Research In Motion's next-generation operating system for its BlackBerry devices is no longer BBX. Now, the QNX-based platform is BlackBerry 10.
That renaming allows RIM to sidestep an increasingly thorny trademark battle with Basis International Ltd., which markets business software and claims the "BBX" name. The U.S. 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.
"The Court ... concludes that all of the -likelihood of confusion' factors weigh in favor of BASIS," read the order. "The BBX mark is identical to the mark which RIM is allegedly using to [present] its BBX product."
RIM then shifted course on the BBX name. "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.
RIM hopes its upcoming generation of "superphones" running BlackBerry 10 will help it beat back vicious competition from Google Android smartphones, Apple's iPhone and Microsoft's renewed Windows Phone push. In a bid to keep its product line fresh until that rollout, the company recently issued a slate of BlackBerry devices running BlackBerry 7 OS.
But according to some analysts, that hasn't been enough for RIM to hold the market share line.
"Looking in retrospect, we should have downgraded in mid-October," read a Nov. 28 research note from Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu, "when the stock was $24 and our supply chain checks indicated that while its new flagship BlackBerry Bold 9900 was doing decently, the rest of its product line was lagging."
In a Nov. 17 research note, Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley suggested that Apple's launch of the iPhone 4S had impacted sales of BlackBerry devices: "While our September/October checks indicated solid sales of new BlackBerry OS 7 models, especially the Bold 9000 series as an upgrade enterprise sale, our recent checks indicate slowing sales trends post the launch of the iPhone 4S and price reductions of the iPhone 4 and 3GS."
RIM has offered precious few details about BlackBerry 10's user interface or release date. That's likely to change as the release date for the actual devices approaches, and RIM begins to make a hard case for why the platform stands out against others on the market. In the meantime, one big question remains: What happened to BlackBerry 8 and 9?