BlackBerry Colt Expected as RIM’s First QNX Phone

BlackBerry Colt Expected as RIM’s First QNX Phone

The BlackBerry Colt is expected to be Research in Motion’s first QNX smartphone, prompting more questions than praise for a device set to usher in the company’s big rebound.

According to BGR, the Colt is similar in design to the recently announced BlackBerry 9900, and reportedly deep into the testing process and is on track for its scheduled release in the first quarter of 2012.

The report assures RIM’s QNX devices are coming, but some details are causing analysts to wonder if the company is poised to repeat past mistakes. When RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis first announced the new “super-phones,” he said the devices would be multi-core, but the model of the Colt being tested reportedly runs on single-core processor.

Even if RIM ends up shipping the Colt with a dual-core processor, other red flags surround the device. RIM has said the Colt will not support the current BlackBerry Enterprise Server, which means a sizable group of business users with Microsoft Exchange will not have native email on the device. These users will have to use Microsoft ActiveSync until RIM launches a QNX-specific BES later next year.

If true, these are potential missteps that RIM, which has struggled mightily lately, cannot afford to make. Once the smartphone market share leader, the company has failed to keep up with Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android phones. RIM’s lack of innovation has led to stalling sales, poor revenue and little profit.

The company made two rounds of layoffs in the past two months and is banking on its QNX phones to bring the company back to prominence in the mobile market.

The QNX operating system received positive reviews in the BlackBerry PlayBook, but the device failed to perform well on the market. Analysts said the tablet had a “half-baked” feeling, and claimed RIM rushed the device so it could compete with competitors like the iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab. Now, early signs suggest RIM may be in danger of committing the same sin with its QNX phones.

RIM has been able to survive the botched launch of the PlayBook and the delayed transition to true next-generation handsets, but it may be limping towards the launch of its QNX phones — not a good sign considering how much is riding on their success.

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