BlackBerry, and RIM (Research in Motion) for that matter, seems to be taking unfortunate punches left and right these days.
The worst was when there was an outage that affected users in Europe, Middle East and Africa on the same day Apple Inc. launched its new iPhone 5. And though the problem was fixed in a few hours, many BlackBerry users recalled last yearâ??s problems when users were left unable to access email and chat messages for up to three days.
This is another bad news for RIM investors who have lost billions with the downward spiral of the company. RIM and BlackBerry was the buzzword in the mobile phone industry in 1999 when it invented the smartphone, which was revolutionary in the mobile industry. But presently, even Apple conquered Canada, by selling more iphones than RIM sold BlackBerrys. RIM had lost its Canadian stronghold. And it seems that it will also soon lose its hold on corporate clients as well. One such client is Halliburton, one of the largest oil field services companies with operations in more than 70 countries, and which employs over 60,000 people. Under its agreement with Apple, Halliburton employees will swap their BlackBerrys for iPhones.
Further, RIM announced about three months ago that they will be firing about 5,000 employees after they have posted a $518 million loss. And worse, RIMâ??s launch of its BlackBerry 10 platform has been delayed.
Most analysts are in agreement that what is driving RIM and BlackBerry to the ground is the companyâ??s failure to innovate. RIM had relied on its BBM messaging service which is a core strength of BlackBerry. But, Apple now has iMessage and WhatsApp.
However, many believe that RIM had stuck for so long to its buttons. While Apple had been building touch screen iPhones, ipads, and ipods, RIM had insisted in putting buttons on its phones. However, it must also be taken into account that some BlackBerry users loyally stand by their buttons. Some analysts say that the tactile touch is still important in the overall phone experience. Simple folks say that the ability to press keys in the phone by feel rather than by sight makes BlackBerrys way better than the iPhone and other touch screen phones.
But even in this area, it would seem that BlackBerry would even soon be losing its edge. A Californian start-up company called Tactus had recently announced that it now has the technology to make transparent buttons rise up out of a touchscreen and disappear. This new technology could be used in tablets, phone and remote controls. Tactus says â??the layer is flat and transparent and wouldn’t add any thickness to a gadget since it would replace a layer that already exists.â? Touch Revolution, a touchscreen manufacturer, has partnered with Tactus. The products are expected to be available by mid-2013.
With this latest development, this marriage between a touchscreen and having physical buttons popping up out of it, it leaves us to ask, will RIM be able to take advantage of this and get back on track? Or will it further cause its demise?