RIM Taking Too Long to Release New Phones?

Research In Motion is promising us at least the BlackBerry Bold 9800 and the Curve 9300 sometime this year, however the company might be taking too long to launch its new smartphones compared to its competitors. A ChangeWave survey of 4,000 revealed that 16.4% of respondents were planning on purchasing a smartphone in the next 90 days. This is good news for smartphone manufacturers but possibly bad news for Research In Motion (RIM).

As the smartphone market explodes and eventually overtakes the regular phone market in the next few years, it is momentum gained now that will help propel manufacturers to future successes. The iPhone 4, the EVO and the Droid X have all made an appearance this year, so where the heck is the BlackBerry Bold 9800 “Torch”? I applaud any manufacturer that makes sure that all of the bugs are worked out of a flagship device before launch (sit in the corner Apple), but all of the waiting for the 9800 is leaving customers in a quandary. Wait for a new device from RIM that promises the world, or get an already released competitor’s phone that has been tried and tested.

Will enough customers still be looking for a new smartphone when the 9800 comes out? Of course they will, more so even around the holiday season than normal. Will everyone’s friends be recommending their choice in smartphone flavor? Yes and if they did not wait, then it will not be a BlackBerry. Friends and peers are the biggest measurable influence on new smartphone purchases and a lot of them have already snagged another fruit (Apple’s iPhone) or a robot (Android-based phones).

At the same time, RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry OS 6 and BlackBerry App World 2.0 are still waiting to see the light of day while Apple has rolled out iOS 4 and Google preps the release of Android OS 3. RIM needs to get its new OS and its new delivery method for apps into customers hands quickly, before anyone else realizes that the current BlackBerry App World does not even support carrier billing or major credit cards. PayPal is cool, but I consider myself “high-tech” and still prefer the good old plastic in my wallet for making purchases.

Keep in mind that this all relates to consumers, not corporate clients that still have entire IT departments fiddling around to make sure that BlackBerry Enterprise stays up and running. When the companies make a decision on the new BlackBerrys, they better impress. In the meantime, tell us what you think and if RIM’s development cycle for its new phones started just a few months too late.

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