BlackBerry 7 to debut on a range of new phones: RIM

BlackBerry 7 is coming. Is it enough to boost the fortunes of RIM?

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    A bevy of BlackBerry 7 phones is forthcoming. Here, the new BlackBerry bold, running RIM's new 7 series OS.
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BlackBerry 7 is a go. RIM today announced it would soon roll out five new smartphones running the next generation BlackBerry 7 OS, including three handsets from the Torch line and two from the Bold line. The two Bold phones – one of them is pictured above – are the thinnest phones RIM has ever produced, while the Torch devices pair a slider keyboard with a large touch screen.

In a statement, RIM said BlackBerry 7 based smartphones churn through the Web 40 faster than BlackBerry 6 smartphones and a 100 percent faster than BlackBerry 5 smartphones. Which is pretty impressive! So can the BlackBerry 7 OS help haul RIM out of its recent fiscal morass?

Well, over at PC World, Sascha Segan is not so optimistic. "BlackBerry 7 isn't what the company needs. Everyone knows what the company needs: its next-generation OS, QNX, on phones. This isn't cutting-edge analysis here," Segan writes. "I was at the launch of BlackBerry 7 in May, and it isn't a radical change. There's nothing radical about these new phones at all."

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These have been exceptionally grim days for RIM, which announced late last month that it would slash 2,000 jobs worldwide – approximately 10.5 percent of the entire company workforce. In a press release, RIM reps said the layoffs would allow the company to "eliminat[e] redundancies" and rejigger internal strategy, but the sheer scale of the downsizing exceeded expectations, and sent RIM shares plummeting through the floorboards.

To be clear, RIM still represents a major force in the smartphone market, and probably will for years to come, in one capacity or another. And yet recent product launches, such as the new BlackBerry Bold or the BlackBerry PlayBook, have failed to yield much of a spark among critics or consumers. As Segan hints, what RIM really needs is something radical. What it really needs is a hit.

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