Research in Motion announced the arrival of five new BlackBerry 7 smartphones over the next few weeks, but don't expect the phones to set any sales records.
Instead the phones at best will serve as a stop gap to the much-hyped QNX-based smartphones that are set to be released in 2012.
On Wednesday RIM unveiled two new BlackBerry Bold models, the 9900 and 9930, and three new BlackBerry Torch phones, the 9810, 9850, and 9860.
The new smartphones are the first BlackBerry phones to hit the market in over a year, so there's that positive at least.
But none of the phones appear to make major leaps over any of the competitors in the market, plus RIM still hasn't put a definitive timetable on all of the phones. And if recent trends are any indication, it's doubtful that all of these phones will be released in a timely fashion.
Studies galore have showed us that more and more BlackBerry owners are jumping ship in favor of an iPhone or a Droid. There have been studies that show iPhone and Android users are more satisified with their phones than BlackBerry owners.
There have been studies that show more than double the amount of people would buy an iPhone over the next 90 days than a BlackBerry.
To boil it down, consumers really want iPhones and Android phones and are willing to ditch their BlackBerry in order to get one.
The major concerns for the BlackBerry-maker should be to maintain the current market base, which continues to shrink, and also to try to bring in customers new to the smartphone market. Unfortunately, these phones will likely do neither of those things.
Will it get the absolute most loyal BlackBerry owners, i.e. RIM employees, to buy the new phones?
But why would anyone buy one of these new phones when a new and improved operating system is only a year away? Especially given that a new iPhone 5 is right around the corner and could be even better than any QNX-based BlackBerry phone. The BlackBerry 7 phones do offer faster browser speeds, bigger screens, and better camera capabilities than older BlackBerry phones, but at best are only even with the current iPhone and Android phones on the market.
With the way the technology industry functions, there is always the threat that in a few months or year down the line, the technology you just bought could prove to be old or outdated. But rarely has a definitive timetable been put out before the predecessor even hits the market. RIM had to either go all-in with its QNX-based phones and get them out quicker, or never leak that the phones would be out by 2012 and just fully back the BlackBerry 7 phones.
The five new phones could hold down the BlackBerry consumer fort, but likely won't bring in any first time BlackBerry owners.
And if RIM ever wants to try to catch-up to Apple and Android phones, it will have to do that.