Research In Motion (RIMM) has come out with a new version of its Blackberry called Bold. It incorporates many of the multimedia functions of the Apple (AAPL) iPhone. To trump the Steve Jobs product, it operates on 3G networks accessing faster wireless broadband. This will be a selling benefit in the US and in places like Europe where 3G is widely deployed.
Apple will not be far behind RIM in the 3G department. Its new iPhone will have the capability of working on these speedy airwaves. The most significant new features of the RIM Bold are its easier web access and its ability to download music and video. These are just the things that the prototypical Blackberry user does not want. It may increase the price of the product, but e-mail is at the core of the device’s appeal and piling on features which are of use to people in their twenties does not bring much to the table.
RIM will be assaulted by the new Apple 3G iPhone. It already has multimedia capacity and will add 3G. E-mail will work better on the faster network so the iPhone’s appeal to the general business user should go up.
The Blackberry is for e-mail. Making it more feature rich is a way to make it harder to use. For RIMM, that is a big mistake.
Douglas A. McIntyre