RIM hastily renamed its latest BlackBerry platform after a U.S. company won a temporary court injunction against it. Originally dubbed BBX, the platform is set to combine the best features of RIM’s BlackBerry and QNX platforms. At the Asian DevCon conference, RIM announced that the platform will now be called BlackBerry 10 to to protect itself against trademark litigation. A federal court forbade RIM from using the BBX name at the trade event.
What’s in a Name?
A software company called Basis International complained about RIM’s use of the BBX name as early as October, suggesting neither party was caught off guard by the court’s move. RIM said its use of BBX was justified because it serves a different market than Basis’. The court found that RIM’s use of the BBX trademark nearly identical to that of Basis and suggested that RIM was deliberately trying to steal the goodwill associate with the Basis product. It also found that the two companies serve similar types of customers, rejecting RIM’s argument. The injunction against RIM is only temporary, but RIM apparently saw the writing on the wall and ditched its efforts to use the BBX name. The Basis trademark featured a lowercase x (as in BBx), but RIM’s proposed trademark used all capital letters (BBX).
About BlackBerry 10
RIM, a struggling player in the lucrative smartphone market, has developed BlackBerry 10 to run both its smartphones and its tablets. The company, once dominant, has seen its share of the market steadily erode as consumers and businesses continue to favor Apple’s iPhone and smartphones running Google’s Android operating system. RIM also faces new fears as Microsoft and Nokia unveil a new line of Microsoft Phone-powered devices. Microsoft is also entering the tablet market by including support for mobile processors in its Windows 8 computer operating system.
RIMs struggles were recently highlighted when the company announced a loss of nearly half a billion dollars from its stagnant inventory of PlayBook tablets. Promising to continue fighting, the company hopes to reduce production costs and enhance features by consolidating the operating systems from its two mobile products.
BlackBerry 10 will introduce soft key controls to BlackBerry phones, a key feature of Apple’s iOS operating system and the forthcoming Ice Cream Sandwich release of Android. Equipped with the new operating system, RIM phones will also have the ability to run Android apps as well as apps designed for QNX and BlackBerry 10. They will also feature compatibility with HTML5 and Adobe AIR.
Possible Consumer Confusion
Though consumers will not confuse the new RIM product with Basis International’s BBx product, they may become confused by its new name, BlackBerry 10. The most recent version of BlackBerry is version 7, so some people may think they missed upgrades to version 8 and version 9.
No Estimated Release Date
New BlackBerry phones equipped with the BlackBerry 10 operating systems could emerge early in 2013, but RIM has yet to commit to a release date. The company will also release PlayBooks with the operating system pre-loaded in hopes of stoking interest in its well-known but largely-shunned BlackBerry brand. The BlackBerry 10 operating system is the cornerstone for RIM’s planned renaissance. Its reception in the marketplace could determine whether RIM will survive the coming year in its present form.