Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu said in a research note yesterday that BlackBerry 6, the next version of Research in Motion’s BlackBerry operating system, may not come out on CDMA networks like Sprint and Verizon until 2011.
Almost 80% of all wireless networks use GSM technology, so, it makes sense that RIM would target the biggest audience for the release their newest OS. We believe that the BlackBerry 9800 (BlackBerry Slider) will be the first device to run BlackBerry 6 and that it will come out on AT&T in the August / September timeframe. The problem for RIM, however, is that most BlackBerry devices are purchased here in the United States where the majority of BlackBerry users are CDMA BlackBerry users.
Verizon’s smartphone of choice used to be the BlackBerry. That changed, however, after RIM’s failings with the BlackBerry Storm / Storm2 and Verizon’s introduction of the Motorola Droid. It is clear that Verizon intends to sell as many Android devices as physically possible and if there isn’t a new CDMA BlackBerry 6 powered device ready to roll soon after the release of the BlackBerry Slider, RIM will see further strain on their Verizon relationship that once fueled over 40% of RIM’s revenues.
Today, Verizon only accounts for 10% to 15% of RIM’s revenue and that number will surely continue to dwindle if Verizon doesn’t get a new device running BlackBerry 6 shortly after the launch of BlackBerry 6. I personally have been a die hard Verizon BlackBerry user for the last seven years. I won’t, however, buy another BlackBerry device that runs an OS less than BlackBerry 6 and I have no intention on leaving Verizon.
I’d be willing to bet that a lot over Verizon BlackBerry users feel the same way that I do and a really big issue for RIM is that Verizon sold a ridiculous number of BlackBerry devices in the late summer and fall of 2008. This means that a lot of Verizon BlackBerry subscribers are coming off of their 2-year agreements. Some will just hang on to their devices until a BlackBerry 6 model comes out. Some will upgrade into a newer BlackBerry that runs something less than BlackBerry 6, and many (read millions) will leave platform all together for whatever Verizon is pumping 100s of millions of advertising dollars into making it seem like it is the coolest smartphone of all time…
I am guessing that will be a pretty sweet line-up of Android powered devices…
This is the best post I read on rimarkable in a while and I think that you are dead on with your take. I bought the original Blackberry Storm when it came out and have pretty much stuck with it. I am more than willing to look at whatever replaces the Storm2 if it is out when my contract is up, but, if there isn’t a Storm3 or at least some other touchscreen Blackberry that runs 6, I will probably go with the Droid 2 or whatever else is cool from Verizon at the time.
Bear in mind that 2011 is not that long after the rumored November timeframe. Even not so far from September. The question is are we talking 1st q 2011 or 2nd.
Count me and my husband among those who bought BlackBerries from Verizon in 2008 and are ready to jump ship. In fact, he’s planning to get the Droid X when it comes out later this week. Because I dropped my phone and had to replace it/sign a new 2-year contract, I’m stuck with it for quite a while longer.
Blackberry OS 6 is already being tested by Verizon for the Storm 2 9550. I doubt that this testing will take them into the next year. There is not much benefit for them to hold off on OS 6, especially when AT&T will be releasing OS 6 devices in the near future.
Perhaps RIM has learned from their mistakes with the Storm and Storm 2 and wants to get the Storm 3 right. Another failure in the eyes of touchscreen users may prove to be unforgivable this time. The specs of the rumored Storm 3 look pretty impressive and may push RIM to the top of the pack in the consumer smartphone market and I hope they take the time to make it a successful new Storm model, even though I am anxious to try it out.
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