Research In Motion has set Jan. 30, 2013, as the launch date for the new BlackBerry 10 enterprise mobile platform and devices as the company hopes to lure back enterprise users who have fled for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android alternatives in recent years.
The BlackBerry 10 Launch date was announced Nov. 12 for the new operating system and for two new BlackBerry 10 smartphones, according to the company. The launch will happen simultaneously in multiple countries around the world.
“In building BlackBerry 10, we set out to create a truly unique mobile computing experience that constantly adapts to your needs,” Thorsten Heins, president and CEO of RIM, said in a statement. “Our team has been working tirelessly to bring our customers innovative features combined with a best-in-class browser, a rich application ecosystem, and cutting-edge multimedia capabilities. All of this will be integrated into a user experience—the BlackBerry Flow—that is unlike any smartphone on the market today.”
For RIM, the release of the new OS and devices couldn’t come quickly enough as the beleaguered company has been rapidly losing market share to Apple’s iOS devices and Google’s Android devices for some time. Part of the problem was that RIM just didn’t keep up with innovations that enterprise users wanted in their devices, which let Apple and Android eat RIM’s lunch.
An IDC study released Nov. 1 showed that Android was the operating system of choice on 136 million smartphones shipped around the world in the third quarter, which was 75 percent of the 181.1 million smartphones that shipped. That number is five times the 14.9 percent market share of Apple’s iOS for the same period.
Compare that to RIM’s BlackBerry, which shipped only 7.7 million smartphones in the quarter, according to IDC, and that shows just how tough things have been for what was once the gold standard in enterprise mobile device market share. The report showed remarkable progress for the four-year-old Android OS against competition that includes the widely popular Apple iOS, a drastically smaller BlackBerry market, Microsoft’s multiple Windows Phone efforts and the rest of a straggling field.
RIM Finally Launching BlackBerry 10 Jan. 30
Apple shipped 26.9 million smartphones in the quarter, according to the report. For Android, that was a 91.5 percent year-over-year jump from the 71 million Android smartphones shipped in the same quarter one year ago. Symbian shipped on 4.1 million units, Windows Phone 7 or Windows Mobile shipped on 3.6 million devices and Linux shipped on 2.8 million units.
Among the new features of BlackBerry 10 are:
- A wide variety of new applications, including games, productivity options, social media apps, lifestyle apps as well as apps aimed at business and enterprise use, according to RIM.
- BlackBerry Flow and BlackBerry Hub, a new user interface that allows seamless navigation across open applications and the BlackBerry Hub. All messages, notifications, feeds, and calendar events come into the BlackBerry Hub and are available for instant access by the user.
- The new BlackBerry Keyboard, which learns how you write and adapts to how you type to help users type faster and more accurately, according to RIM.
- BlackBerry Balance, which for the first time separates business data from the user’s personal data on the device for increased security and privacy. Users can switch back and forth easily, according to RIM, while the work profile is fully encrypted and secure to protect enterprise data and assets.
RIM received some good news Nov. 8 when it also announced that its new BlackBerry 10 OS and smartphones have received Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) certification, making them the first BlackBerry products to be FIPS-certified ahead of launch.
FIPS certification, which proves that the devices and OS meet the strict security requirements of government agencies and enterprises, is critical to RIM’s efforts to lure back and retain its customers in these two key markets.
The release of BlackBerry 10 has been pushed back twice in the past, so the launch date is a good first step toward again trying to grow its user base.
Once a smartphone market leader, RIM continues to lose share to Apple’s iPhone and Android-running smartphones. According to a Nov. 8 report from Canalys, RIM’s market share fell to 4.2 percent during the third quarter—down from nearly 10 percent a year ago—while Samsung increased its share to 32 percent and Apple claimed 15.5 percent.
The rise of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and mobile computing trends in the enterprise also has made life more difficult for RIM, enabling employees to bypass traditional company-issued BlackBerry devices and use their own personal smartphones, such as the iPhone, for work.
Even customers in regulated industries such as government—once RIM’s uncontested bread and butter—have lost patience or interest in the older BlackBerry handsets and have moved on.
The Pentagon, for the first time, has agreed to support Android and Apple devices, as well as BlackBerry smartphones, The Washington Post reported Oct. 28.
Days earlier, The New York Times spread the news that Booz Allen Hamilton, a consulting company with 25,000 employees who provide services to the U.S. Army, the Department of Homeland Security and the Navy, among other government agencies, had begun decommissioning its BlackBerry server.
Earlier in November, Pacific Crest Securities analyst James Faucette made headlines—and did RIM no favors—by telling investors in a research note that BlackBerry 10 “is likely to be dead on arrival.”