Is it too late for RIM to play catchup?
BlackBerry, a once highly regarded smartphone brand, now an outdated platform with the same ol' form factor we saw introduced around ten years ago. RIM has been in a two-year slump and has done little to change it until recently with their acquisitions and somewhat adventurous form factor.
Now that they have decided to get the ball rolling, is it too late? When their slump began, iOS was established and putting on the finishing touches; Android was just hitting the market in its early form, wowing people for the first time; webOS was in the same boat as Android, but not in quite as prosperous of a position; and Windows Phone 7 was just an idea that had yet to come to life.
Things have changed quite a bit in the time that RIM has been sitting on their heels, contemplating what to do. Apple has refined iOS and honed in on some of the less-than-spectacular aspects of the OS to make it more appealing and user friendly; Android has put out multiple updates and turned what was early, maybe even beta software, into a very solid operating system; webOS is preparing for round two; and Windows Phone 7's launch was considered a great success.
A few days ago we saw exactly how much Verizon's new push for Android has affected BlackBerry sales, and it's about the same story across the board, with AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. As carriers expand their smartphone lineup with different mobile platforms and unique form factors, RIM will have a mountain to climb, a near vertical ascent, to even get back on track.
Even with the help of QNX, the PlayBook, TAT's amazing user interface concepts, and the Torch's improving sales, it would take a lot to restore customer faith in the former mobile king. Sure, they're learning to adapt. They're pulling many different amazing technologies together to cram them into one device and create the ultimate FrankenBerry. If RIM can pull it off and they can impress customers with new, modernized software, what then? Will they grow complacent and fall behind again? Or have they learned their lesson? Only time will tell. I know that not a lot of people will be willing to risk getting left in the DOS ages again, will you?