BB10 launch: The day after

The day after flashy debut of Research In Motion’s next-generation Z10 touchscreen handset find the company at the receiving end of mixed signals.

On the one hand, reviewers and customers have praised the device, which has a bigger screen than Apple’s iPhone and a more sophisticated operating system than Android.

On the other hand, its share price is dropping.
What some analysts are saying about BB10
 
Long term that might not mean much, but in the short term it’s dangerous to the company if a buyer wants to pick up RIM [TSX: RIM]– soon to officially change its corporate name to BlackBerry – on the cheap. A dropping share price also doesn’t encourage buyers. On the other hand, if an offer hasn’t come now it won’t come in the next month.

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The truth is the run-up in share price had nothing to do with financial fundamentals — no new financial results have been issued since Dec. 21.

But investors are likely disappointed that the Z10 won’t start selling in the U.S. – RIM’s biggest market — until mid-March.

Sales start today in Britain, the company’s second biggest market, and Feb. 5 in Canada. It will be available in the United Emerates on Feb 10.

Investors aren’t any happier that die-hard physical keyboard BlackBerry owners won’t see the BB10 version, called the Q10, until April.

RIM’s current financial quarter ends March 2. Financial results will be reported March 28.

However, one financial analyst told CBC-TV the handset sales aren’t the real thing to look for, suggesting that revenue from BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES 10), the new mobile management suite, is a better indicator of the company’s future.

At the Toronto launch on Wednesday RIM officials were emphasizing BES 10’s merits to enterprises as much as the glitzy Z10.

Jeff Holleran, RIM’s senior director of enterprise product management, said corporations that have been early adopters are very enthusiastic about BlackBerry Balance, the ability to separate work from personal data on users’ handsets. “It’s one of the top things that our enterprise customers have been excited about,” he said.

RIM is also emphasizing that BES 10 can manage devices running Apple’s iOS operating system and Android.

Meanwhile RIM now turns to the task of getting enterprise customers enthused about BES 10 and the new handsets.

Rene Vierling, RIM’s senior director of marketing for Canada, said in an interview that campaign starts Feb. 4 with a Toronto forum for IT staff from some 1,300 major customers for a full day briefing on the BB10 platform. A number of application partners will also be there to explain new apps that can run on the handsets.

The idea, he said, is to “give them a robust training and information program to give them all they need to deploy BlackBerry10 in their environments.”

The BlackBerry Experience Forum will also be held in Vancouver Feb. 13, and in Montreal Feb. 19. Other Canadian cities may be added.

The launch also saw RIM pointing to a number of mobile enterprise applications as proof the Z10 is ready for business.

Long time BlackBerry partner Cisco Systems, for example, had a demo running of its BB10 WebEx client. “This is extending our cross-platform strategy to allow organizations to online conference to anyone in the world,” said Ian Gallagher, general manager of collaboration products at Cisco Canada.

“We have a huge contingent of BlackBerry users among enterprise organizations we deal with, so it was an absolute no-brainer. We strongly fee any BYOD strategy has to include a BlackBerry component.”

Cisco’s AnyConnect IPSec VPN also supports BB10, he added.

SAP Canada was showing off three SAP apps aimed at financial department officials that have been certified for BB10: Financial Fact Sheet, which pulls invoicing and payment account details from a number of accounting systems’ RealSpend, which shows financial budget and spending data; and CFO Vantage, a dashboard.

Like other SAP-developed apps, they need SAP Mobile Platform to pull data from the back end to run.