Research in Motion (RIM) recently delayed the release of the BlackBerry 10, surprising no one considering the number of employees it had to lay off in the spring. Today, though, it looks as if RIM still has a plan to turn its business around and make a mobile market comeback miracle.
BlackBerryOS has obtained what they claim is a picture of RIM's product roadmap for its BlackBerry products. The image shows that RIM will be releasing its PlayBook 4G device on schedule this fall, followed by two different BlackBerry smartphones in the first quarter of 2013. One phone, codenamed London, will only have a touchscreen, but the other, codenamed Nevada, will have the classic BlackBerry physical keyboard. A product codenamed Nashville is scheduled for release in the middle of 2013, followed by a tablet codenamed the Blackforest, which BlackBerryOS claims is rumored to be a 10-inch BlackBerry tablet. A product codenamed Naples brings up the rear of RIM's plan going into the fourth quarter fo 2013.
BlackBerryOS reports that the London and Nevada smartphones will launch in Europe 3 to 4 weeks before North America (which, due to the messy wireless infrastructure of the U.S., is becoming standard for smartphones other than the iPhone). They claim that Europe has been more receptive to BlackBerry, and that an early European launch will give RIM time to build hype for worldwide sales.
All of these product launches are, of course, predicated on the assumption that RIM will still be around in the first quarter of 2013. In fact, with all of the layoffs at the company, it is hard to believe there is anyone left to finish development on the BlackBerry 10. RIM announced even more job cuts during the presentation of its first-quarter financial results. That financial report also revealed a net loss of $518 million over the quarter, and a 33% drop in revenue.
Take all of the delays, layoffs, and dismal financial reports together, and it is not at all clear that RIM in its current state will survive the year. Even if it does survive, it will be hard pressed to get back into the smartphone market, where it has been hemorrhaging market share for years. Though this leaked roadmap shows that RIM still has confidence in its products, that confidence might be misplaced, where pragmatism should be preparing the company for an acquisition.
(Picture courtesy BlackBerryOS.com)