Let’s face it, folks — RIM is on a tear and its Q1 2010 results are proof positive of this fact. While a tax drop might have helped propel the company’s quarterly profit to a record high of $643 million, the fact remains that things are pretty much going better than ever — especially considering the global recession. 7.8 million devices were shipped and 3.8 million new BlackBerry owners were added, although the latter is down approximately 100,000 from the previous quarter. As for the immediate future, don’t expect RIM to lose momentum any time soon. Devices like the Storm 2 will surely help add to its 28.5 million userbase worldwide — and let us not forget about the highly anticipated Tour 9630 that’s all set for a summer release.
According to an article published yesterday by GPS Business News, RIM may have quietly acquired struggling nav/LBS firm Dash Navigation. The site’s co-founder and Editor allegedly spoke to a trusted source who claims that the acquisition is a done deal. Dash, as we’re sure you’ll remember, was the maker of an awesome little connected nav unit that, well, no one bought. In November of last year, Dash laid off several staffers and announced it would cease production of its hardware solution, the Dash Express. While Dash has long since stopped making hardware navigation units like the one we had a little fun with above, the company would continue to license its software to hardware and mobile handset manufacturers moving forward. Despite its lack of user adoption, Dash indeed built a solid platform that is literally world’s beyond RIM’s current mapping/LBS solutions on BlackBerry devices. If RIM is looking to improve its offerings, snatching up Dash would definitely be a very inexpensive way to go. Neither RIM nor Dash have commented on acquisition rumors.
While RIM’s next-generation handsets such as the Bold, Storm and Curve 8900 are already flooding the marketplace — and a new wave including the Tour and Curve 8520 are on the horizon — it looks like RIM’s bread and butter is still the trusty old Curve 83xx series. According to recent analysis by The NPD Group, the BlackBerry Curve was America’s best selling smartphone in Q1 of 2009. It steals the title from the iPhone of course, as sales slow from its incredible pace last year. The NPD Group cites aggressive promotions such as Verizon’s popular BOGO offers as the catalyst behind the surge. Here are the top five smartphones in America this past quarter:
Oh hello, WES week! This is already shaping up to be one hell of a nice week for BlackBerry users. Not only did RIM launch BES 5.0 this morning, but it also announced that BlackBerry developers who are members of the BlackBerry Alliance Program now have access to a new API intended to serve even more push content to end-users. In a nut shell, devs who utilize the new API will be able to create or update existing apps so that they push new content to users as soon as it becomes available. This basically negates the need for manual or timed polling. Imagine, for example, sitting in a boring meeting when your BlackBerry’s status indicator lights up. Your favorite sports app informs you Roy Halladay has just struck out David Ortiz with the bases loaded to clinch the AL East mere moments after it happens. With the new push API, your BlackBerry will be able to do this in the near future — and that’s a good thing.
It would be oh so easy to take a few cheap shots with this one but we’re going to just go ahead and give out the facts. It seems the launch of Facebook 1.5 for BlackBerry was wrought with difficulties as a few major bugs quickly reared their ugly heads. Specifically, if you downloaded Facebook for BlackBerry your default calendar might have gone all screwy and been replaced by one specifically for Facebook. It wasn’t only calendars that got messed up however, as a few friendships hit the rocks when everyone who didn’t list a phone number on his or her Facebook profile page was bombarded with requests to share numbers. Anyway, 220.127.116.11 is now here so hit http://www.blackberry.com/facebook from your Berry’s browser and grab it. But please do one thing if you’ve already got 18.104.22.168 on your handset and your calendar went haywire — make sure that you restore your default calendar by way of Options > Advanced Options > Default Services > Reset Calendar after you install the update.
