You have to feel somewhat sorry for RIM: it was king of the mobile world for a decade, especially in the business sector. The word "BlackBerry" meant getting the top-of-the-line phone, a smart gadget you and your business just couldn't live without. By 2008, RIM owned 44.5-percent of the smartphone category it actually helped create.
But then the iPhone train arrived, plowing through RIM's marketshare and seemingly changing the way the world computes. The company dismissed Apple's entry, poking fun at the gadget's lack of a QWERTY keyboard. Now RIM, pounded by a tag team comprising of both Apple's iOS and Google's reigning mobile champ Android, is eying its upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform as a "make it or break it" scenario.
"I think we have a clear shot at being the No. 3 mobile ecosystem in the world," said RIM Chief Executive Thorsten Heins following his speech at the BlackBerry Jam Americas conference in San Jose, Calif. "We’re working hard. We’re not sleeping much. I’m not stopping until this company is where it belongs."
Frank Boulben, RIM's new Chief Marketing Officer, said that the company is preparing a three-phrase marketing push for BlackBerry 10. The first stage will consist of pushing out information to key "influencers" including celebrities, corporate tech executives, analysts and reporters. The second stage will comprise of a digital marketing campaign that will run through the platform's launch. Naturally the third stage will feature an all-out advertising assault.
Later Heins was asked why his goal was only to be #3 in the smartphone sector, falling in behind Android and iOS. He responded by saying that "you have to climb the mountain step by step." Heins also said he's moving the company as fast as he possibly can despite the rapid advancements Apple and Google are making. Windows Phone 8 is on the horizon as well, featuring even more connectivity with the Windows platform than its predecessor. Still, it's not too late for RIM, he said.
Speaking of Windows, Heins seems to envision a "post-PC" era where mobile consumers only travel with two devices: their smartphone and a tablet-like device. He even stated that "you won’t carry these laptops with you," pointing at the laptops used by reporters. His view follows an industry-wide belief that the desktop and tablet form factors will eventually merge, creating a hybrid device. We're already seeing evidence of this as Windows 8 nears.
AllThingsD said that Heins declined to talk about how BlackBerry 10 will interact with RIM's current infrastructure. However Boulben said that the company will have different tiers of service without offering further details. The duo also wouldn't talk about offering unlocked phones directly to consumers although Heins said that "right now, the carrier is our channel partner, make no mistake."