BlackBerry 6 video spurs mixed opinions
The latest video preview of the new BlackBerry operating system is generating mixed reviews and predictions about the company's future.
Research in Motion executives offered no hint at the company's annual shareholders meeting Tuesday evening about when its new BlackBerry 6 operating system will be released.
However, the company did launch a new YouTube video ahead of the meeting in Waterloo, Ont., highlighting some of operating system's features. They include the ability to take better advantage of touch screens, better search and browsing capabilities, and features to make mobile social networking easier.
Canadian technology journalist and analyst Carmi Levy said he isn't impressed.
"In many respects, RIM is playing catch-up in the features game," he said. "When BlackBerry OS version 6 is released, it's going to look and feel a lot like an iPhone or a Google Android-powered device."
However, Deepak Chopra, an analyst with Canaccord-Genuity, believes RIM's new operating system will help close the gap with its competitors.
"We believe RIM's market share should find a stabilization point, and the question is where and what that number will be," he said.
"We believe that OS 6 will hopefully stem the market share losses you have been seeing."
RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis first introduced BlackBerry 6 during his keynote address at the Wireless Enterprise Symposium in April. At that time, the new operating system is scheduled to launch in the next calendar quarter.
At the shareholder's meeting Wednesday, RIM executives indicated the company is trying to push new functions for company's smartphones.
BlackBerry Messenger pushed
Co-CEO Jim Balsillie said the company's BlackBerry messenger service grew more than 500 per cent in the latest financial year. The service is the focus of RIM's new advertising campaign.
Balsillie added that sales of RIM's products are up 35 per cent and subscribers up 64 per cent.
Nevertheless, the value of RIM's stock has been tanking. Analysts were disappointed with the company's last quarterly results, which did not meet targets.
Ken Hatt of Kitchener, Ont., a longtime shareholder, said he thinks RIM may not be promoting itself as well as its competitors, Apple and Google.
"I'd like to see them make a bigger splash with their products," he said, "which will, in turn, drive the price of the shares up."
With files from The Canadian Press