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RIM faces trouble despite BlackBerry 10

BlackBerry 10 garners favorable reviews, but generally seen as too little, too late

By Brad Reed, Network World
May 01, 2012 02:40 PM ET
RIM's BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha

Network World - The last couple of years have obviously not been kind to Research in Motion, which is why the company has been hoping to generate some much-needed positive buzz by unveiling portions of its upcoming BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system this week.

Before we get into reactions to BlackBerry 10, though, let's take a look at just what RIM is highlighting with its shiny new OS. The two big features to come out of this week's BlackBerry World conference so far have been a new camera system that is capable of "rewinding" photos to seconds before you took them so you can have more choice in which picture you want to keep if your initial snap doesn't turn out right, and a new touch keyboard system that lets users swipe backward to delete whole words and that adapts to users' typing habits in a manner similar to the BlackBerry PlayBook's QNX-based keyboard system.

MORE: RIM's demo of new BlackBerry impresses programmers, users

SLIDESHOW: A closer look at RIM's BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha smartphone 

OPINION: Does BlackBerry still have the juice?

While these new features are certainly welcome, most tech reporters and bloggers at this week's grand unveiling of BlackBerry 10 have generally reacted by calling the new OS a case of too little, too late. To be sure, many writers had positive impressions of BlackBerry 10's new features, including its new keyboard and camera functionalities, but they mostly doubted that they were enough to make a dent in the market shares of mobile world's two OS powerhouses, iOS and Android. Boy Genius Report's Jonathan Geller best summarized this sentiment by basically noting that RIM at this point needs plastic surgery a lot more than it needs a makeover.

"The parts of BlackBerry 10 demoed are slick -- capturing a series of images and combining different elements from each one before you save a photo seems genuinely incredible," he wrote. "What we saw wasn't truly innovative, though. It wasn't compelling enough, and it's unfortunately too late to try and gain enough traction and support for a third mobile ecosystem."

The Verge's Chris Ziegler was significantly more enthusiastic about the newest BlackBerry 10 features demonstrated today, but similarly thought that RIM didn't deliver enough of a differentiator with its new OS to bust through the current duopoly in the smartphone and tablet industry.

"Prior to [HP's now-defunct mobile operating system] WebOS, I would have been bullish on BlackBerry 10," he said. "Now, though? I'm too jaded - lots of moving parts that RIM needs to get right."

CNET's Marguerite Reardon also made comparisons with the ill-fated WebOS and said that it has become very difficult for an upstart operating system to make a dent in the mobile market where Apple and Google are constantly pumping out new updates and devices that further consolidate their market shares.

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