Thursday, June 21, 2012

RIM ditches keyboards to offer touchscreen BlackBerry 10 devices

As we know, RIM has been struggling to sustain its position in the competitive smartphone space. The company has now begun to adapt to some changes and probably realized that keyboards may soon become passé. The market is inundated with devices that run on iOS, Android and Windows Phone, so, RIM’s newest Blackberry 10 operating system will not support a physical keyboard and will go all touch. It won’t be for the first time that RIM will launch phones with touchscreens, it has done so in the past and failed. There are some corporate users who still opt for Blackberry because of the ease of typing that QWERTY offers. The usual norm among people is that touchscreens are difficult to type on. Colin Gillis, an analyst with BGC Financial, called it puzzling that RIM isn’t leading with its strength by releasing a keyboard BlackBerry first. “The physical keyboard is the most dominant item that separates out Research In Motion from its competitors,” Gillis said. RIM's touchscreen devices running on Blackberry 10 are expected to hit markets later this year. The news also has it that RIM is likely to offer the Blackberry 10 OS for devices with physical keyboards but some time later. Reports claim that the first handset running on BlackBerry 10 using a physical QWERTY keypad is expected to release in the first quarter of 2013.

The prototpe goes official

Over the last couple of years, Google and Apple have been quick to deliver newer features and have been consistently updating their software for devices. However, RIM has faced so many delays that we wonder if users would be willing to wait. Moreover, considering the iPhone 5, Android’s Jelly Bean and Windows Phone devices are in the pipeline for release this year, RIM hasn’t been quick to deliver devices and this constant delay has cost it.. On the other hand, iPhone has been striving to assure corporate users that it isn’t just about style and can deliver corporate and security features too. Reportedly, an increasing number of top companies and government departments that were once devoted to the Blackberry are instead now giving some staff the option of using Apple's iPhone or smartphones running on Google's Android-operating system.

RIM has been pinning its hopes on the BlackBerry 10 system, which is said to offer multimedia, Internet browsing and apps experience that customers demand. Gills said,  “If you are not playing to your historical strengths you may find it more difficult to get traction. There is a spot in the market for RIM but the company “just got to get it together. Jefferies analyst Peter Misek says that BlackBerry 10 is all about touch and closing the gap with Apple, so there is no reason for people to be surprised about the only-touch device from RIM. “They are going to build a BlackBerry device with a keyboard, but it’s just going to take longer,” Misek said. “Maybe it will come a month or two after, but frankly it might be already too late.”

While RIM prepares to come out with a stronger device to compete with the iPhone, Apple moves a step ahead with a slew of new features. Android also has an army of high-end smartphones while Windows Phone 8 is likely to target high-end smartphones too. The competition is fierce, and RIM better buck up. 

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