RIM Aims to Build a Complete End-to-End Platform

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2012-07-06 Print this article Print


€œFor example, QNX, as a core OS, is found in at least 200 makes of vehicles that are out there,€ he said. €œThe way in which we communicate with our cars, the way in which we communicate with other embedded devices that are out there, will change dramatically. So when we talk about building a mobile computing platform, it goes beyond traditional device-to-device communications but is really an entire new ecosystem of connected machines.€

One of these, Devenyi added, €œwill be a mobile computing device that you carry around€”but it will extend well beyond that.€

During RIM€™s earnings call, Heins said that on top of a €œsolid mobile-device-management offering,€ RIM plans to €œbuild services that are value-added for our customers and generate incremental revenue for the company.€ Could Devenyi expand on this?

€œWe continue to invest extremely heavily in Mobile Fusion, so some of the capabilities that will be coming out from a Mobile Fusion perspective will include bringing Mobile Fusion to the cloud€”so that one does not need to deploy Mobile Fusion on premise, for certain corporations€”and adding a new level of security to non-BlackBerry devices, so that you can better manage those devices and secure the enterprise content on those devices,€ said Devenyi.

BYOD is another area on which RIM is heavily focused, he said. RIM€™s goal is to appeal to €œthe widest community possible,€ supporting both BYOD and corporate-owned devices in companies of all sizes. BlackBerry Mobile Fusion €œis all about providing that effective, easy-to-manage single pane of glass that can manage any device as securely as possible.€ That said, Devenyi added, €œWe firmly believe that there will always be some unique capabilities that differentiate BlackBerry devices from competitive devices.€

There have been rumors that RIM may be advised to split its handset business from its services business. Neil Mawston, executive director of the global wireless practice at Strategy Analytics, said that additional delays to the BlackBerry 10 platform have made it €œprobable that RIM will have to seek a white-knight partner.€

Mawston suggested that a merger with Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Google or even a private equity firm could save the company. However, he added that, with RIM still in a state of decline, many will be wary of €œtrying to catch a falling knife.€

With all the uncertainty, what message does RIM have for enterprise customers that may be understandably nervous?

€œWe have almost a quarter million BlackBerry enterprise servers in the world, and over 90 percent of the Fortune 500 are active BlackBerry customers. We are absolutely committed as an organization to supporting the continuing needs of what is a very important customer base to us,€ said Devenyi.

€œWe are very, very confident that we are going to get through this difficult transition a stronger company and offering a continued set of critical services to this loyal customer base that we have, and we intend to continue to serve them well and make sure the service they receive from us is top-notch and that we take them to a whole new level of capability as we introduce BlackBerry 10.€

At BlackBerry World 2012 in May, RIM showed off a very early version of a new device that will run BlackBerry 10€”the Alpha Dev€”which it gave to developers to work with. Immediately afterward, reports emerged that RIM was abandoning its physical keyboard. Will the first BlackBerry 10 smartphones be a mixture of devices with and without physical keyboards?

Indeed, said Devenyi, RIM will be releasing BlackBerry 10 devices that are €œboth pure touch-screen devices and BlackBerry keyboard devices, and both will be available in 2013. €¦ The keyboard devices will be available shortly after the touch-screen devices are available.€

Understanding that BlackBerry 10 is a complete platform, the smartphones that run on it will, no doubt, be critical to its success. RIM has, in the past, promised big but delivered devices that failed to truly intrigue consumers, as devices like Apple€™s iPhone and Samsung€™s Galaxy S III have. Is RIM€™s design team the same? Is the company confident it€™s going to release devices that will undoubtedly wow the world?

Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.

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