RIM’s joint CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis have stepped down; the announcement sees Thorsten Heins stepping up to the plate to try and turn things around for the ailing mobile firm.

But while the world at large lays into RIM and the BlackBerry brand, we’ve decided to take a look at what’s been going right for the company, and which of Balsillie and Lazaridis’ recent wins will see it through.

1. NFC everywhere

RIM has been at the forefront of NFC technology, slamming it into every phone in its arsenal and championing its virtues before any other mobile company, having launched 7 NFC-enabled handsets last year.

While the day-to-day benefits of NFC are still too few to turn it into a must-have, that’s soon set to change. “There are three or four areas that we think NFC is important,” said RIM’s UK Managing Director Stephen Bates. “One is mobile payments, one is pairing, Bluetooth pairing [with accessories], another one is reading smart posters and the other one is integrating security pass, so building pass access…so the concept that instead of having a pass for your office you can touch and go.”

Your phone as your door pass? With BlackBerry handsets still very much the standard issue work phone, RIM is positioning itself at the forefront of NFC for a very real use.

2. Enterprise support for iPhone and Android in the works

But what about those offices that hard defected to dishing out Android or iPhones? Instead of wallowing in self-pity, RIM’s been very proactive here, working to get its new BlackBerry Mobile Fusion software out at some point in this quarter.

The enterprise tech allows companies to monitor and control every worker’s phone from a single console regardless of which platform it’s on, helping RIM to eke out a new strategic advantage. While more BlackBerry handset sales would be ideal, RIM choosing to positioning itself as an enterprise software licensing firm is a very smart alternative. If you can’t beat ‘em, work with them.

3. QNX’ potential

Have you ever used the BlackBerry PlayBook? It’s actually great. No, seriously. The QNX operating system (which is the sort of what the new BB10 OS is modelled on) is very intuitive and slick enough to never crash.

QNX has got enough multitasking prowess built in to handle even the most ADHD-riddled owner and uses a clever set of gestrues to speed you around. In short: it’s good. …It’s just been crippled by poor developer support and the fact that it was missing some vital features – like, erm… Email – at launch.

But RIM is going to persevere. The PlayBook is dead in the water, but as a learning experience it must have been an eye-opener. RIM’s planning to launch two new PlayBook’s this year with BB10 built in. If it can do everything QNX does and more, we’re sold.

4. BlackBerry Bold 9900 – A triumph of button design

If BB10 matches the quality level reached by the BlackBerry Bold 9900, the world will notice. Over the past few years RIM’s knocked out an unfortunately mixed bag of hardware. Some of its phones are dreadfully put together, but some – most notably the Bold series – shines. It proves that RIM’s more than capable of knocking together very solid handsets.

That quality control is there inside RIM’s HQ, it just needs to be applied to a wider range of the company’s products. The Bold 9900 is ace. The phone as a whole feels solid, the touchscreen works fluidly and the keypad is tactile and satisfying to use. More of this, please.

5. BBM still going strong

The social messaging service that started it all now faces some pretty fierce, cross-platform competition from the likes of WhatsApp, but it’s still a gem, and for many the main reason to get a BlackBerry smartphone.

The proof of the service’s popularity was the endless blame RIM got lumbered with following the london riots. While the aiding of mass destruction isn’t exactly the kind of PR handset manufacturers go looking for, it does prove BBM’s popularity. It seems as though BBM is as popular among ‘da yoof’ as is creatively poor use of the English language.

Apple now has iMessage and WhatsApp is being joined by alternatives on the scene, but BBM was the first success in the free messaging game and continues to hold a large chunk of it because of that.

In the end, while huge shifts in management within tech companies usually signals or confirms that times are tough, RIM needs to surge forward by continuing on with what it does best.

There’s plenty in the BlackBerry stable that needs serious work, but there’s also plenty of promise for new CEO Thorsten Heins to go on.

  • http://twitter.com/Patrick_J73 Patrick

    Yeah the playbook is good, I like how the speakers are on the front so you can hear the sound without having to cup your hands on the back near the rear speakers on other tablets just to get the sound to come forward.
    I have owned two and my 11 year old has one too ( cheap £140 ). its is good and I have liked QNX from the floppy days.

    Its just a shame apps cost so much more than ios/android and there are not many good titles out yet. I think if they got there act together on price of tablet and sp’s in new model it could be a real winner. but only time will tell

  • http://twitter.com/Patrick_J73 Patrick

    Yeah the playbook is good, I like how the speakers are on the front so you can hear the sound without having to cup your hands on the back near the rear speakers on other tablets just to get the sound to come forward.
    I have owned two and my 11 year old has one too ( cheap £140 ). its is good and I have liked QNX from the floppy days.

    Its just a shame apps cost so much more than ios/android and there are not many good titles out yet. I think if they got there act together on price of tablet and sp’s in new model it could be a real winner. but only time will tell

  • Anonymous

    1) NFC badge access will be a ubiquitous non-differentiator,  2) Enterprise support for multiple mobile platforms is not new…again a non-differentiator, 3) QNX may well be a great OS, but the ecosystem and developer momentum is relatively small, 4) RIM only sits on 1 Billion in cash…not nearly enough against rivals like Apple, Google, Microsoft-Nokia…in terms of “priming” a QNX ecosystem, 5) BBM is a good business, but has a lot of excellent rival choices now, 6) RIM’s service stumbles have hurt its reputation in the corporate sector, 7) Old CEO with failed innovation efforts over past 4 years is now the Board Director overseeing innovation processes, 8) Old product development head over past few years is now new CEO.

  • Anonymous

    1) NFC badge access will be a ubiquitous non-differentiator,  2) Enterprise support for multiple mobile platforms is not new…again a non-differentiator, 3) QNX may well be a great OS, but the ecosystem and developer momentum is relatively small, 4) RIM only sits on 1 Billion in cash…not nearly enough against rivals like Apple, Google, Microsoft-Nokia…in terms of “priming” a QNX ecosystem, 5) BBM is a good business, but has a lot of excellent rival choices now, 6) RIM’s service stumbles have hurt its reputation in the corporate sector, 7) Old CEO with failed innovation efforts over past 4 years is now the Board Director overseeing innovation processes, 8) Old product development head over past few years is now new CEO.

Hot chat, right here!


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