Research in Motion, makers of the BlackBerry, need a Hail Mary pass. Its sales are dropping; a few week ago, it put out dismal numbers. As if that wasn’t enough, it issued a new profit warning this week, lowering already-low expectations.
Today RIM unveiled the latest version of its BlackBerry Bold smartphone, reports Reuters. Instantly, it was a little like salve on a wound; U.S. shares had dropped 14% last Friday, but rose nearly 1% in early trade today.
Does it really count as the Hail Mary that’s needed, though? This is an upgrade, not a game-changer. The new Bold still has the iconic physical keyboard. It will have a 2.8-inch screen, a 1.2 GHz processor, and a near-field communication chip.
It was one of a string of announcements, in fact–a blizzard of press releases went out this morning from the company (unfortunate timing, given the killing of you know who). Video chat is coming to the PlayBook tablet, and RIM is buying a company called Ubitexx, among other news.
The most innovative-sounding thing from this morning’s flurry is something RIM calls BlackBerry Balance, which Reuters describes as “a program to allow corporate and personal data to coexist without compromising confidential communication.” This is novel and needed, and perfect for RIM’s corporate-leaning market. RIM should focus on innovating in areas like this if it wants the future to look any sunnier. Relying on being the standard-issue smartphone from behind-the-curve businesses is not a way to remain relevant.
[Image: Flickr user sean_hickin]