Research In Motion fans who are waiting on the first upcoming Blackberry 10 devices may be disappointed. According to the company the first devices will only use a touch screen keyboard, which will alienate a large portion of the business audience.
Blackberry 10 OS will be installed on devices with a physical keyboard, but it won’t be until after the initial round of devices are sold. RIM spokeswoman Rebecca Freiburger didn’t say when, even though the company are planning touch screen models later this year.
While iOS and Android phones may work well with a touch screen keyboard, RIM haven’t had great success in the past with these models. Business users much prefer a physical qwerty keyboard and as RIM have such strength in this sector it seems a very unusual decision.
So far RIM have been facing delays with Blackberry 10 OS, almost a year so far. Business users will have expected much more for launch, including a high end model based around the 9900 with physical keyboard.
Analysts are already predicting a poor launch, claiming that their core business audience will not adopt the new phones, holding onto their current model, until RIM get their act together for the second range of devices.
The Associated Press added “RIM once dominated the corporate smartphone market but failed to adapt to the emerging “bring your own device” trend, in which employees use their personal iPhones or Android devices for work instead of relying on BlackBerrys issued by their employers. As the movement caught on, the iPhone made the BlackBerry look ancient.
RIM’s future is far from certain as its flagship devices rapidly lose market share to flashier phones. With more than $2 billion in cash, bankruptcy seems unlikely in the near term. But RIM’s U.S. share of the smartphone market fell sharply from 44 percent in 2009 to 10 percent in 2011 according to market researcher NPD Group.
RIM said Wednesday it has started laying off employees as part of a restructuring plan aimed at saving about $1 billion this year.”
Kitguru says: A Blackberry without tactile physical keyboard? We could be wrong, but this will surely be a flop.