Research In Motion Ltd. Still “In Motion”?

The New Porsche Design store in Toronto’s Mink Mile launched an extravagant party this which featured collaboration between Porsche and RIM.

The evening consisted of Research In Motion Ltd.’s new CEO, Thorsten Heins posing with fans in front of a 2.4-meter-tall copy of a BlackBerry outside the Bloor Street store. A nice change of pace from his daily job of trying to improve the position of the Ontario based smartphone maker.

The party unveiled the high-end smartphone collaboration between RIM and Porsche: a BlackBerry made of forged steel and handcrafted Italian leather. The Porsche Design Blackberry P’9981 is built on a performance driven platform that features a 1.2 GHz processor, HD video recording, 24-bit high resolution graphics, and advanced sensors enabling new augmented reality applications. It comes with 8GB of on-board memory, expandable up to 40GB with a micro SD card. This new phone is rumored to be released at the end of the year with a retail price of $2,000.  That price tag, combined with a distinct Porsche-designed interface and keyboard, make the BlackBerry P’9981 more of a statement than an actual product that will increase their revenues.

So why create a product that won’t amount to much in terms of the company’s profits? Mr. Heins stated, “We wanted to show what BlackBerry is capable of. It talks to our strengths, it talks to our audience.”

It has been a struggle for Research in Motion’s BlackBerry smartphone as their sales have dwindled dramatically with the growing popularity of Apple iPhones and Google Androids. Still recently, RIM shares have dropped during a minor board reshuffling. However, RIM seeks to regain its dominance in the market share by entering into emerging markets such as Indonesia, Brazil, Nigeria, and the Middle East. With the launch of the Porsche/Blackberry collaboration, Blackberry P’9981, Heins hopes that this phone will show that Blackberry is “truly an aspirational brand”

Aspirational? At $2,000 all it is really doing is limiting itself to exclusive circles. Although RIM is doing their best to turn the company around and still be as relevant as their company name “Research in Motion”. Only time will tell if this strategic approach is enough to make their company rise from the loss they have warned stockholders, which will be officially released on June 28.

What are your thoughts? Do you think this is a smart move by RIM to really change the
perception of Blackberries? Or is this a failing attempt to salvage what is left of the once great smartphone?


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