Last Chance

Written by The Financial Express | Updated: Sep 27 2012, 06:05am hrs
Research in Motion on Tuesday got a brief taste of what it could be like if its new operating software, BB10, is a success when the company releases it early next year. At a function previewing BB10, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins announced that, contrary to all expectations (presumably even the companys), RIMs subscriber base increased to 80 million in the quarter ended September 1, from the 78 million it reported earlier this year. Such has been the spate of bad news surrounding the company that even this 2.5% growth in subscribers was enough to spur its stock up 5% following the announcement. There is no doubt that RIM is at the most important juncture of its existenceanalysts dont expect the company to survive too long if BB10 fails to catch consumers attention. But, they also say that RIMs fortunes do not wholly lie on how BB10 compares to its rivalsApples iOS and Googles Android. A lot rides on how the company markets the new software. The overwhelming belief in the market is that RIMs operating systems are business-driven, allowing very little options for entertainment and having a relatively under-populated app store.

Tuesdays preview tried to dispel that image, and it met with some degree of success. One of the most irritating features of RIMs software so far has been the need to close an application and return to the menu to open another onethat is, apps cannot run simultaneously. BB10 apparently addresses that inadequacy with Flow, which allows you to access multiple apps without having to return to the menu. The new OS is also supposed to have much better social network integration, something Apple has recently implemented in its iOS as well. Though there isnt enough information out there yet on BB10, RIMs policy of keeping the hype up by periodically releasing previews is a good one. RIMs very existence could hinge on how the new OS is received, and it cant afford consumers losing interest before BB10 even hits the market.