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

"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.

Heins told one shareholder that RIM still has a "lock on the enterprise market" and is holding onto users and
BlackBerry Enterprise Server installations at 90% of Fortune 500 companies.

To boost enterprise interest in its technology, RIM will offer more services through its BlackBerry Fusion and
Balance initiatives, Heins said.

Fusion offers IT shops management support for various smartphone OS's, including iOS and Android, while the
Balance program is designed to let BlackBerry users separate personal functions on the device from corporate
functions. In the latter case, corporate data alone can be wiped from a lost device.

Heins said RIM is committed to shipping a premium-quality touchscreen BlackBerry 10 smartphone in 2013. That
will be followed by a device with RIM's iconic physical Qwerty keyboard. Peter Devenyi, senior vice president of
enterprise software at RIM, made similar promises in an
interview with Computerworld
last week.

To improve its standing with consumers, Heins said RIM has "made it really easy to attract ... content and
service providers" through the BlackBerry 10 programming interfaces.

Answering a question from another shareholder, Heins said that the planned layoff of amost one-third of RIM's
workforce, or 5,000 employees, will not slow BlackBerry 10 development. Nor would the development effort have been
helped with an investment from RIM's $2.2 billion cash on hand, he said.

"The speed of BlackBerry 10 development is not a money issue or a headcount issue," Heins said.


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