BlackBerry Proved Me Wrong

Research In Motion (NASDAQ: BBRY  )  -- or as it's now called, BlackBerry -- proved me wrong.

In my rundown of expectations for the new smartphone line, I expected the new line of BlackBerry 10 phones to be masterpieces of truly modern hardware with some unexpected wrinkles thrown in for good measure. But what we got looks a lot like Samsung's finest handset from last year. All the magic was reserved for the software running the show. Even there, BlackBerry didn't come up with the utter spit-shine you might expect after nearly two years of working on absolutely nothing else.

Here's the play-by-play recap. "RIM gets to start from scratch with a whole new set of expectations, another five years of rapidly advancing technology, and nothing left to lose," I said. "Not going for broke would be totally insane."

By this definition, BlackBerry is certifiably insane. There's nothing wrong with the hardware of the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 phones. But there's nothing fantastic about them, either. They run on the same core chip from Qualcomm  (NASDAQ: QCOM  ) that powered last year's Samsung Galaxy S III, among other best-selling Androids. Qualcomm has better technology on hand today, and the S III will be made obsolete in a few weeks when Sammy updates its top-shelf smartphone choice. But BlackBerry stuck with the tried-and-true option, which is growing a Lincoln-like beard by now.

So I was way wrong on the first point, which I thought was a blooming obvious, non-negotiable target.

On the second prediction, which called for at least one mind-blowing feature that nobody else could boast, I guess I'm not completely out to lunch. BlackBerry 10 comes with some nifty software to make slick presentations out of camera snapshots, and the ability to switch between securely separate work and personal environments in a hurry raised some eyebrows.

It's good stuff, and unexpected. My mind isn't exactly blown, but BlackBerry did come through with some surprises.

The jury will be out on the third point for some time. The presentation did nothing to change my opinion that BlackBerry is heading down the same dank, dark rabbit hole that killed Palm, but it's up to the marketplace to cast the final vote.

This stock did plunge 20% in the two days after unveiling BB10. You can chalk some of it up to "buy on the rumor, sell on the news" speculation, but that's hardly the whole story. Investors have seen BlackBerry's white knight, and they don't believe that he can slay the twin dragons that rule the smartphone world today.

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Read/Post Comments (7) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2013, at 5:27 PM, Gunkd wrote:

    I recently saw the phone in ebay and is selling fast... there are many people in uk with lanes of people trying to buy the phone... and i we got some new articles that saids that the phones has better features than the iphone... all these are facts and are happening as we speak..... and now u are saying that rimm will go down.... i think u need to check the facts from real people in real life.. not in rumors...

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2013, at 6:58 PM, Arthur1111 wrote:

    RIMM is stil up over 100% since Sep. The recent drop is over reaction for releasing the phone in March in the US. The phone is available, but something sounds fishy with the carrier testing nonsense. I think Apple and Android are scared...But, one month delay is not the end of the world. RIMM is back.

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2013, at 7:30 PM, TimKnows wrote:

    What a load of garbage this article is, thanks!!!

    Fully 50% of pre-orders are from non-blackBerry consumers, ouch Apple!!!! The phone is amazing, the author has been using crap for so long they like crap.

  • Report this Comment On February 01, 2013, at 12:54 AM, Hunter2013 wrote:

    Awee, and you're long APPL did you say?

    I am stunned to see this type of so called analysis being written and posted on the net like it is from someone who really knows about what they are writing. This is a load of useless and utter rubbish.

    If RIM let you down so be it, and perhaps your expectations were not quite aligned with reality.

    Really what did you expect them to release in terms of features, did you want a phone with a GOD button so you can have direct access to GOD HIMSELF, and then would it be better than APPL, oh I don't think that would have cut it out unless they prefixed the letter "i" to everything on the phone .... you guys are one track minded and that's going to get you run over. Enjoy your ride.

  • Report this Comment On February 01, 2013, at 2:35 AM, gordonthebull wrote:

    All of the authors on motley fool is biased and RIMM bashers but for what reason? I can't believe this author is totally ignorant about the great features that no other smartphones (iPhone/androids) have. Is the author being paid to kill the BB brand?

  • Report this Comment On February 01, 2013, at 7:19 AM, RandomMeaning wrote:

    I have one suggestion for why the carriers might be dragging their feet: Skype.

    Carriers hate Skype. They have no desire to see it become a standard feature. Notice how the carriers happily took Microsoft's millions, promising huge support for the Windows 08 phones but have done very little to actually sell them. They'd rather sell some Samsung Androids where their employees can rake in some nice spiffs for each Samsung sold or Apple iPhones with their profitable data fees. Also, notice how Microsoft has said very little about Skype after their initial excitement when they bought the company. Apparently, they got the memo.

    I would not be surprised if the carriers became a bit more helpful and swift to test Blackberries if RIM/BlackBerry quietly abandoned Skype.

  • Report this Comment On February 01, 2013, at 8:02 AM, RandomMeaning wrote:

    "there are many people in uk with lanes of people trying to buy the phone"

    Do you have a link? I have actively searched for news articles talking about people lining up for BlackBerries in England and found nothing. This morning I checked England's major news websites: BBC, the Guardian, the Independent, the Telegraph, and the Daily Mail. All of them had interesting articles covering the positives and negatives of the Z10 in detail, information about the launch, and follow up articles. None of them mentioned anything about people lining up or how they were selling.

    In fact, the only article I've seen addressing people lining up for BlackBerries in England was the Wall Street Journal:

    "Mostly absent from the rollout in the U.K. were the long lines that often accompany a new Apple Inc. iPhone launch. And some stores operated by the nation's biggest mobile operators reported receiving a small supply of the Z10, or none at all."

    http://professional.wsj.com/article/SB1000142412788732415620...

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