RIM looks to Rebound with BB10 and new leadership

By: Gadjo Sevilla

May 3, 2012

RIM's President and CEO Thorsten Heins at BlackBerry World

Text and photos by Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

Orlando, FL – This year’s BlackBerry World conference became the launchpad for a new regime at RIM as well as a bold new mobile strategy.

Research in Motion President and CEO Thorsten Heins won over many of the 5000 attendees with his passion for great products and solutions and with his company’s bold new operating system.

BlackBerry 10 is a viable contender

BlackBerry 10, the new mobile operating system based off the QNX platform, is a complete departure from RIM’s current OS and was launched here and received very positive feedback among developers, although it hardly boosted the company’s stock price.

Peek-a-boo: The new smartphone OS for BlackBerry allows users quick previews of apps

The new OS will not be seen on devices until later this year but brings a fresh new perspective on mobile computing for both smartphones and the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

Some of the more outstanding features of BlackBerry 10 are an improved software keyboard with intuitive predictive text and powerful multitasking features.

The bigger story for many was how Thorsten Heins delivered his company’s vision and played the role of visionary CEO for RIM, something that they have sorely lacked.

“We wanted a user paradigm that is easy and fast,”  an excited Heins said about BlackBerry 10  and showing how information from documents, emails, calendars, and address books could slide in and out from the screen’s edges. “It’s all about making things flow.”

Exorcising the ghosts of co-CEO’s past, Heins seemed approachable, affable and in-touch with the challenges facing the company whose troubles he has inherited.

Most of all, Heins seemed confident. Confident that RIM still had what it takes to make a difference and give the competition a run for it’s money with some truly innovative strokes.

He lauded developers for their work and for partnerships that have kept RIM relevant in the face of rising competition.

The new software keyboard is intuitive and fast and quintessentially BlackBerry in character

Each attending developer here at BlackBerry World got a free Dev Alpha smartphone. The device is simply a developer tool and will need to be returned to RIM once market ready devices are available.

Heins at the Helm

For a proud Canadian that has followed BlackBerry closely, seeing Thorsten Heins on stage representing the company is a somewhat bittersweet realization.

One can’t help but lament the fact that one of the most iconic and globally recognized Canadian brands is being led by a non Canadian.

I guess this is what the Finns felt when Canadian Stephen Elop took the reins in their own iconic company, Nokia.

Still, the company now seems to be in more capable hands, at least in terms of vision and direction.

The true test for Thorsten Heins and his team,  is still a few months away, when the new devices are finally introduced into the market, hopefully in time for the holiday buying season

So, RIM is asking all of us to wait a bit longer and keep the faith. They have given a sneak peek into their future platform and product strategy and from the little we have seen, it looks good.

Only time will tell whether BlackBerry 10 can win back old users and engage new ones as RIM prepares to make a comeback. It may be their last chance to do so.

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