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

By , Computerworld |  Consumerization of IT, BlackBerry, RIM

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.

Research In Motion Limited President and CEO Thorsten Heins and Chairwoman Barbara Stymiest listen during RIM's
annual shareholders meeting in Waterloo, Ontario, on Tuesday. (Photo: RS/ Mike Cassese / Reuters)

"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 "number one 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.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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