Research In Motion (RIM) is prepping a slimmed-down product line-up for this year, as it puts its resources behind its next-generation BlackBerrys coming in the second half, according to an apparently leaked product line-up.
The BlackBerry PlayBook
RIM plans to release two BlackBerry Curves in the next few months, Boy Genius Report (BGR) said in a report today. In addition, BGR said, the company plans to launch a slightly tweaked PlayBook tablet.
The main debut event will come in the second half of the year, according to the report. RIM has its first BlackBerry 10 smartphone, codenamed London, on track for a September launch, according to BGR. In addition, RIM is working on another BlackBerry 10 device that will fall under its Bold line of flagship smartphones.
For early 2013, RIM is working on a BlackBerry 10 device with a slide-out keyboard, BGR reported.
A representative for RIM declined to comment on the report.
If the report's details are correct, RIM faces a tough first half of the year. The company has already said that in lieu of any significant product launches, it will focus on a stronger marketing effort for its existing BlackBerry 7 line-up. The two Curve devices coming out could very well be positioned for the emerging markets, where there is still growing demand for affordable BlackBerry devices.
In more mature markets, however, where the pace of new smartphone launches is only increasing, the Canadian smartphone maker faces the challenge of staying relevant. In the coming months, Apple is expected to release its next iPhone, while Google and Microsoft are stepping up their game with new smartphone launches and software updates.
On the heels of showing off its PlayBook OS 2.0 software, RIM could be pushing to stay alive in the tablet game with a revamped PlayBook. BGR said the new version will have a faster, 1.5-gigahertz processor (the original had a 1GHz processor), a faster HSPA+ cellular connection and near-field communication capabilities. The tablet could come in May or June, BGR said.
Offering fewer phones would clear up confusion associated with hitting the market with many types of BlackBerrys at once, an issue RIM had late last year, as it started selling multiple Torches and Curves in a short span of time. A more streamlined portfolio would allow RIM to focus more of its resources behind fewer products, which would theoretically lead to higher-quality phones. It's a strategy other companies are already embracing.