The RIM chief made clear this is not a smartphone issue but a mobile computing issue that includes a new generation of embedded systems and sensors, which increasingly surround users. BlackBerry 10, based on the QNX Software real-time operating system RIM acquired in 2010, is intended not as a smartphone platform but as a mobile computing platform.
For both consumers and enterprise users, "I want to provide a cutting edge mobile computing platform, and then augment it with strong partnerships with application and services providers," Heins said.
FIRST LOOK: RIM's BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha Smartphone
"We're nearing completion on BlackBerry 10," Heins revealed. "Quality matters: I want the BlackBerry 10 experience to be perfect. I want to wow people. There's much more to come than what you saw yesterday [in the conference keynote]."
To that end, RIM has begun talks with partners about the possibility of licensing BlackBerry 10 for a range of embedded systems and devices, including medical equipment, automotive telematics and entertainment systems, and smart grids, according to Heins. "RIM will be offering them the best mobile computing platform," he said. There's no talks or plans currently to license it to other smartphone or tablet makers.
The enterprise market remains important to RIM. "We had our enterprise pieces separated and fragmented," he said. "Now we put them under [RIM CIO] Robin Bienfait. Now that we have, we'll push the throttle pedal a bit more. I want to be No.1 in the enterprise, and I need BlackBery 10 as the platform [to do that]."
He acknowledged the steep slide of RIM's U.S. market share, even in its traditional enterprise strongholds. "In the U.S., we have an uphill battle, there's no question," he admitted. "We are where we are. I'm convinced with the BlackBerry 10 portfolio, we will be a strong contender in the U.S. and gain market share."
"I'm here to win," he said. "I'm not here to just stay in the game."
In the rest of the world, Heins said, "we're still growing," fueled by the entry-level BlackBerry smartphones that continue to "do very well." Overseas, "we are under pressure there," he said. "We have to compete there and we will."
BlackBerry 7 still has a future in all markets as the basis of entry-level smartphones. "We won't shut that down," Heins said. RIM has a dedicated BB7 group, several hundred strong, in Raleigh, N.C. "We're absolutely committed to an entry-level BlackBerry 7."
But there should be no doubt about RIM's direction. "A new platform is a new platform," he said. "There can't be compatibility [between them]. BlackBerry 7 is a strong smartphone base. BlackBerry 10 is a mobile computing base."
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