Funny how some things seem perfectly timed. There was clearly no perfect time for RIM announcing the delay of the first BlackBerry 10 device. Delivering it at the same time as a poor quarterly earnings statement was probably the best way, but it was by no means perfect. It couldn’t be. The news was devastating. Yet RIM can do things to help turn things in their favor. They can create what Daniel Boorstin calls pseudo-events. These aren’t actual things that happen, but they are events by which entities can gain some control over the news cycle. And it appears that RIM has done just that. Yesterday, a “leaked” roadmap for 2012 and 2013 appeared on BlackBerryOS. Instead of launching BlackBerry 10 devices later this year, RIM will instead release its 4G PlayBook. That might be a boon for some, but I have to wonder what advantages, other than cellular connectivity, it holds over the original PlayBook. Chances are we’ll see some hardware upgrades, but it’s not as though the current PlayBook lacks in that manner. RIM is not Apple, and therefore can’t get people to upgrade just because it’s the new-new product. Don’t get me wrong; I love the idea of a 4G PlayBook. I just don’t think it will do anything significant, given the current conditions. Then we’re onto Q1 2013, which will see two BlackBerry 10 devices. The London we’ve heard about for nearly a year now. That will be mini-PlayBook. The Nevada pretty clearly appears to be the QWERTY variant of Blackberry 10. THen we move down the line to a device called the Nashville, which will presumably be another QWERTY device (since it’s on the bottom of the screen with the Nevada. Then we get the Blackforest, which is by all appearances a 10-inch tablet. And then finally, all the way at the end of 2013, a device called the Naples. Who knows what that will become. Still, what’s more interesting to me than the actual roadmap is the obviousness of the planned leak. This is no event. Nothing on this list will become reality for at least four months, and given the delays we’ve seen from RIM it’s hard to believe we’ll even see the 4G PlayBook on time. Yet RIM, wanting to assuage some doubts and fears, clearly leaked this. Call it informed speculation if you will, but there is no way that some rogue RIM employee handed this off. This was a decision made at some level near the top. Maybe it wasn’t Thorsten Heins, Robin Bienfait, or Kristian Tear. Maybe it wasn’t even Frank Boulben. But it came from somewhere near the top. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will have the assuaging effect that RIM intends for it.
Just like that, a BlackBerry roadmap leaked
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