RIM’s Attempt at a Comeback
In yet another effort to gain back ground in the smartphone arena, RIM announced the release of three new Blackberry devices available this fall. The release includes the Torch 9810, Bold 9900, and Torch 9680. The Torch 9680 is a newer form of the previously released all-touch Blackberry Storm. Yep, the numbers can be confusing (unlike the simply named iPhone 3, 3GS and 4).
Blackberry is hoping to step back into the competition with these new models. Each phone is integrated with a new OS7 system which was announced in May. Blackberry has also released BBM 6. This new version of Blackberry Messenger connects apps to your messenger and also allows sharing of calendar entries and locations. VP of the BBM platform Alistair Mitchell said that the improved BBM is not the answer, but a way to improve user experience.
Blackberry phones still only offer 25,000 apps in their app store, compared to Apple’s half million and Android’s quarter million offerings. Even though they may be improving their most popular application, Blackberry is losing BBM friends.
RIM is also excited to release its first QNX-based smartphone, Blackberry Colt, slated for release in Q1 2012. The Colt is RIM’s first attempt at a catching up with the iOS and Android operating systems. The Colt is likely to have a single core-processor, while most running Android system use a dual or quad processor. The upcoming iPhone 5 will also have at least a dual core-processor. Even though the Colt a more powerful system to come January, only time will tell if it can compete.
RIM recently had to cut 2,000 jobs and its market share dropped 20 percent overnight, hinting at a grim future for RIM. According to a report by Piper Jaffery analyst Gene Munster, in a survey based on 216 mobile phone users, 64 percent of respondents plan on switching to an iPhone as their next mobile device. The largest group that would leave their old phone in the dust for an iPhone was Blackberry owners at 67 percent. Not a pretty picture for RIM.
Apple’s Sitting Pretty
While consumers have remained quite ho-hum about the new Blackberries, consumers and tech buffs alike have been speculating about the iPhone 5 pretty much since the 4 was released. It is predicted that the release of the iPhone 5 (rumored for release this September or October or November…does anyone actually know?) could help its market share come close to catching up with Android.
Even though Android still runs the market share with 48 percent (with Apple IOS following at 19 percent) Apple’s iPhone rules in revenue. In the recent Q2, Apple captured two thirds of mobile phone profits. That’s 66 percent of all of the profits in mobile phones from less than 20 percent of market share. Wow. Even though Android rules in the percentage of market shares, they cannot compete with Apple’s dollar.
Once the iPhone 5 launches, Android’s market growth may slow or freeze. In the same study conducted by Piper, 42 percent of Android users said they would switch to an iPhone.
Another factor that will come into play is the impact of Verizon Wireless. Verizon originally did not offer the iPhone at the release of the Android in 2009, aiding in Android market’s success. Now that both Verizon and Apple will be providing iPhone 4 and 5, Androids time in the spotlight may come to a close. This fall, we’ll be watching to see who comes out on top.
What Will be Glued to our Hands?
Once the iPhone 5 is released, it is safe to say that most people will be tapping away at the more than 500,000 apps on their iPhone. The Android market, especially the Samsung HTC model, will be present but we predict there will be fewer on the streets.
As for Blackberry, the smart phone that started it all may become an ancient artifact. Maybe even valuable on E-Bay someday as a collector’s item. For Blackberry to regain a strong presence, they’ll need a complete redesign or a miracle, whichever comes first.