Tired Designs Are Turning Off Consumers

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-08-03 Print this article Print

5. Consumers are driving sales

The biggest issue for RIM is that its latest and greatest smartphones appeal more to enterprise users. But as recent changes in the mobile space have shown, it's the consumer that is driving sales today. Apple's iPhone is easily besting all other handsets-which forces competing vendors to try to come up with something to match it. In the IT world today, consumerization continues to take hold. Nowadays, consumers are determining which devices succeed, and that's not a good thing for RIM.

6. The timing is off

One of the biggest problems with RIM's latest slate of smartphones is that they're launching at the wrong time of the year. Later this month, the devices will start launching, which means they'll likely come out just a few weeks to a little over a month before Apple's iPhone 5. That device is expected to launch anywhere between mid-September to late October. Once it does, it will have a dramatically negative effect on RIM's BlackBerry sales. RIM's latest handsets would have performed much better if they had been released last month.

7. Consumers don't like their predecessors

History tends to be consumers' guide when they buy a new smartphone. When it comes to consumers, there isn't much to like about RIM's recent market history. As mentioned, the company's products have proven rather "old school," and this latest lineup is no different. RIM had an opportunity to show consumers a new side of its operation with these devices, but instead, it showed them the same old thing.

8. The corporate world is changing

As mentioned above, consumerization of IT is changing which smartphones are being used in the corporate world. But it's worth noting that IT preferences have changed, as well. Gone are the days when IT decision makers would only authorize purchases of BlackBerry devices for corporate use. Nowadays, they're open to using the iPhone and would even try out Android-based offerings, like the Motorola Droid Pro. That's bad news for RIM, and it could have a profound impact on sales of its latest smartphones.

9. RIM is forcing the customer's hand

When it comes to marketing products, companies typically employ a "push" or a "pull" strategy. In the mobile market, Apple uses the "push" option by delivering iPhones with new features that reflect innovative thinking. These new features compel customers to look at them and more often than not, to decide to buy. Every other handset maker is using a "pull" strategy by giving customers what they want and luring them in. RIM, however, is trying to play Apple's "push" game, but by thrusting tired designs that reflect old thinking onto users. That doesn't work, and it will come back to haunt RIM.

10. Developers don't really care

In the mobile space, developers are becoming increasingly important to the vitality of an operating system. Unfortunately for RIM, however, many of those developers have ignored its operating system and gone to iOS and Android. RIM's latest five smartphones could have changed the company's luck with smartphone buyers had they been innovative. But they're not. In fact, they're just more of the same. And for developers, more of the same means RIM still isn't ready for their attention.

Follow Don Reisinger on Twitter by clicking here 


Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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