4) One of the biggest challenges for BlackBerry is having a good number of high quality applications. Have you considered dropping the BlackBerry operating system and moving to either Android or Windows Phone 8? This would allow you to focus on building great devices and taking advantage of already-established app markets.
– David, 30, software developer in Calgary
Thorsten Heins: We have considered a range of options that included adopting someone else’s operating system, but ultimately we rejected that idea. We determined that the best way to build value for our stakeholders and do right by our users is to unite devices and software with BlackBerry 10 – building each from the ground up so they work together without a hitch. With the global market growing as fast as it is, we believe there is room and demand for an alternative to generic software. We have more than 90,000 applications up for sale on BlackBerry App World today and more than 3 billion applications have been downloaded from our store. We even have a way to move Android apps to BlackBerry PlayBook and BlackBerry 10, so we would actually be limiting choices by adopting another operating system.
5) I am proud to support Canadian businesses like RIM and I have been a BlackBerry customer for years. My needs and interests have been met in the past, but emerging products from Apple and Android-phones are quickly making BlackBerrys obsolete. I am currently in the market for a new phone... Why should I wait for the new device line and operating system in the New Year?
– Jeff, 23, research assistant/student in London, Ont.
Thorsten Heins: Thank you for supporting BlackBerry, Jeff. No one wanted BlackBerry 10 in customers’ hands this year more than I did. By giving our teams more time with BlackBerry 10, we could deliver a mobile experience unlike anything we’ve ever done. I believe the reason you should wait is because, you’ll see that BlackBerry 10 is not just a fresh coat of paint on an old operating system. It will be the only completely new mobile platform on the market. I’d be remiss, though, if I didn’t point out that our current devices powered by BlackBerry 7 pack quite a punch.
6) I recently bought a BlackBerry Torch 9810 on a three-year term. With the coming of BlackBerry 10, how much support will BlackBerry 7 users receive in the future?
– Ajay in Mississauga
Thorsten Heins: Don’t worry, Ajay. We’ll continue to support BlackBerry 7 devices into the future. We have a great lineup of smartphones built on this software, and we remain committed to supporting them.
7) RIM can expect that even a modestly successful BlackBerry 10 product will deliver results from the enterprise and business crowd, but a plan to make RIM products familiar among young consumers is a must for long term viability in this industry. Given that Apple already had a toe in the game with iTunes and the iPod to build a foundation for the iPhone, how does Research In Motion plan to build brand familiarity with younger people and students?
– Anthony, 25, law student in Halifax
Thorsten Heins: One of the misconceptions about BlackBerry is that it’s your parents’ smartphone. BlackBerry has a loyal fan base of young people around the world. For example, in South Africa, BlackBerry was recently voted coolest brand. Our incredibly popular BlackBerry Messenger, or BBM, an app that makes chatting with your BlackBerry contacts quick and fun, helps make BlackBerry the number one device for mobile social media in the world. Every day, BlackBerry engages with more than 30 million social media followers worldwide through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, our Inside BlackBerry Blogs and regional social networks. A significant number of those fans and followers are young people. Obviously, we have work to do in North America, and we know that. As the father of two young people, I know how quickly the definition of cool can change. We’re confident BlackBerry 10 will appeal to people of all ages who value getting things done on the go.