As the market shifts, however, Research in Motion (RIM) is faring poorly, heavily hit in the mobile market by competitors, prompting a warning from analyst and research firm, Frost & Sullivan, that RIM might not survive as the company it is today.
According to the latest market report from Frost & Sullivan, as the mobility trend heats up, the mobile tech giants battle it out to try and gain more market share in the industry, with mobile platforms hitting critical mass across smartphones and tablets.
For Research in Motion (RIM), Frost & Sullivan says the rollout of the BB10 comes too little, too late in the day for the company, and that the delay of devices will hurt it further, with suggestions that Rim may not survive in its current form for much longer.
Frost & Sullivan’s Pranabesh Nath, Research Manager, Enterprise Communications & Contact Centres, Asia Pacific – who co-authored the report with Abhishek Chauhan, Senior Consultant, ICT Practice, South Asia & Middle East – says RIM has been battered by hyper competition from Google, Apple and Microsoft, as well as some “questionable competitive decisions it has made over the last few years.”
RIM, according to Nath, needs three basic things to turn the company around:
• Completely revamped mobile devices - both hardware and OS that can trump the competition
• Developer and partner support (which has been waning as of late) to develop new and exciting applications for BB10; and
• Customer confidence and interest - which has also waned considerably after RIM consistently failed to keep up with superior products from the competition.
But, as Nath also points out: “These are big things to ask for and are very difficult to accomplish at present; the odds are stacked against the company, going by past history of how big tech companies can sink quickly.”
According to Frost & Sullivan, in the beginning RIM has relied much on its business model of secure messaging and voice services as well as its “iconic keyboard centric design.”
“In the latter stages, it failed to innovate quickly enough when it became obvious the trend was clearly towards touch devices and large app stores.
“In the end, only a few developers still support the RIM platform because there are very few users in the RIM ecosystem (as compared to Apple or Google) as those few users directly affect how lucrative the market is for paid apps by the developers,” Nath says.
It’s a different story for Google tablet Nexus 7, observes Frost & Sullivan, with “positive news for the industry and for consumers, with Google Nexus 7 bringing another major player to the low-end tablet market ($150 - $200) after Amazon with its Kindle Fire.
According to Nath, this will increase awareness and provide direction for other android manufacturers to follow – “similar to how Google has done with launching cutting edge mobile devices with every iteration of its android OS.”
Nath says this may even push companies such as Apple to launch a smaller iPad - something the company has not done yet – “since the demand is clearly there.”
But Nath also says that Google's track record with hardware is untested, and it remains to be seen if Google will enter into direct competition with its hardware partners or “find a way to keep them happy.”
On the on-going patent legal battle between Samsung and Apple, Frost & Sullivan says that with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus banned in the US, consumers are losing out as it hampers competition and innovation.
“The patent wars between Apple and Samsung have gone on for a while now and have assumed ridiculous proportions. For Apple this is a fight for survival and profitability since Samsung is quite capable of flooding the worldwide market with quality alternatives to the iPad, that too at varying price points – something Apple has yet to do.
“Samsung has already done this quite successfully if you take a look at the sales of their Galaxy SII smartphone and Galaxy tablet devices,” Nath says, adding that this is expected to continue for some time if there is no intervention from government or regulatory authorities.
“What this brings into question is the legality of seemingly generic patents that have been filed by all manufacturers over the years, and not just Apple, something that does not look like it will get settled soon.”
Frost & Sullivan also looked at the launch of Apple’s own Map services, which, as it says has resulted in Google Maps no longer being supported in the advanced iOS devices – and which Nath cautions “poses a huge risk to Google’s primary business-advertisements.”
Nath observes that today’s focus is on providing location based information and localised information to the end users regarding the various points of interest – “Maps and Siri together can take off a significant portion of the mobile advertisement revenues from Google’s coffers.”