Research In Motion decided to change the name of its next-generation mobile operating system from "BBX" to "BlackBerry 10."
That will allow RIM to dodge some thorny trademark issues. But when it comes to the longer-term success of the BlackBerry franchise, much will depend on how RIM decides to roll out the much-touted "superphones" loaded with BlackBerry 10. The company remains reluctant to announce an exact date for that release, although it is widely expected to be sometime within the next few quarters.
Although RIM has offered precious few details about any "superphone" hardware or software, BlackBerry-enthusiast Websites like CrackBerry have leaked purported images of the next-generation devices-including the "BlackBerry Milan," which imbues a slider form factor with some decidedly angular design language.
The specs for those devices, and how RIM decides to position them vis-??Ã-vis rivals on the market, such as Apple's iPhone and the rising numbers of Google Android and Windows Phone devices, will ultimately help determine whether RIM can reverse its eroding market share in the smartphone arena. That dip in users, combined with RIM's declining revenue, means those devices and accompanying strategy need to make their debut sooner rather than later.
RIM will also need to settle its trademark battle with Basis International Ltd., which markets business software and claims the "BBX" name. On Dec. 6, the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico issued a temporary restraining order Dec. 6 (case 1:11-cv-00953-WJ-ACT) preventing RIM from using "BBX" at its Singapore conference this week.
By virtue of it being a temporary restraining order, and the trademark battle still ongoing, it's not unconceivable that RIM could have eventually reached some sort of deal with Basis International for "BBX." However, RIM decided to be proactive and officially announce that its BBX operating system would henceforth become "BlackBerry 10."
"BlackBerry 10 is the official name of the next-generation platform that will power future BlackBerry smartphones," tweeted RIM's developer-relations team Dec. 6.
That decision, however permanent, could end up benefitting RIM by drawing a clear linkage to the past editions of its BlackBerry OS. As much as the company might want to make a clean break from its past-indeed, for months it has touted BBX, er, BlackBerry 10, as a major evolutionary leap, technologically speaking, from even the recent BlackBerry 7 OS-the company retains a sizable (albeit declining) base of genuine BlackBerry addicts who might not appreciate too radical a shift or become confused by an OS name-change.