Today is the day. Research In Motion has at long last launched its newest BlackBerry 10 platform, which has been in development for years and seen numerous delays along the way. In a symbolic move to mark the company's fresh start with BB10, it has decided to change its name simply to BlackBerry to unify its branding.
That also comes with changing its ticker symbol from "RIMM" on the Nasdaq to "BBRY." On the Toronto Stock Exchange, the company will trade under the symbol "BB." These changes will be effective Feb. 4. Research In Motion is officially no more. Say hello to BlackBerry.
RIM unveils a new iPhone
At the launch event in New York, CEO Thorsten Heins unveiled two new devices, the Z10 and Q10. The Z10 takes obvious design cues from Apple's iPhone, except that it boasts a larger 4.2-inch display. It's a touchscreen device that carries internal specs competitive with rival devices, such as an 8-megapixel primary camera and a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor of unknown origin.
Qualcomm has been rumored to have scored the spot with its Snapdragon S4 Pro chips, but RIM has not confirmed that.
The Q10 looks similar to BlackBerry devices of the past, sporting a physical keyboard that has long been one of RIM's target market niches. Devoted physical keyboard users have always been a focus for RIM, and the company hasn't lost sight of that user base, which tends to be business users.
Who needs the U.S. market? Oh yeah, we do.
RIM first detailed what would become BlackBerry 10 back in Q1 2011. That's a whole two years that the company has been working on building the platform from its 2010 acquisition of QNX Software. BlackBerry loyalists have been anxiously awaiting this day for quite a long time, and the bad news is that those in the U.S. will still have to wait even longer.
The Z10 is launching later this week in RIM's home turf of Canada as well as the U.K. Those are two of RIM's core markets, but the critical U.S. market remains larger than both of those combined, even given RIM's plunging domestic market share. Kantar Worldpanel ComTech's most recent figures showed RIM's share sliding to just 1.1% in December.
12 Weeks Ending Dec. 25, 2011
12 Weeks Ending Dec. 23, 2012
Source: Kantar Worldpanel Comtech.
Google Android stayed relatively flat, while Apple gained and now comprises over half of the market. Microsoft has made some gains with Windows Phone and has made its intentions clear that it wants to cement itself as the No. 3 platform.
Percentage of Total Revenue (MRQ)
Source: RIM. MRQ = most recent quarter.
Last quarter, 19.1% of RIM's revenue was still being generated in the U.S., showing how important that geographical segment still is to its results despite its market share losses.
What's another couple months after you've already waited years?
U.S. consumers will have to wait until mid-March for the Z10 to land stateside. Heins said that the delay was due to carrier testing procedures that are taking longer than expected. The Q10 won't be available in the U.S. until April, so U.S. consumers will have to wait two to three months before they can get their hands on any BB10 device.
That revelation put significant pressure on the stock; shares promptly dropped upon that news and are currently down 8%.
Good, but not better
Upon the unveiling, a slew of tech sites have released their reviews, and the general consensus is that while BB10 is a solid mobile platform that's competitive in many ways with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, it's not better and doesn't provide any compelling reason for users to switch from other platforms.
Market researcher Ovum believes the platform will garner some short-term interest from existing users, but still faces daunting challenges in the long term. RIM investors have gotten a little ahead of themselves in recent months, with shares more than doubling. Maybe some profit-taking is in order.
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The article Research In Motion Is No More originally appeared on Fool.com.
Fool contributor Evan Niu, CFA, owns shares of Apple and Qualcomm. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Google. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Qualcomm. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.