While the US is mostly captivated by flashy widgets, app stores filled with 300,000 apps, and phones blazing at 1.5 GHz and 4G speeds, RIM has been hard at work, focusing on things that dig a little deeper than user interfaces, processor speeds, and even their new OS. Don't get me wrong, the Canadian-bred company is still hard at work with their new software, but they now have the aid of QNX Software Systems and can divide their attention accordingly. I'll admit, I've been rather hard on them myself, but I've been focusing mainly on their mainstay in the US market, not the big picture.
After the release of their Q3 results yesterday, we saw that RIM is actually doing really well for themselves and even surpassed quite a few estimates. Interestingly enough, upon Asymco's dissecting of the numbers, they unveiled an odd fact about RIM's results; 92% of RIM's growth was from outside of the US. This should come as no surprise though. As of April this year, RIM was deemed the fourth largest phone manufacturer in the world, and international growth is to be expected.
Personally, I've never doubted the company's ability to succeed, but I have doubted their tactics. RIM has always been slow to change, that's nothing new, but what's just now starting to show is that it isn't always a bad thing. It's easy to forget that this smartphone boom is still fairly young; therefore, there are still many emerging markets around the world. Some countries are still sporting 2G or just now upgrading to 3G networks. On networks like these, BlackBerrys excel and can dominate smartphone lineups, whereas modern mobile platforms can tear them down in an instant. It's been shown here in the US that Android devices and the iPhone are harsh and soon to surpass the capabilities of current networks. BlackBerrys are still very widespread in the US, but they barely leave a footprint on the network.
What RIM is doing, as stated by IntoMobile's Simon Sage, is eating up all the uncharted (smartphone) territory they can, initiating a cat and mouse style chase for global market share, only they're getting quite the head start. While still adapting BlackBerry OS to compete with OSes like Android and iOS, RIM will capture markets that other platforms would have a hard time surviving on. If this isn't their game plan, it should be, because it seems pretty solid.
RIM's Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis has spoken several times about the conservation of bandwidth and how important it is. BlackBerry fans and competitors alike lashed out at his absurd comments, but it appears as if his conservation theory is playing to his advantage. You don't just move 14.1 smartphones over the span of three months, so RIM must be doing something right. It's good to see RIM holding their own, and while I'm happy for their international success, I'm going to slip back into my US-only mindset. I'm ready to see a PlayBook, a Storm 3, and some of those beautiful concepts from TAT come to life, even if I am really good at containing my excitement.
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