What RIM Must Do to Make BlackBerry 10 a Success

BBDO will tell you that great creative work is from the sum of all parts. And I don’t think there’s any exception when it comes to the creative design work that goes into great technology products.

So let’s talk about how RIM’s upcoming smartphone and next-gen OS, BlackBerry 10, could be from the sum of all parts in order to achieve superior technology product status. The delay of the BB10 until next year was a smart move. Knowlton Thomas recently reported that developer ratings for BB10 averaged just 3.8 out of 10.

That means the product probably would have failed and may have spelled the complete demise of RIM. And it clearly wasn’t going to be from the sum of all parts.

Now, it has become clear that few outside RIM want one of the hardest jobs in Canada: turning Research in Motion around. Proximity Canada, a division of BBDO Toronto, can’t seem to find anyone as this job posting has been up for at least a week by my count.

The job posting literally asks why anyone would take this job. And before we go further, let’s remember that RIM employs advertising agencies and that it doesn’t always come down to their marketing department and what the CEO says.

They say: “There isn’t a bigger marketing job in the world right now. The BlackBerry brand has gone from being feted to being toxic in 18 months—the time it’s taken for their share of the US market to collapse and 85% to be wiped off their share value … We have a huge task in front of us. … And we have one shot at it. A new CEO. A new CMO. A new operating system and a new product launching late and into a cauldron that will see us up against iPhone 5, Android 5 and Windows 8. … There’s not a job bigger or scarier out there—and it’s really high stakes.”

So I looked at the job description and it scared me too. But then I remembered new CEO’s Thorsten Heins’ initial video. I remembered when RIM tried to use DJs in their advertising. I remembered the only cool thing about RIM’s new smartphone was predictive text but my smartphone already had that. I started laughing.

I thought anything could be better than that. As an industry, it has been generally so much easier to trash our technology titans to defeat rather than try to uplift them. So I started looking into cutting edge mobile technology that could be added to the BB10.

I was reminded that mobile is the fastest flipping ecosystem in the world and that anything could change in six months. I had recently read that Fast Company named 2012’s most creative person in the world a Chinese man that realized media often reports on a problem but doesn’t usually offer solutions. Former US President Bill Clinton had echoed these sentiments in a Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity keynote. Media has to offer solutions rather than attempt to sell papers and look to attract views all the time. Even The Huffington Post’s Arianna Huffington had similar sentiments last year—she said that in the coming years news editors would become more important.

So here are two things that I believe RIM must build into BB10 and promote in order for it to sell:


Nobody’s doubting that RIM builds a great communication device, which is what over 90% of all actions are for on mobile phones. Reaffirm why it’s an even better communication device this time around. Show that it’s not just for e-mail. It’s for social networking, it’s for Salesforce, it’s for Yammer, it’s for Twitter, it’s for LinkedIn.

It’s for both personal social and corporate social. Have built-in BYOD managing technology for IT departments. And then get IT departments to buy a better version of BlackBerry Fusion.


The newest Samsung devices can utilize the world leader in haptics technology known as Immersion. Around since 1993, it has Montreal and San Jose offices. Haptic technology allows for “feel” when you press a touchscreen. Samsung’s latest models demoed haptic gaming at the latest Google I/O conference in California, making an experience similar to that of the PlayStation controller that vibrates while you play.

RIM must come up with something awesome on the gaming side to attract both developers and more youthful technology oriented consumers. Sony’s newest product allowed for PS3 games to be played on the new VITA via a Wi-Fi connection, but was everything except a phone. Immersion has released a mobile SDK.