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RIM: only 20% use modern BlackBerrys, LTE PlayBook in spring

updated 01:30 am EST, Sat January 28, 2012

RIM to focus on upgrading current BlackBerry users

RIM's new leader Thorsten Heins in further interviews has outlined how he plans to take on competition in the short term. He revealed to Reuters that just 20 percent of BlackBerry owners are using a modern version of the OS, in some cases using BlackBerry 5 or even older. Much of the company's focus would be on getting them to upgrade to new phones, including special carrier deals that could bundle devices together or give carriers phones with bundled apps.

The deals were ready, and the company just needed to "get off the starting grid," Heins said.

His strategy underlined both the difficulty of converting customers from other platforms, most of whom are going to Android or the iPhone, as well as the inherent barriers to upgrades on the BlackBerry platform. Moving to BlackBerry 7 needs new hardware like the Bold 9900, even if the owner has a phone just a year old. With all version updates are controlled by the carrier and not RIM, providers can often take months to deliver an update or choose not to update a phone at all. While Android can have somewhat similar problems depending on the phone, iPhone owners get every upgrade as soon as Apple is ready and often for two years or more.

In the meantime, Heins revealed that the upgraded PlayBook would have more than the 42Mbps promised in one roadmap. An LTE-capable 4G PlayBook, which originally would have arrived last year, should now come in spring. It will presumably have the faster 1.5GHz processor and PlayBook 2.0.

AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon will all have LTE by mid-year, although it's not certain if or when any carrier will adopt a 3G or 4G PlayBook. RIM had promised 3G and 4G versions for virtually every carrier, but delays and poor sales led to carriers backing off. The iPad's sustained lead, as well as a hesitance from customers to pay for data plans on non-phones, may make it difficult for RIM to renew carriers' faith.

by MacNN Staff



  1. nowwhatareyoulookingat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    here's an idea

    Let your end-users upgrade the OS in the phone instead of having to buy a completely new one to get the slight revisions you've made to the latest OS. But that's SO HARD to do with a bazillion slightly different models...what to do...what to do...

  1. russellb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Read the writing on the wall

    RIM has one foot in the grave. The reason only 20% are using the new OS is all the rest are going elsewhere. Honestly if they can't innovate and improve they will become obsolete , if they are not already.

  1. ryanjo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    in the grave

    He has a nice smile for an undertaker. Put RIM in the ground and move on with life.

  1. UmarOMC

    Joined: Dec 1969



    A new leader with a "new" outlook that involves the SAME, OLD tact; newer phones, newer OS!? Give people with older phones a better, more solid OS and the new phones better make coffee and get me dressed for cheap! Besides the security features I'm really not too fond of the Bold 9700s my wife and I got.

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Fold it up

    It's going to be extremely difficult for these clowns to get financing for the next two quarters. I'd give them till the end of the year to finish reading chapter 10.


    Joined: Dec 1969


    Get Radical

    If RIM genuinely believes the newer OS would impact the user experiences, then offer trade-ins (at full value) for all phones. That means any personal or corporate user can turn in a OS5 phone and receive a new OS7 phone for free without a contract renewal. OS6 users can upgrade for $20. If OS7 isn't truly impactful to a user, then don't use the 'old OS' as an excuse for defections.

  1. FreeRange

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Comical or just sad...

    "He revealed to Reuters that just 20 percent of BlackBerry owners are using a modern version of the OS, in some cases using BlackBerry 5 or even older."

    And this "new CEO" comically thinks this is some kind of opportunity??? Yes, for iPhones and Android devices but certainly not Blackberry. And he also thinks that only their US business is in serious trouble - the reality is that they are selling cheap low-margin devices to the developing world and that is the only thing keeping them alive right now.

  1. DoctorGonzo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Their flagship product has been out since April 2011, and still can't do that new-fangled email thing.

    The company doesn't even know how many phone models it makes.

    I mean... I'm not even engaging in hyperbole here. They're cooked.

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