updated 06:40 pm EST, Thu December 16, 2010
RIM hints faster BlackBerry, gets quiet on Apple
RIM is planning faster BlackBerry phones for 2011, co-CEO Jim Balsillie said during a fall results call that also tried to downplay Apple. The executive promised that there would be "higher performance smartphones" next year, including different tiers. There were "leapfrog technologies" in the roadmap, and "very interesting pieces that people don't know yet," he added.
Performance has been one of the main criticisms of RIM's phones, particularly the Style and the Torch. The company is still using processors two years old despite the added demands of BlackBerry 6 and has mostly just doubled the memory to 512MB to offset the extra workload. RIM isn't expected to roll in the dual-core 1GHz chip from the PlayBook since it has already said it needs to tune its experience for the battery life and small sizes of smartphones.
When asked about the company's BlackBerry numbers, which at 14.2 million were just 100,000 units ahead of Apple's summer results, Balsillie also backed away from previous attempts to question the validity of iPhone numbers. He was happy that business was growing quickly but suddenly discouraged direct comparisons, arguing that there were "ebbs and tides." RIM would layer on the new technology, future proof architectures and its tablet strategy to get back out ahead. Proof would come in what RIM delivered.
"It's very dangerous to get the Excel spreadsheet out and extend certain trends perpetually," Balsillie contended.
The remarks followed just after Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu raised estimates for Apple to predict 16 million iPhones shipped by the end of its own fall quarter. If near Apple's real results, it would represent the first instance of the iPhone outselling the BlackBerry for two consecutive quarters.