How Hub, Peek, and Flow Could Help Research In Motion Rise Again

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Critics predicted that Research In Motion (NASDAQ: BBRY) was a sinking ship, but it might actually be heading towards the coast with the help of its latest Smartphone –Blackberry 10, due for release on Jan. 30. 

RIM has seen a steep downfall in 2012. This is quite visible from the graph showing the performance of the top 5 Smartphone vendors in 2012.

<img height="471" src="http://www.koreaittimes.com/images/imagecache/large/Top Five WW Smartphone Vendors_1Q2012.gif" width="480" />

Y-Axis - Market Share for Sales of Smartphones (In terms of percentage) 

Source : http://www.idc.com

This graph clearly shows the dismal state of RIM in the last one year or so. The company has lost its premium and loyal set of customers, which can be attributed to the speed at which the technology in the Smartphone world is changing. But as famously quoted – “A lost battle is a battle one thinks one has lost.” This is certainly not in the case of RIM.

The new Blackberry 10 might just act as the game-changer for RIM. The device is quite unlike the earlier versions of Blackberry, and looks like it has adapted to consumers' current requirements. RIM is coming with its latest operating system Blackberry 10, based on a real-time Unix-like operating system known as QNX (acquired in April 2010). It has a unique user interface based on the concept of HUB, PEEK and FLOW.

Hub is an all-in-one inbox, which is not an application; it works at an OS level. This means you can access it anywhere and anytime. Peek allows you to check your inbox without navigating away from the main app you are using. Peeking also allows you to access notifications from your social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, which is really handy for people who always want to stay up-to-date in their social networking world. Flow is the one-hand swipe feature in Blackberry 10. RIM wants you to use one hand for everything, from anywhere in BB10. In any app and any setting, no matter where you are, Hub and Peek are just a swipe away.

The biggest reason for the success of Blackberry was a huge corporate database. Keeping this in mind, RIM has introduced a feature called Balance. This is not exactly a new concept but they will be putting a lot of focus on this concept with Blackberry 10. This is an effort to create a work/life balance. To switch between work and personal spaces on BlackBerry 10 smartphones, you simply swipe down from anywhere on the Home Screen, causing “Work” and “Personal” buttons to appear at the top of the display, letting you tap from one profile to the other. A swipe and a tap is all it takes to switch gears.

<img src="/media/images/user_13211/bb10_balanc_large.JPG" />

This also means that the client who is providing the Blackberry device to its employees can control the applications limited to work space under the work tab. But it does not mean that you cannot access other personal applications in the office phone. The access would be under the personal tab. Also, you cannot copy any data from work to personal tab, giving a more secure space to its corporate clients. This gives them a real edge over its peers to attract more corporate cleints.

RIM proved itself the best in the market in terms of traditional keyboards, but with changing technology, people have started shifting more towards touchscreens. But there are still many customers who still prefer actual physical keyboards over typing on touchscreens. Thus, with Blackberry 10, RIM aims to prove itself the best touchscreen keyboard in the market.

With so many tools in its armory, RIM might just score points against its competitors, who enjoy a significant lead in the market. Two companies who might be keeping a real close eye on RIM include Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Nokia (NYSE: NOK).

Apple is already one of the dominant players in the market, and its leadership continues with the launch of the iPhone 5. Despite the few hitches which led to the drop in the sales of iPhone 5 during the month of November, Apple has managed to gain back customer confidence, as evidenced by strong sales of iPhone 5 in December. But Blackberry 10 seems to be a touch ahead of iPhone 5 in many features, including screen size and video apps. Even many testers found the voice command of Blackberry 10 to be much faster and more effective than Apple's Siri. 

On the other hand, Nokia, which is trying to regain its lost market share with high hopes on Lumia 920 and 820, will surely be keeping a close eye on Blackberry 10. Lumia 920 by far has been stated by many analysts as the best smartphone of 2012. It comes with some amazing hardware specifications and the newly launched operating system of Microsoft - Windows 8. This gives Nokia a real edge over its competitors, and this is quite visible with the comeback they made in terms of profits in the last quarter of 2012. But these are still early days for Lumia 920 and 820. The war of the smartphones is heating up day by day; if you want to survive, then staying up-to-date with innovation is the best possible strategy.

RIM has successfully portrayed an attractive image for Blackberry 10, which has helped them bounce back in the share market over the last month or so. This is quite visible in the chart below:

<img src="http://media.ycharts.com/charts/8c203efaece9de9f211fd44c363bd458.png" />

RIMM data by YCharts

A change of  more than 50% in matter of just one month is quite an amazing recovery. But the phone has not yet reached the actual destination: customers. Thus, it is important for us to wait and see how much people actually like the new Blackberry 10.

The Big Question

Will these features attract the desired numbers and convert into sales? Will they be able to gain the bulk market of corporate clients? Or will this be yet another dismal showing for RIM? All these things will unfold with the launch of Blackberry 10.


Umang27 has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. 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. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!

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