Can new BB10 turn BlackBerry’s fortunes around?

BB10BlackBerry has been having a pretty tough time lately. First new Yahoo boss Marissa Mayer announced the search engine was no longer using BlackBerries as its corporate phones.

Now, Research in Motion, which owns BlackBerry has announced a huge loss of $235m (£145m) for the three months up to the end of August.

But it’s not all bad news. After announcing it was focusing on its strength, the business market, BlackBerry appears to be about to release two new devices.

An online video has appeared, apparently showing BlackBerry’s new L and N series phones.

The clip has now been removed, but not before it was spotted on Vimeo, a video sharing site, seemingly showing two new BlackBerry gadgets – one tapping into the market for touchscreen and another with a large screen combined with a full qwerty keyboard.

Crackberry.com, which dedicates itself to news and rumours from the BlackBerry world, managed to capture some images before the video was taken down.

BlackBerry itself has refused to confirm whether the video does show new devices, but it all looks pretty legitimate, appearing to come from marketing material prepared by the firm.

BlackBerry-logoThe Canadian telecommunications company will be hoping any new releases build on some slow, but promising momentum.

While it’s most recent results clearly cannot be described as anything other than bad, they’re not as bad as everyone was expecting. Wall Street was predicting even bigger losses so share prices have now been buoyed as the pessimism turned out to be slightly unfounded.

One of the analysts at stockbroker Sterne Agee, Shaw Wu, said: “It’s still bad, but it’s a much smaller disaster than expected.”

Now RIM will be hoping to cash in with its anticipated BB10 series devices. RIM’s chief executive Thorsten Heins is betting on the new phones tempting customers away from the big names, Apple and Samsung, in the crucial US and UK markets.

BlackBerry became known as the phone of choice for US president Barack Obama when he used one of the firm’s devices to communicate during and after his 2008 presidential campaign. His seeming endorsement was thought to be worth up to $50m to BlackBerry.

While BlackBerry will clearly be hoping to return to its heyday, and better it, it has a lot of work to do before it can re-establish itself as a real force to be reckoned with in the increasingly competitive smartphone market. Last quarter, its global market share fell before five per cent, compared with the 12 per cent share research showed it enjoyed just a year earlier.

But David Glance, a director at the Centre for Software Practice at The University of Western Australia, believes the writing may already be on the wall for BlackBerry.

“It is not that uncommon these days to have business people apologise for still having to use a BlackBerry phone,” he said. “It is the phone equivalent of having Windows XP and Internet Explorer 6 on your 10-year-old Toshiba laptop.”

The new BB10 platform is expected to be released early next year.

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