RIM’s Faith Hangs on BB10 as Software + Services Direct Mobile’s Future

RIM will release the first line of devices that run on its new BlackBerry 10 operating system on the 30th this month.  This time around, it’s all or nothing for the company.

The Canadian manufacturer has seen demand for its phones steadily decline in the last few years on the back of the Apple and Google’s abrupt, yet not surprising takeover of the mobile market.  One area they’ve been hit hard is the workplace, where the iPad has catalyzed the BYOD trend.  Existing users are switching brands and new customers are more attracted to Android and iOS devices, passing over the BBs once closely associated with the cubicle.

Things are looking dire for RIM, but the firm is not out of the mobile picture just yet. Its stock rose a few percentage points last week, and the more optimistic analysts believe that BlackBerry 10 could be the company’s last hope.

“The company continues to buy itself more time, said Colin Gillis, an analyst with BGC Financial. “It doesn’t mean [Blackberry] 10 will gain traction. A lot of people said 10 would be DOA, but I don’t think that’s going to be the case,” he said.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek called the latest results better than expected, noting that RIM added a significant amount of cash and now has $2.9 billion.  “The success or failure of this company will be on BlackBerry 10.”

RIM’s management has reached the same conclusion as Misek, which is why company has invested so much in setting the stage for BB10’s big debut.  In addition to partnering up with AT&T and Verizon, RIM launched its SDKs early so that BB10 users will have access to some 70,000 apps on launch. It also taken the platform through a government certification process that validates BB10 indeed lives up to the security standards required by the North American public sector.

The launch is the top priority for RIM right now, but a lot of thought has also been put into the company’s future: CEO Thorsten Heins reveled that licensing BB10 is not off the table, should the phones fail to catch consumers’ attention.  Heins says his intention with BB10 is to make it “future-proof,” a statement analyzed further by SiliconAngle Contributing Editor John Casaretto.  See his full commentary below: