RIM's annual event, BlackBerry World (formerly known as WES), is being held in Orlando, Florida on May 3-5. A few years ago there was always a lot going on for the Waterloo-based company (device launches, rumored devices making appearances, etc.), especially right before a big event.
This year has undoubtedly been a slow one for RIM, especially on the new device front. There were a few leaks over the past few months, but nothing particularly mind-blowing or out of the ordinary, and nothing in comparison to a few years ago. Rumor has it that only one device will be debuted at the Orlando event. If this is true, prepare for a yawn-inducing first few days in May.
Unfortunately, this is something I've feared for RIM for quite some time now. The excitement around their events has been waning ever so slowly. If you look at all the major events like CES, CTIA, and MWC, device releases and announcements are the high points of the events. Outing one device will likely be portrayed as very little progress from RIM and will probably translate to a bashing for the slow-moving giant.
It's worth noting that this is only a rumor, and quite honestly, one I find hard to believe. Why would RIM hold a three day event for one device? Their tablet – which I will touch on in a minute – is already available, so it won't be the highlight of the show. My guess is, we will probably see the other leaked devices as well, maybe a launch of the cross-platform BBM. Even if it is the lone device, rest assured RIM will be showing off all kinds of software-related goodies. But let's be honest, that's not what we want to hear. Not unless it's about QNX on handsets sometime before 2013.
Don't get me wrong, the Bold Touch is a phone that I used to only dream of and would have loved to have had...three years ago. But this phone, by itself, is hardly worthy of being the only device to show off at the three day event.
Something that just doesn't add up to me is the fact that RIM released the PlayBook – probably the most anticipated BlackBerry device for the past year or more – two weeks prior to their annual event. I'm sure it will have a strong presence at BlackBerry World and RIM will be demoing a lot of its future capabilities, but now the mystery is gone. Why didn't RIM just wait two more weeks?
This would have given them some time to iron out a few more kinks and it probably would have raised a little more excitement about the event itself. Now that the PlayBook is out and we all have a pretty good idea as to what RIM's 2011 roadmap looks like, there is little left to the imagination – which is usually the driving force behind the excitement of a tech event.
What do you think? Should RIM have waited two more weeks to release the PlayBook? Would it have mattered at all? Are you even interested in BlackBerry World?