RIM has announced its depressing latest figures, but there's still hope within the company for a brighter 2012, despite having to battle a growing roster of Android and Apple (who just had a nasty iCloud wobble) super phones.
RIM Looks Forward
The BlackBerry company announced its Q3 results late yesterday and while it still generated around US$ 5 billion in business, sales were down 6% and the PlayBook project is looking like a dismal also-ran. To compound problems, the company is delaying its BBX-powered 10-series phones, blaming chip shortages.
The new OS (announced back in October) is what RIM really needs to give the company some pizazz, with rivals releasing new devices and OS updates constantly. Every month RIM's current offerings are looking older and more stale by comparison. Still, the company expects to sell 11 to 12 million devices this quarter and is extensively entrenched in business, but for how long?
Galaxy Nexus Launches, Did the World Notice?
There were lots of articles yesterday about the Galaxy Nexus launch, but in its quest to compete head-to-head with the iPhone, there seemed to be very little of the store-rush that Apple devices garner. A smattering of a queue here and there seems to be the best it could manage.
Which is part of Android's big problem. When an iPhone launches, the world and its dog knows about it. When yet another Android device launches, it is fighting for airtime against a slew of its own brethren as well as rival devices.
With Apple expected to announce some monster numbers for the iPhone (around 30 million in each of the next two quarters), no matter how good the Nexus is, the Android brand risks becoming so watered down that the ecosystem could drown out its brightest star, which would be a big shame.
Prepare for iPhone 5
Even though iPhone is dwarfed in sales by the Android army, there's an interesting piece of analysis pointing out that the smaller number of Apple users download 18 times more apps, making its ecosystem far more valuable to developers. While Apple sorts outs the new phone's battery issues, with an iOS update, app developers are figuring out what cool stuff they can do with the phone next.
Apps are massive business for Apple, wasn't Steve Jobs against this idea?
Developers are the lifeblood of any system and if they continue to focus on iOS first, then Apple will always have the kudos and high profile apps first. So, when the presumed dual-core, bigger screen, iPhone 5 pops up next year, expect bigger and better apps for it.
Apps and Chips
While Apple may struggle to produce a much higher-spec phone than the Nexus, the company will be confident it can out-design and engineer the iPhone 5 to demand attention and sales. The latest rumors suggest that Apple is holding off a launch to get a Flash-accelerating chip to, ironically, bring the retiring web platform to the phone that did the most to kill it. UPDATE: The insanity of this rumor has been realized and it has been roundly squashed - blame a writer in need of a Christmas break.
Still, Apple needs to add more magic to the iPad 3, which it hopes to launch early next year (ahead of a likely smaller screen version later on). With the Kindle Fire (which is due a big software update soon) selling "well over a million a week" according to Amazon, Apple's next tablet finally has some real competition.
Apple's ID Accident
Overnight, Apple users have had trouble getting into iTunes and iCloud. Apparently the issue is resolved for most users now (can't see any problems myself), with crashed ID servers being to blame, but it once again highlights the risks of putting things in places beyond your control (like spy drones over Iran and so on).