RIM Stock Drops as CEO Tries to Assuage Blackberry 10 Worries
Created: 2012-05-02 14:54 EST
Visitors try out Blackberry tablet PC's at the world's biggest high-tech fair, the CeBIT, on March 6, 2012 in Hanover, central Germany. (ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) CEO Thorsten Heins addressed the press today to reaffirm that the phone developer will continue to produce phones with physical keyboards.
Investors did not respond positively, and shares dropped to $10.81 by 10:06 AM EST, a 19.8% drop. It closed Tuesday at $13.48.
RIM showed off its upcoming Blackberry 10 OS on Tuesday at BlackBerry World in Orlando. Many people took note when the presentation displayed a brandless touchscreen phone, something similar to their iPhone and many Android-based competitors.
BB10 OS seemed to have an emphasis on three things: camera, flow, and keyboard.
Its new camera features do seem novel, with a rewind feature. After taking a photo, you can rewind (and fastforward) a short period in time to look for the best frame available
RIM emphasized “flow” as well, which seems to be their description of multi-tasking. Applications, and apparently the use of a few at a time, has been stressed. Research in Motion also announced today that any developer producing an app certified for BlackBerry 10, meeting its terms and conditions, would be guaranteed $10,000.
However, the concern over BB10 may be related to its keyboard, or lack-thereof. Even as the iPhone continues to take over much of the mobile phone market share, and people have shown a willingness to adapt to a touchscreen world, the Blackberry line has retained much of its audience thanks to its marketing as a business phone, with the physical keyboard a key part of its corporate-based identity.
The new BB10 OS touted its predictive text abilities on a touchscreen, which looked good, but has been around on most competitor operating systems for a while.
Some may assume that the touchscreen OS represents a turn towards consumers, but Heins tried to ease concerns.
"We will be extremely strong in enterprise," Heins said.
He also noted that RIM will continue to produce phones with physical keyboards.
One noticeable missing feature from the BlackBerry World announcements is a phone to match with the new OS, which will arguably be more important for RIM’s future than BlackBerry 10.
RIM had a poor earning report released at the end of March, showing a 19% decrease in revenues for the fourth quarter relative to its third quarter. Co-founder Jim Balsillie and other executives resigned around the same time.