RIM 2012 roadmap: fewer phones, new PlayBook

Now that the Balsillie/Lazaridis reign of failure has ended at Research In Motion, consumers and investors alike are beginning to turn their attention towards what the ‘new’ RIM will look like under the care of its new chief executive officer, Thorsten Heins. The first details are now starting to emerge of RIM’s roadmap for the next year or so, according to information sourced by BGR.

In a nutshell, don’t expect the company to rock the boat in any way over the next few months. In addition to routine updates of existing hardware, the company plans to roll out two new BlackBerry 7 devices – the Curve 9230 (an EDGE-only) device, and the Curve 9320 (packing HSPA connectivity).

An updated PlayBook – perhaps even an all-new model – will be launched in May or June, with a 1.5GHz processor, NFC support and HSPA+ cellular connectivity, capable of up to 42Mbps speeds. It’s not known if it will still be a 7” tablet, or if this will be the debut of a larger PlayBook model.

It’s towards the end of the year that things get interesting – well, relatively speaking anyway – with the launch of the first devices running RIM’s next-generation operating system, BlackBerry 10 (formerly BBX). The first handset, codename ‘London’, is expected to be formally announced in September.

The Porsche Design P'9981 (left) and leaked 'London' (right, via The Verge)
offer clues as to what the next generation BlackBerry handsets will look like.

It now appears that a second BB10 smartphone will also launch this year, and that this will form part of the BlackBerry Bold family; this device will feature both a touchscreen display and QWERTY keyboard, most likely in the familiar BlackBerry layout of a landscape screen with a fixed keyboard below it. This device is expected in December 2012.

Finally, a new handset with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard will reportedly emerge in Q1 2013; there are no details on whether this will be a landscape slider, or if the keyboard will slide out vertically, like the Torch 9800.

What is clear is that this is a drastically reduced range of devices compared with the plethora of different handsets and variants that BlackBerry currently offers, and which even RIM itself must surely struggle to keep track of.

The timing of this leak is interesting though. CBC noted that RIM’s shares were down more than 9% yesterday, their first day of trading since the appointment of Heins as the company’s new CEO - evidently, the markets did not react particularly positively to the news. Leaking details of RIM’s leaner, consolidated product range may be an attempt to signal to investors that the true extent of changes at the company is more than just cosmetic.

It's clear that RIM has a long way to go to restore the faith of both its shareholders and its customers - 2012 will surely be the year that makes or breaks the company once and for all.

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Xero said,
They need to focus on software.
so so true. and if they do fix it, they will need one massive ad campaign to gain back public trust

They need to hire someone from outside the company rather than promoting someone who is currenty there. They need a new perspective and outlook from a fresh pair of eyes.

I think their OS is dead now that Apple, Google, and Microsoft have entered. They would have to really rethink their idea and by the looks of it, I don't think they have

Maybe they're trying to be like Apple with a simple product design. It might work, but they might also still be too late.

funkydude said,
Am I the only one that thinks the right one looks really hot?

Nope. I think so too. That may give them back, some of that lost marketshare.

Can't be long before they're running on fumes but if businesses still look to them on mass, should survive a while longer. I don't know how much control other platforms offer because they might not be ideal like Blackberry. Window Phone perhaps, MS seem to be good with Business but still early days on the platform. I doubt Apple shine in that space. Possibly Android as they are highly customizable.

Renvy said,
Right picture looks good, I'f it got good specs maybe it can work out.

I think they are going to be around alot longer then people think.. they will atleast have a niche market for their keyboard designs.. If they can make some legit super phones, that run android apps and are very secure.. they have a shot at being the business friendly phone that android just cant be just yet..

Thinking about if android really starts to cut into the iphone market more and more, and business's could get BB phones that take the advantages of both ecosystems.. Everyone thought Microsoft was toast with windows mobile but with such a huge reset they managed to hold onto about 5 percent of the market.. RIM is atleast getting these phones out while their marketshare is about 15-20 percent, they may have a shot.