Can Research In Motion Keep the Music Playing?BlackBerry World 2012 concluded with a rockin’partyDJed by the Martinez Brothers,who are among the newest faces of Research In Motion’s ad campaign aiming to,among other things, reach the younger demographic without sacrificing their seriousbusiness-like reputation. I agree; it took me quite a while to let that sink in too. And whilethe music was definitely awesome during the event, I doubt that the atmosphere createdwas enough to convince everyone in attendance to make a BlackBerry trade in.Ever since Apple entered the smartphone market with their iPhone five years ago, RIMhas seen a steady decline in their market share, so much so that at one point, somepundits were ready to deem the company as almost going the way of the dodo (they stilldo, actually). In fact, their share is still dropping so much that most analysts predict thatthey’ll only be staking 5 percent of the market by the end of this year.
The company’s fiscal reports for the first quarter of 2012 indicate that they are down by$125 million; a stark contrast to the $934 million profit in the same period last year(although even that still pales in comparison to where the company had been half adecade ago). As it stands, RIM only has about $1.77 billion to its name, which is almostpaltry for a company of this size. And no matter how much they like to tout that theiroverseas market is still thriving (the “Nokia maneuver,” as I like to call it), it isovershadowed by the fact that their fourth quarter 2011 fiscal report shows a nearly80% drop in BlackBerry shipments globally.Even without a bias towards the in-things, the iPhone and the Android, such financialreports would be enough to drive most people to sell BlackBerrys and consider asmartphone brand switch. Nevertheless, RIM’s head honchos are still hoping againsthope that this year might present a turnaround for them, especially in light of theannouncement of the BlackBerry 10.The BlackBerry 10 is RIM’s latest mobile operating system designed to compete with(snarky technology authorities would say “catch up to”) the Android and the iOS.However, it seems that the company is making it out like the BB 10’s virtual keyboard isits strongest selling point. “We don’t even call it a virtual keyboard,” Developer RelationsVP Alec Saunders said. “It’s simply the next substantiation of our keyboard technology.”I don’t know about you, but that just sounds like PR smoke and mirrors to me. And whileI’ll admit that its autocomplete feature is the most intuitive one yet, an improved virtualkeyboard simply cannot compete with the iOS 6’s very cool Maps app (the 3D Flyovermode alone is enough to make me ditch Google Maps) and a further expanded Siri.Whether they want to admit it or not, it’s fairly evident that Research In Motion is nowjust hanging on by a thread; and no amount of Martinez Brothers electronica goodnesscan convince consumers to stop selling their BlackBerrys in exchange for somethingelse.
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