On Wednesday, Canadian tech company Research in Motion will unveil its long-awaited new operating system, BlackBerry 10. BB10 is a big deal for RIM: If the OS is a success, it could help the struggling RIM revive its fortunes. If it's a failure, RIM will likely continue to lose market shares to the Apple iPhone and phones running Google's Android OS.
Which is why, for the first time ever, RIM will give one of its products a spot on one of the biggest stages on earth: Super Bowl XLVII. According to the Wall Street Journal, RIM is planning on running at least one spot during the championship game, which will take place on Sunday in New Orleans.
"A Super Bowl commercial is a great opportunity to show the re-designed, re-engineered and re-invented BlackBerry to tens of millions of consumers on the largest advertising stage of the year," RIM exec Frank Boulben said in a statement. No word yet on exactly what the ads will look like, although we're hoping for something on the level of last year's "Halftime in America" spot. "Halftime in the smartphone wars," perhaps.
We can picture it now: Scrappy RIM, playing the doggedly-determined long-shot...
So hey, can BB10 save RIM? Well, in a smart piece over at the Telegraph, Matt Warman argues that the question is a complicated one – RIM has long thrived in the business world, among corporate clients that prized the security and accessibility of RIM devices. And yet increasingly, these same clients have shown a willingness to adopt devices such as the Apple iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S III.
So RIM must rapidly become cool among its affluent core, which so quickly ran for the iPhone and now accepts Samsung enthusiastically too. And it must also quickly make even its premium devices affordable to a fickle younger user base. In that sense, the quality of the phone is at best equally important to the perception of the brand. At worst, BB10 is simply too little too late for BlackBerry thanks to a lethal combination of being consistently decent but not outstanding when it comes to cool factor, hardware, software and app availability.
We tend to agree. It's not inconceivable that RIM could mount some kind of comeback – there are signs that even the mighty Apple is losing its cache – but it would require a significant rejiggering of the BlackBerry brand. Not to mention a phone and OS that consumers view as must-have.