It’s a recession people, and in a recession the name of the game is to keep sales as steady as possible while reducing costs as much as possible. For countless companies this means unloading employees but as RIM’s market share continues to surge, the Canadian handset maker is taking a different approach; use its solid sales to squeeze better prices out of its suppliers. Based on iSuppli’s estimates, BlackBerrys do have a fairly substantial cost to RIM with the Bold running the company approximately $170 per unit and the Storm running about $203 per unit. Considering the volume we’re dealing with here, if RIM can knock even a few pennies off the cost of certain parts the result will be huge. RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie stated recently that the company’s efforts to lower costs will be felt this quarter, meaning it is already making some good headway. We can only hope that reduced cost doesn’t translate into reduced quality — it would be hard to find even the most avid BlackBerry fanboy who would deny that BlackBerry devices don’t exactly top the charts where build quality is concerned. If suppliers are forced to lower their prices to accommodate pressure from RIM, something has to give lest they eat into their own profits.
Alain Segond von Banchet, Channel Sales manger for RIM in the Netherlands, reportedly spoke freely about the BlackBerry Storm 2 during the TeleVisie 2009 Expo in the Netherlands yesterday. Segond von Banchet supposedly revealed that the Storm successor will launch in late 2009 or early 2010 with KPN, a move away from the exclusive Vodafone launch seen with the original Storm. He also confirmed that the Storm 2 will contain an improved touch input method, which we spoke of yesterday, so consider this a third source of confirmation. Now here’s where things get sketchy. Segond von Banchet supposedly also claimed that RIM will be slowing down the release schedule for devices in 2009 with no new devices except for the Storm 2. Considering we all know the Niagra alone is well on its way to two US carriers, at least one confirmed in 2009, this report loses a bit of credibility lest he was speaking only about the local market in the Netherlands. Either way, RIM and its partners seem a bit loose lipped regarding the unannounced Storm 2 — very, very uncharacteristic.
If you’re one of those people who hates it when celebrities meddle with your phones, you might want to skip this one. We’ve known for about a month now that U2 has partnered up with RIM for U2’s upcoming “U2 360″ World tour, but according to Canada’s Globe and Mail, there might just be a bit more to the RIM/U2 deal than a bunch of BlackBerry posters and SWAG at concert venues. When asked about the partnership, Bono had this to say, “I’m very excited about this. Research In Motion is going to give us what Apple wouldn’t Ã¢â‚¬â€ access to their labs and their people so we can do something really spectacular.” When asked if this meant that there is a possibility of a custom BlackBerry app that would allow the band to communicate with their BlackBerry-toting fans, Bono only responded with “you’re not far off.” Now, we’re not ones for unsubstantiated rumors at BGR, but was Bono trying to hint at a special edition BlackBerry loaded with U2 content much like 2004’s U2 Special Edition iPod? Perhaps a Product RED BlackBerry seeing as Bono was a founder of the initiative? We’re not too sure, but if all that does come out of this is a crummy app, color us unimpressed especially since there was all that talk of a “shared vision” when the partnership was announced.
So… one of our ninjas just hit us up with some really interesting BlackBerry info. While the specs of the following codenames are confirmed, releases are not, and as such, this should be used for information sake. Here’s what we got:
- GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS device
- Wi-Fi (no UMA support)
- QWERTY keyboard
- 480×360 resolution screen
- Confirmed carriers: AT&T
In an economic climate where its been mostly doom and gloom, it’s nice to see that a few companies still know how to do one very important thing — turn a profit. One company that has been able to consistently do this over many years is RIM, maker of the BlackBerry smartphone who yesterday released their Q4 financial results. With Q4 revenue 24.5% over that of the previous quarter and 84% above the same period last year, RIM took in a cool $3.46 billion with the bulk of revenue (some 83%) coming from handset sales alone as some 7.8 million devices were sold over the past three months ended February 28, 2009. All told, RIM can now tout a subscriber base of 25 million which helped propel its net income for Q4 ‘09 to $518.3 million ($0.90 per share diluted), a rather impressive increase over the $396.3 million ($0.69 per share diluted) of Q3 ‘09 at a time when both corporations and consumers, who now make up half of RIM’s subscribers, are slashing expenses left, right and center. As for Fiscal 2009, net income came in at $1.89 billion ($3.30 per share diluted), an increase of 46.3% from that of 2008. RIM is expecting to add 3.7 to 3.9 million subscribers in Q1 2010 with revenue in the range of $3.3 and $3.5 billion and an earnings per share of $0.88 to $0.97 per share diluted.