RIM is going to bring out two new smartphones running the BlackBerry 10 operating system on Jan. 30. It’s sad to say, but there is really no point in this because that ship has already sailed — there’s no hope for the company or BlackBerry smartphones.
The whole thing really comes down to “You snooze, you lose.” Starting back in 2007, Apple and Google introduced amazing smartphones and mobile operating systems that have changed the way we all access the Web, read email, play games… you name it. At the same time, RIM has done almost nothing. It’s barely tweaked the same old handsets it has offered since the second Bush Administration.
After years of wasting time, RIM finally woke up and threw together BlackBerry 10, but it’s just too late. That operating system will offer just about everything iOS and Android do, but it’s just not enough. Having a good OS isn’t enough any more, there also has to be a bunch of apps for it to get people interested. And it’s too late for BlackBerry to catch up.
Developers have made hundreds of thousands of apps for both Android and the iPhone. Because RIM has just started over, it can’t boast anywhere near that many. So even if the BlackBerry 10 operating system has all the features its rivals do, why would anyone pick it instead of something else that has way more app? From Angry Birds to Pintrest, without these any smartphone is going to fail hard.
Learning from the Past
Those who think BlackBerry is too big to fail need to learn a lesson from the past. Way before Apple and Google ever released smartphones there was Palm. This company made the dominant mobile devices from the mid 1990s a for at least a decade after that. Ten years ago, there were people who thought Palm could never fail.
And yet it did. Just like RIM, it created a successful mobile operating system and then coasted for years. Better competitors came along and Palm was beaten. It made a last-ditch attempt to re-invent itself with something called webOS, but that innovation was way too late. HP came along as a white knight and tried to save things, but it didn’t happen. Palm is now as dead as dead can be.
And this is exactly what’s going to happen to RIM. I’m sure BlackBerry 10 is going to get all kinds of awards and attention from professional smartphone reviewers, but darn few consumers are going to buy one. Just when things loom darkest for RIM a big multi-national corporation will swoop in and buy it, but that won’t actually mean anything. That large corporation will pull out all the good parts of RIM and throw away the rest.
And RIM will join Palm on the sad garbage heap of history.