BlackBerry – Keyboard = Profit?

When is a BlackBerry not a BlackBerry? Research In Motion is hoping the answer isn’t “when there’s no keyboard.”

Yep, in one of several gambles designed to revive what sure looks like a dying brand, RIM is releasing at least one touchscreen model for the much-delayed BlackBerry 10 operating system. There’ll be others with physical keyboards, but it looks like another attempt to expand the brand’s appeal beyond security-conscious business users who need to type frequently.

This won’t be the first touchscreen BlackBerry: back in 2008 and 2009 two models known as the Storm had a mixed reception at best.

The logic this time round seems to be to target as wide an audience as possible, figuring that this can make even a small market share profitable. The biggest problem is that touchscreen immediately invites comparisons with iPhones, high-end Android models and even Windows Phones, and those comparisons may not be all that favorable.

Going for a wider audience also means targeting people who use smartphones as mini-computers rather than e-mail machines, and even if it’s a lost cause, RIM is trying to build up its apps range.

It’s offering cash rewards to developers who come up with moderately successful applications: if you develop an app, get it certified as meeting a quality standard (a process as yet unconfirmed), and do at least $1,000 in sales, you become eligible for a bonus. The bonus isn’t fixed: instead it’s simply a guarantee you’ll get at least $10,000 revenue in the first year, with the RIM bonus making up any shortfall.

Though RIM hasn’t confirmed this, there will surely have to be some protection against people simply paying enough friends and colleagues to buy the app to the tune of a thousand bucks and then collecting a pretty sweet return a year later.


4 Responses to BlackBerry – Keyboard = Profit?

  1. I had the storm and actually like it. Unfortunately, the surepress feature worked best after about 2 weeks of use, it was a bit tight before that.

    That being said I will not go back to RIM because after the phone failed to meet expectations it seemed like before each update the phone became buggier. By the end I knew when the update was needed by how hard my phone became to use. Worst yet, the phone had to be plugged up to receive most updates, they had a mobile up date function, but it almost never worked.

  2. Um, RIM actually have a keyboard -less model in their current line up. The Torch is available either with or without a keyboard. The one without a keyboard is essentially a Storm3, but without the clicky screen or the tainted name.

  3. I actually hope that RIM is successful with this product, competition is good for both consumers and companies, it gives us the "consumers" options and pushes companies to be innovated. And right now the only competition that Apple has is Android, which is a blatant rip off on look and feel of iOS…at least companies like RIM and Microsoft are totally radical different interfaces. I dunno, time will tell I guess.

  4. there is a reason I haven't moved to a different phone/system, I like my keyboard. I switched for about 6 months, hated it. I'm a heavy texter, and I have nails, not necessarily long, but enough, so using a flat screen is just not comfortable. I have an iPod Touch so its not like I haven't tired it, just don't like it. I wish them the best but I think they need to bring in a someone new who has different ideas.

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