If good wishes were money, Research In Motion would be awash in billions.
Carriers, software developers, organizations and industry analysts express a lot of good will for RIM, which unveils its bet-the-company BlackBerry 10 operating system and new large screen handsets on Wednesday.
That will be the first time buyers will actually see the closely-guarded size and shape of two new touch-screen handsets. They will actually be in buyers’ hands not long afterwards. A BB10 device with a physical keyboard is weeks away.
But what the company needs are orders, not best thoughts.
RIM will rely on people like Leigh Popov, CIO of Toronto-based Bayshore HealthCare Ltd. for its success.
Bayshore supplies thousands of BlackBerrys not only to executives but also its home care nurses and therapists in nine provinces.
Popov likes the device, but he won’t be buying in volume immediately.
“I’ve been waiting anxiously for this device,” he said in an interview. “I’ve had a pre-release version since December I’ve been playing with, and I think it’s a solid piece of hardware. It’s good software … I think RIM is on to something.
“However, when it comes out it’s going to be priced at a premium. You’re not going to be able to get thousands of field staff on it right away. They haven’t released pricing yet, but all indications and rumours are that they’ll come out at somewhere in the range of $700 without a contract, or they’ll be $200-$300 with a contract and a hardware subsidy. That’s high for replacing thousands of devices. So we’ll probably wait for doing mass upgrades until those devices come down in price so they become sub-$100 devices on a subsidy.”
On the other hand, there’s a smaller number of management and administrative staff.
“So I could see us doing few hundred right away” for them, Popov said. “But I just can’t see us doing a few thousand until those prices come down.”
That’s the good news for RIM. The bad news is a number of businesses and government customers don’t care: their staff have already moved off BlackBerry to Apple iPhone or Android-powered devices thanks to BYOD policies. For them RIM is late.
In fact it’s a year late – BB10 was originally promised to be delivered this time 12 months ago. However, RIM executives said it wasn’t ready then.