LIVE FROM BLACKBERRY DEVCON EUROPE: Thorsten Heins, president and CEO of RIM (pictured), used his first public appearance since taking on the role to position the company for the future, asserting that “we are ready to compete – make no mistake.”
Speaking at the event in Amsterdam today, Heins said that “the smartphone market is still a young market. And we see a huge opportunity there for us.” He noted that around 65 percent of the user base is still made up of feature phone users, highlighting “specifically, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pac and LatAm” as offering growth potential.
The executive also noted that its future BlackBerry 10 platform will enable it to extend its reach beyond smartphones into the “mobile computing” market. “We are going to kick off the next growth curve, the next growth of BlackBerry, with this technology,” he asserted.
"We have made strategic, long-term decisions that set us up for the right path for future success in smartphones and beyond smartphones into mobile computing. And, yes, we are focused on the future,” he continued.
However, while Heins said that “I am absolutely confident in our path forward, and in our ability and capability to pursue this path forward,” he did not address the issue of when BlackBerry 10-powered smartphones will finally reach the market. Devices are not likely to be commercially available until the second half of 2012, leaving its legacy BlackBerry 7 platform as a placeholder – and one which is not exciting the market.
While much of the reaction to Heins’ appointment focused on the fact that he is a RIM insider and likely to do little to change the company, his speech was unapologetic about this. “We remain confident in who we are, where our roots are, and what made us successful as BlackBerry,” he said.
Addressing the audience of developers, the RIM head said that: “We have almost six million software developers in Europe, and we recognise the commitment that you made to us, and we are committed to you. We will show what we have to bring to the table.”
“Developers are critical to our long term success, and just seeing the size of this developer conference kind of proves that BlackBerry is a vibrant and thriving platform,” he continued.