX-based smartphone code-named the BlackBerry Colt earlier this year, and we have since heard that there is going to be a big emphasis on video calling with the company’s first super smartphone. This obviously means the device will feature a front-facing camera. As far as the BlackBerry PlayBook goes, RIM recently demoed OS 2.0 for the PlayBook, an update to the original OS that brings Android app compatibility along with native email and PIM access. As we reported before, however, there were tremendous obstacles that have prevented Research In Motion from shipping native email, calendar, contacts, BlackBerry Messenger, and other core system apps on the new QNX-based operating system. RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said during the company’s last earnings call that the PlayBook would see an update in October but unfortunately, RIM is still struggling with these challenges. Hit the break for more. More →
Research In Motion on Thursday responded to a market rumor suggesting that production of its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet had been stopped, and it was considering an exit from the tablet market. “RIM doesn’t typically comment on rumors, but any suggestion that the BlackBerry PlayBook is being discontinued is pure fiction,” a RIM spokesperson told BGR in an email. “RIM remains highly committed to the tablet market.” BGR reported earlier on a note from Collins Stewart analyst John Vinh stating that RIM’s manufacturing partner Quanta had been ordered to discontinue production of the BlackBerry PlayBook in light of weak sales. Vinh also said that RIM was canceling development of future tablets.
Research In Motion has reportedly stopped production of its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and is considering exiting the space altogether. Collins Stewart analyst John Vinh made the claims in a note to investors Thursday morning, citing anonymous sources at RIM’s manufacturing partner Quanta. “While Quanta last week acknowledged that it had laid off a significant number of production workers from a factory focused on producing the PlayBook, our research indicates that the ODM has essentially halted production of the tablet, Vinh wrote. “Additionally, our due diligence indicates that RIMM has canceled development of additional tablet projects.” The move would be drastic, but hardly unforeseen; RIM shipped 500,000 PlayBook tablets in the slate’s launch quarter, and only 200,000 more during its first full quarter of availability. Multiple analysts have anticipated the PlayBook’s demise, and it appears as though they may have been right. RIM launched its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet on April 19th of this year.
UPDATE: A RIM spokesperson dismissed Vinh’s report and supplied BGR with an official statement, which can be found here, via email.
During Droidcon at the Eastern European Mobile Monday Developer Summit, Research In Motion engineers outlined several key Android features that the BlackBerry PlayBook will not support. The news could sting PlayBook owners who were hoping to milk more functionality out of the device with upcoming support for apps built for Google’s mobile operating system. According to thinq_, RIM will remove all support for widgets, apps created with the Native Development Kit, Live Wallpaper support, SIP and SIP VoIP support, Google Maps, text-to-speech, cloud-to-device messaging and in-app billing services. Distimo recently reported that 68% of the 25 top-grossing apps in the Android Market offer in-app purchases, so the omission of in-app billing services is a particularly big blow, though it could certainly be seen coming. RIM is expected to issue a software update next month that will add the Android app player along with PIM support. More →
We just saw the Amazon Kindle Fire in person, and it really is about as close as it comes to a BlackBerry PlayBook as far as the exterior goes. It’s nearly identical save for the Amazon branding, and the lack of a camera and microphone. The touch panel and screen are the same, and the exterior casing is almost an exact replica. As far as the software, Amazon’s heavily-customized Android OS looks to be just perfect for what Amazon intend for users to do with this tablet — watch movies, read books, play music, browse the web and spend money on Amazon services. We saw games being played, movies being watched, and the web browser in use, and while it was mostly smooth, there were notable hiccups and stutters when switching between apps and tasks. All in all, at $199, it’s an incredibly compelling offer, though the new Kindle or Kindle touch for $79 and $99, respectively, seem more attractive to us in addition to an iPad or Android tablet. Check the gallery below for our hands-on images and check out the video after the break!
Research In Motion’s retail partners have begun slashing prices on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet in an effort to bolster unimpressive sales. RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie confirmed on the company’s second-quarter earnings call that price drops were imminent after the company reported just 200,000 units shipped into channels during the tablet’s first full quarter of availability. BGR reported reported earlier this month that Rogers employees were able to purchase the PlayBook starting at $250, and now the general public can finally get in on the action. Read on for more.
Updated with a statement from RIM below. More →
Apple’s wildly popular iPad 2 will have “free run” in the tablet market this holiday season according to market research firm Gartner. As many Apple competitors continue to spin their wheels, Gartner says global tablet sales are on pace to total 63.6 million units in 2011. Only 17.6 million consumer tablets were sold in 2010, and Apple accounted for the overwhelming majority of sales. The firm anticipates that Apple will account for 73.4% of tablets sold in 2011 — a figure that coincides with earlier estimates — and Gartner says Android will be a distant second in the tablet space this year. “We expect Apple to maintain a market share lead throughout our forecast period by commanding more than 50 percent of the market until 2014,” said Gartner VP Carolina Milanesi in a statement. “This is because Apple delivers a superior and unified user experience across its hardware, software and services. Unless competitors can respond with a similar approach, challenges to Apple’s position will be minimal.” Gartner’s full press release follows below.
Research In Motion is reportedly slowing production of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet following its second-quarter earnings report, during which the vendor stated that only 200,000 PlayBooks were sold into sales channels in the quarter. RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie confirmed on the company’s earning call that the PlayBook would begin to see price reductions, and the beginnings of RIM’s effort to push PlayBooks off store shelves can likely be seen in an employee-only sale at Rogers. According to a new report, however, RIM isn’t overly optimistic that its efforts with the PlayBook will pay off. Read on for more. More →
In spite of Research In Motion’s recent fiscal second-quarter earnings report, which missed Wall Street’s consensus and RIM’s own estimates, not everyone is jumping ship just yet. Investment bank Macquarie Capital Markets reiterated its Outperform rating on RIM stock this past Friday, and it maintained its 12-month price target of $42. The firm noted that RIM’s low shipment volume (10.6 million units) ahead of the BlackBerry 7 product refresh is less disconcerting than most believe in light of the 13.7 million devices that were sold to customers. Macquarie also sees improved ASPs and sell-through leading to a rebound in the second half. Read on for more. More →
Research In Motion co-CEO Jim Balsillie revealed on the company’s second-quarter earnings call that RIM would soon be dropping prices on its BlackBerry PlayBook tablets. While the new price points have not yet been disclosed, it looks like the first move in carriers’ efforts to clear their shelves actually started this past Tuesday. Long-time RIM comrade Rogers has launched an internal sale on each of RIM’s three PlayBook models, and company employees are now able to purchase the slate at discounts of up to 50% off. Normally $499.99, the 16GB BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is now just $249, the 32GB model drops to $349 from $599.99, and the high-end 64GB PlayBook drops to $399 from its normal $699.99 price tag. While it is unclear what RIM plans to charge end users for the PlayBook moving forward, these prices could give us an idea of what’s in store. A link to a larger version of the image of Rogers’ PlayBook sale page follows below. More →
Among the firms losing hope in Research In Motion following another dismal earnings report, Ticonderoga Securities is telling investors to be cautious with RIM. Analyst Brian White fails to see the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow, and suggests that competitors — Apple, in particular — are beating RIM to the punch. ”In our view, the fall of RIMM with its ‘too-little-too-late’ BlackBerry refresh will continue to add to Apple’s momentum that we believe could be off the charts with the iPhone 5 launch,” White wrote in a note to investors on Friday. Read on for more. More →