RIM hopes the future's so bright, it's gotta wear shades


With a new name, new operating system, new handsets and new server, Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM), I mean BlackBerry (soon to be NASDAQ: BBRY), is hoping that the future's so bright, it's gotta wear shades.

Yes, the pioneer of mobility is no longer (at least in name), RIM--which was founded way back in 1984 when "mobile" phones weighed two pounds, took 10 hours to charge for a half hour of talking time and cost $4,000--will cease to be. Instead, BlackBerry will take up the banner of the struggling wireless pioneer.

To much hoopla, RIM's CEO Thorsten Heins unveiled the long-awaited BlackBerry 10 operating system and handsets along with the company's new name in New York, a presentation that was simulcast across the globe. "Today represents a new day in the history of BlackBerry," Heins told the global audience.

The new handsets include the all-touchscreen Z10 and the Q10, which comes with a traditional physical keyboard. With the new user interface and sleek new design, Heins is hoping that people will no longer be embarrassed to bring their BlackBerrys to work.

So far, Wall Street is not sure what to make of the new and improved BlackBerry, aka RIM. After soaring 8 percent after the opening bell on Wednesday, the company's stock took an about turn and plunged to around 7 percent below the opening price in late-morning trading.

Of course, BlackBerry's future does not depend on the minute by minute judgment of investors, or even that of analysts, many of whom doubt RIM's ability to regain market share--which now hovers below 5 percent.

In the end, only the judgments of consumers and companies matter. With the explosion of BYOD, the path to the enterprise is through the consumer market. RIM must convince consumers that the new and improved BlackBerry is worth spending money on.

The rest of 2013 will determine whether RIM's future is bright or if this will be the year the world ends for them. - Fred

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