Delayed BlackBerry 10 smartphones adding video chat, CEO says
Heins explains smartphone delays, social networking plans amid rancor at struggling RIM's annual shareholders meeting
Computerworld - BlackBerry 10 smartphones, slated to come in early 2013, will rely heavily on improved BlackBerry Messenger social networking tools, including new video chat capabilities, Research in Motion CEO Thorsten Heins told shareholders during a sometimes acrimonious annual meeting on Tuesday.
"BlackBerry Messenger is a very strong platform in Asia, Africa and Europe, and we're upgrading it with video chat in BlackBerry 10," Heins said during a question-and-answer session at the shareholder meeting, which was Webcast.
By some measures and in some geographies, Heins claimed, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) is the "No. 1 social network."
Heins told shareholders that there are 78 million BlackBerry users worldwide, including 56 million that use the BBM platform.
Heins also said that BBM could be a central piece of efforts to license BlackBerry 10 to third paries.
"We are planning and are evaluating licensing BlackBerry 10 to expand the subscriber base," Heins said. "We will leverage and continue to grow that [78 million] base and will focus on BBM as our platform and on BlackBerry integrated consumer services."
Heins told a shareholder who complained about BlackBerry 10 delays and the lack of product specifics that RIM has intentionally kept many details "contained" to keep a competitive edge. "It's a competitive industry, and we have to be careful what we tell the public and when," Heins said.
Heins did contend that RIM "very good plan going forward [for the BlackBerry 10]. It is so unique and so special."
The annual meeting saw the installation of 10 RIM board members, including Heins, for another year, along with a long recitation of the firm's financial problems, layoffs and smartphone shipment delays.
Heins has addressed those issues repeatedly in recent days, starting with answers to questions during RIM's first-quarter earnings call with financial analysts a week ago.
Shareholders cheered and applauded when one man said the current board members should have resigned after sitting atop RIM problems for years. "Whey did the board let it get it out of hand so badly and so much before they did something about it? What this company needs is an upheaval," the man said to applause from shareholders at the meeting.
Heins, installed as CEO and a board member in January, came under criticism for his compensation package and lack of CEO experience, said he recognized the board was not elected unanimously this year.
"We recognize it's a difficult period for shareholders, and I would like to assure everyone here that RIM's board and executive team are committed to the activities I've laid out here and to create value for shareholders," Heins said.
Heins won some audience support at one point when he pledged to check into RIM's inventory system following a shareholder complaint that after buying a RIM PlayBook tablet in January he couldn't get an accessory package including a rapid charger and traveling case. The package, he said, wasn't available online for months.
Heins also divulged that 60% of the software in the PlayBook tablet is also used in BlackBerry 10, though he didn't offer details.
The PlayBook, first introduced in 2011, hasn't found much success in a crowded tablet field, according to analysts. The Playbook runs the same QNX operating system that's at the base of the BlackBerry 10, according to RIM.
- BlackBerry pushes BBM Protected for end-to-end encrypted messaging
- Can Microsoft's Windows Phone OS surge in market share?
- HTC One M8 called a good looker and genuine rival to the Galaxy S5
- Smartphone innovation is slowing, so what's next?
- Studies show Sprint and T-Mobile need to expand U.S. coverage
- Gear Fit: Samsung strikes again with its 'build one of any device' plan
- Nokia Lumia Icon on sale Feb. 20 exclusively at Verizon
- Samsung hints at new UI for upcoming Galaxy S5
- How 'Lenovorola' changes the mobile world
- Google and Samsung grow cozier with patent deal, Motorola sale
- Assessing ROI for Mobile Acceleration Clients This EMA® paper examines the business case for deploying mobile WAN optimization client software and builds a ROI model based on the experiences...
- The Apple-ization of the Enterprise: Understanding IT's New World Read this paper for how to tackle Apple-ization (and the related consumerization of IT and Bring Your Own Device/BYOD).
- A Practical Introduction to Enterprise Mobility Management Read the white paper to better understand the basic concepts within mobility management and to learn how you can apply EMM technology to...
- Enterprise Mobility: A Checklist for Secure Containerization The advantages and disadvantages of the multiple approaches to containerization. Learn More>>
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Mobile Security: Containerizing Enterprise Data In this on-demand webinar, Fixmo's Lee Cocking, VP of corporate strategy, explains why Apple-ization trends like mobility and "bring-your-own-device" (BYOD) are driving the... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!