Blackberry's Silver Linings
Things may be looking pretty bleak for BlackBerry at the moment, but there have been a few recent news items that could turn things around. Of course, these news items leaked just after the massive outage, making them really just a desperate play at positive press, but as long as RIM can deliver what they are now promising the timing of the leaks won't matter a bit.
The first big news, announced by Mike Lazaridis at the company's recent developer conference, is the BBX operating system. This new software will take the impressive QNX operating software from the PlayBook, and modify it slightly so that it can run on smartphones. While this is great news for RIM, the company didn't say when devices will start using the new software, so it could be quite some time before a move like this translates into anything RIM can count on.
The second piece of big news is the leak of the specifications on the next two BlackBerry devices, the 9790 Bellagio and the Curve Touch 9380. The specs aren't anything to get all that excited about, but either of these two devices will fit the bill as "good enough," to prevent further churn from a lack of available handsets.
Finally, and perhaps the biggest potential savior for RIM, are the company's business and government customers. Despite all the flaws, BlackBerry devices are still the gold standard when it comes to data security, due to RIM's internal network which manages data movement. Some large organizations may be unwilling to abandon the security that RIM offers, while others may be unable to afford the cost of the switch. Either way, RIM has some large captive audiences. This is pretty much the only reason that RIM has added customers over the past year, even if their rate of growth is dwarfed by other manufacturers.