RIM also confirms that even top of the line BB7 devices won't get BB10

Waterloo, Ontario-based Research in Motion, ltd. (TSE:RIM) hoped to ignite interest in its upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system, showing its hand remarkably early with a flashy developer preview event.  But the fact remains that BB10 is very tardy, with the launch being pushed back half a year due to hardware issues.

I. RIM's New Ad Campaign Avoids Showing Phones, Talking About Features

Still, the company is trying to put on a brave face.

In the wake of its somewhat humorous, somewhat odd "Wake up" protest of Apple, Inc. (AAPL) stores in Australia, the company its looking to expand that catch phrase into an entire advertising campaign.

The first stage rolled out as the "Wake Up" website was replaced with an elaborate scrolling text ad, which spouts a string buzz-phrases such as "There is no middle ground...You're either in business or you're not" and "You're either here to leave your mark and eat opportunity for breakfast, or you’re satisfied to just float through life like a cork in the stream."

RIM ad
RIM's new ad shows no product and does not discuss features.

RIM even takes one more opportunity to take a stab at Apple, parodying its slogan, stating, "You don't just think different… you do different."

The text infomercial concludes remarking, "There’s only one device for people who mean business… the brand that’s been in business from the very beginning.  Wake Up. Be Bold."

The good news is that at least the "do different" stab at Apple users may draw a chuckle or two at their expense and at least the ad seems focused on RIM's core audience of business users -- unlike its previous ad with cartoon superheroes which seemed geared at children.  

RIM Superheroes
[Image Source: RIM]
But like the childish "Be bold" cartoon superheroes campaign, the "Wake up" campaign offers no real inclination of why exactly people should buy a BlackBerry.

No phones are shown in either campaign.  No actual features are discussed.  There's just some sort of vague suggestion that BlackBerry use embodies your personality and is deeply invested in business.  It's hard to imagine that vague message selling any product, much less one that the consumer market is forsaking in droves.

Of course, if RIM wants to pour money on nonsensical ads, no one's stopping them, though the shareholders might be growing a bit concerned.

II. No BlackBerry 10 Updates, Even for Seemingly Compatible Phones

Part of the problem may be that RIM just doesn't have appealing products to sell right now; but at the same time it can't afford to totally quit consumer sales until BB10 finally arrives.

RIM is trying to sell consumers on a defunct operating system -- BlackBerry 7.  And last week it confirmed everyone's worst fears; nary a single BB7 device will be upgraded to BB10.

The company assuages, "We will keep a dedicated team of 200 for BB7 and continue to innovate in that space."

BlackBerry TorchBlackBerry Torch
Even RIM's top-of-the-line all touch BB7 smartphones like the BlackBerry Torch 9860 (pictured) won't be upgraded to BB10. [Image Source: RIM]

But the overall feeling is that RIM is just months away from abandoning its current lineup, at least in terms of serious improvements.  That choice is particular frustrating for devices like the all-touch Torch 9860.  It's somewhat baffling why RIM wouldn't support upgrades for this top-of-the-line BB7 device.  After all, the spec is remarkably similar to the alpha BB10 devices, other than the absence of an LTE modem.  But would it really be that hard to support a 3G version of BB10?

III. RIM Appoints Former LightSquared Castoff as Its CMO

In related news RIM announced that it handed out a couple of key RIM jobs, its CMO and COO spot.

The new chief operating officer will be Kristian Tear, a Columbia University (New York)  and Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden) grad.  Mr. Tear's career took him around the world in Sony Corp.'s (TYO:6758) global mobile device units.  He eventually obtained a position as CEO and President of L. M. Ericsson (OMX:ERIC B). 

The new chief marketing officer will be Frank Boulben, who had stints at Verizon Wireless co-owner Vodafone Group Plc. (LON:VOD) and France Telecom (EURO:FTE) subsidiary Orange plc.  But Mr. Boulben's most recent role might be a familiar one to our readers.

He was in charge of marketing during LightSquared's botched satellite LTE bid, which failed on the grounds of wild GPS interference due to negligent engineering, a failure compounded by swirling allegations of corruption.  Apparently that failure sent Mr. Boulben scurrying away... straight to RIM.

SkyTerra 1
Hopefully RIM's new CMO does a better job at the Canadian company that he did at his last job, helping lead the fatally flawed LightSquared satellite LTE bid. [Image Source: Boeing Comp.]

Well, for better or worse, he's the chap who's now in charge of marketing at RIM.  The choice may seem a bit troubling, but it's hard to imagine that it would be easy to recruit top grade executive talent when RIM is clinging to a much-delayed BB10 as its last hope to keep from sinking like the Titanic.


Mr. Boulben was originally erroneously referred to as RIM's new CFO.  He is actually the new CMO.  RIM defends his track record at LightSquared pointing out that he won 40 contracts in under a year, before LightSquared ran afoul of the FCC and USAF.


Sources: RIM [1], [2], NeoWin

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