The company’s best hope for a recovery, its next-generation BlackBerry 10 platform, has been pushed back to late next year. While executives blamed the later release of a new chip, Boy Genius Report said the real reason for the delay is the inability for RIM to get its core email and messenger services on the new platform.
“RIM is simply pushing this out as long as they can for one reason, they don’t have a working product yet,” the blog said, citing an anonymous source.
Research in Motion, however, denied the claim.
“As explained on our earnings call, the broad engineering impact of this decision and certain other factors significantly influenced the anticipated timing for the BlackBerry 10 devices,” the company said in an e-mailed statement to CNET. “The anonymous claim suggesting otherwise is inaccurate and uninformed.”
Last week, RIM executives dropped the warning, worrying investors and frustrating consumers.
“We ask for your patience and confidence,” Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said during a conference call to analysts.
Lazaridis, following up on co-CEO Jim Balsillie’s disclosure of the delay, explained that the smartphone processor that it has chosen, which would combine a dual-core chip with a more power-efficient 4G LTE radio, wouldn’t come out until the middle of the year. Lazaridis said RIM couldn’t provide the kind of BlackBerry experience customers were used to without this chip.
When the PlayBook launched, many were puzzled that RIM opted to not include its core services in the device. Instead, consumers would have to tether their BlackBerry to the tablet to enable access to the email, calendar and messenger features. Apparently, RIM still hasn’t figured out how to put those services on BlackBerry 10 devices, BGR reported. Likewise, developers using PlayBook 2.0 don’t have access to those features.
BGR’s source also told the blog that the BlackBerry 10 platform and ecosystem is inferior to the early versions of iOS and Android.
To fill the gap, RIM plans to launch a marketing campaign to promote its existing line of BlackBerry 7 smartphones, including commercials and special offers, similar to its effort to spark sales of the PlayBook. RIM’s tablet has largely been a bomb since its launch, with sales only picking up with the price going down to $199 ($99 in some rare instances).
Still, analysts on the call expressed skepticism over whether more commercials would spur BlackBerry phone sales, since devices that don’t shoot out of the gate quickly usually get lost as newer products come out. While the flagship BlackBerry Bold was well-received, the rest of its product portfolio has largely languished.
The torrent of Android smartphones hitting the market isn’t expected to slow down. Apple, meanwhile, is expected to put out a 4G LTE version of the iPhone next year, filling in what many see as its biggest missing feature. With RIM’s products struggling to compete now, they risk falling into the bargain bin in just a few months.