RIM’s BlackBerry platform has seen so many ups and downs over the years, but mostly downs since the past couple of years. The company just announced its Q3 financial results and they were very underwhelming. This does not surprise anybody as the platform has been gasping for breath ever since iPhones and Android took over the market. Its current line of BlackBerry OS 7 smartphones haven’t done all that well either, except in a few Asian markets. And many have been speculating that the company could be looking to ditch the platform after it announces the BlackBerry 10 OS in January. This made a lot of sense as BlackBerry 10 is a whole new era in the world of BlackBerry. But RIM’s CEO doesn’t believe so, and he has come out with a word mentioning that BlackBerry 7 smartphones will still be supported irrespective of what’s in store for the company. Speaking during the conference call shortly after the announcement of the Q3 earnings, he reaffirmed the company’s stance of supporting older hardware.
He said – “So just to be very clear, we will not just kind of stop BB7 from being supported. We have a significant R&D team working and continuing to work on BB7. And you just saw us innovating on BB7 as well when we announced the BBM voice capability. So we will maintain BB7. There is a strong success with BB7 devices in the Asia Pac markets. And as you can see on the devices that we’re launching with BB10, you can probably get an idea of in which price points they fit. So no, we will support those on-boarding, entry-level smartphone markets. We will continue to support them with BlackBerry 7, and you might expect us to even build one of the other new products based on BlackBerry 7. Because for those messaging-oriented markets, it’s an exciting platform and its a really perfect platform.”
As we speak, the R&D team at RIM is currently working to roll out BB 7 updates to existing smartphones at regular intervals, and the users certainly love that. It’s commendable that the company isn’t leaving its old users in the dark right after the arrival of a new OS. Paving the way for other manufacturers to follow suit. It is also interesting how the CEO mentioned that we could see BB 7 running on newer hardware, which means the company still has plans for the platform. So for now it seems like the BlackBerry OS 7 platform is still pretty much alive, at least in RIM’s books. That being said, the company would want to maintain focus on the January 30 event as the introduction of BlackBerry 10 has already received a lot of hype. It will be interesting to see if RIM will be able to rise from the ashes with the new OS.