We’ve just heard from a trusted source that the dummy device The Verge posted an image of earlier today is indeed a real BlackBerry, and it should in fact launch as the company’s first BBX-based smartphone. Our source told us that the BlackBerry Colt, the first QNX-based handset RIM had been working on that looked just like a smaller PlayBook, was scrapped in favor of the BlackBerry London. In terms of release timing, it’s looking like the London is slated to launch some time in the third quarter next year, possibly late in the quarter. Remember, RIM still has not been able to get BES or BBM working on BBX devices — probably the only two features BlackBerry phones are still known for these days — so launch details are anything but firm right now.
One of RIM’s first BBX BlackBerry devices could be the BlackBerry London, pictured above. The London is purportedly equipped with a dual-core TI OMAP processor clocked at 1.5GHz, 16GB of storage, an 8-megapixel camera, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera for video chat and 1GB of RAM. The Verge said that the London, which could make its debut next year, is about the same thickness as a Samsung Galaxy S II and thinner than the iPhone 4. RIM is also reportedly working on a thinner BlackBerry Torch with a 3.7-inch screen and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The Verge says that the authenticity of the above image and reported specs is questionable, so this could just be a hoax. In either case, we like that someone is designing a sexy new smartphone for RIM.
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.
Following news that multiple retailers across North America have begun to offer deep discounts on Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook, retail giant Best Buy is now offering the best deal yet on RIM’s troubled tablet. BGR reported on Monday that retailers such as Staples and Office Depot were offering sale pricing on the PlayBook, and Best Buy Canada was among the shops mentioned. Now, Best Buy here in the U.S. is following suit and knocking $200 off of its PlayBook pricing. Unlike other retailers, however, Best Buy is taking off the full $200 at the point of purchase, rather than offering a $100 discount and a $100 gift card like other retailers, including Best Buy Canada, are doing. The discount means RIM’s 16GB PlayBook tablet will cost just $299.99, the 32GB model is $399.99 and the 64GB version is $499.99. A Best Buy spokesperson confirmed to BGR that this is a limited-time sale running from now through October 8th.
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 →
Research In Motion on Thursday reported its earnings results for the fiscal second quarter. Revenue and EPS both missed estimates; the vendor reported revenue of $4.17 billion and earnings of $0.80 per share. RIM had previously forecast revenue of between $4.2 billion and $4.5 billion and earnings of between $0.75 and $1.05 per share for its August quarter, and Wall Street expected second-quarter revenue of $4.47 billion and EPS of $0.88. Net income in the second quarter totalled $329 million. RIM also had projected handset shipments to reach between 11 and 12.5 million units, but missed there as well — the company shipped only 10.6 million BlackBerry phones in its August quarter. RIM still managed to push its subscriber base past 70 million for the first time, up 40% year-over-year. As for RIM’s QNX tablet, PlayBook shipments fell well below expectations; the company only shipped 200,000 units during the device’s first full quarter of availability, less than half of analysts’ expectations (700,000). RIM shipped 500,000 PlayBooks in its previous quarter. The company’s stock fell 11% immediately following its report. Full press release after the break. RIM’s full press release follows below. More →
Research In Motion will report its quarterly earnings on Thursday and analysts predict that it will miss sales estimates for its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. A group of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg estimate RIM sold 490,000 PlayBooks during the quarter and predict, on average, the Waterloo, Canada-based company will sell a total of 2.2 million BlackBerry PlayBooks for the year. By comparison, Apple shipped 9.25 million iPads during the last quarter. “RIM overplayed the PlayBook in terms of its sales and prospects,” Needham & Co analyst Charlie Wolf told Bloomberg. “What this really shows is that the company’s prospects will depend on the next generation of BlackBerrys.” RIM recently introduced its first batch of BlackBerry 7 powered smartphones and we gave the devices lukewarm reviews. Its first QNX-powered smartphone, the BlackBerry Colt, is expected to launch during the first quarter of 2012. “RIM hasn’t given up on the PlayBook, but it’s clearly off to a poor start,” Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley said. Walkley estimates RIM will ship 1.5 million PlayBooks this year. Samsung is expected to ship 7 million tablets and Apple will sell 39.2 million iPads, Walkley said. More →
As RIM prepares to report its earnings on Thursday for the second fiscal second quarter of 2012, all eyes are turning north following the Waterloo, Ontario-based vendor’s first-quarter report, which was something of a bloodbath. RIM’s first quarter performance wasn’t abysmal — the company did see gains in several international markets — but it missed the Street’s consensus by a wide margin, trimmed its second-quarter guidance and stated that would soon be laying off workers in an effort to streamline operations. RIM has since launched its first wave of BlackBerry 7 smartphones and while sales of its new devices won’t really be reflected in its second-quarter earnings, some analysts still believe RIM could beat Wall Street’s expectations when it reports later this week. Read on for more. More →
Research In Motion is said to be rushing its first QNX-powered smartphone to market in light of underwhelming BlackBerry 7 devices sales. In a note to investors on Friday, Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek suggested demand for RIM’s new smartphones is not meeting expectations. An earlier report indicated that sales to enterprise customers have been solid thus far, while consumer demand may be lacking. Misek’s checks indicate that sales of BackBerry 7 phones to carriers is “just okay,” while sales of older BlackBerry smartphones continues to decline. The analyst believes follow up orders from carriers will also fall short of expectations, and RIM’s quarterly earnings could take a hit as a result. Read on for more. More →
Retail giant Best Buy is currently offering Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet at a discount for Labor Day. For a limited time, RIM’s tablet can be had for as little as $449.99 for the 16GB model, a $50 discount. The 32GB and 64GB PlayBook models are both priced at $549.99, affording a $50 discount on the former and a $150 discount on the latter. The steeper discount on RIM’s high-end PlayBook may indicate that Best Buy is having trouble offloading the pricey tablet, which normally retails for $700. RIM announced on its earnings call in June that it had shipped 500,000 PlayBook tablets during the slate’s first partial quarter of availability. Since then, reports have been mixed; while many analysts have said RIM’s tablet is not selling well to end users, a major Australian retailer has gone on record with claims of “fantastic” PlayBook sales. Best Buy confirmed to BGR via email that its sale on BlackBerry PlayBook tablets will run through Labor Day, September 5th.
Purported images from version 2.0 of RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook OS have been published by a Chinese website. If authentic, they reaffirm several details about the upcoming OS — most notably, perhaps, is the platform’s lack of support for current versions of RIM’s BES enterprise email solution. BGR exclusively reported in early August that RIM has to rewrite its BES code in order to support the PlayBook’s QNX-based OS. As can be seen in the screenshot above, that rewrite is ongoing and as such, it looks like the next major tablet OS build will not support BES email despite finally adding native support for Exchange, IMAP and POP. Beyond that, another screenshot clearly shows an Android icon in the app menu, no doubt the Android Player RIM tablet fans have been clamoring for. Additional screenshots, including the one that shows RIM’s Android app player icon, follow below. More →