Ina Fried

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Interview: RIM’s Marketing Chief on Why BlackBerry 10 Is No “Me-Too” Product

RIM’s new marketing chief said that he’s excited about BlackBerry 10, precisely because it isn’t trying to out-iPhone the iPhone.

“We are not developing a ‘me-too’ product or a copycat of what already exists,” Frank Boulben said in an interview on Monday.

What the company is trying to do, Boulben said, is create something that is better than the iPhone or Android for a specific segment of users — always-connected multitaskers looking to get a lot done quickly.

It’s a group that Boulben said includes executives like himself, as well as busy moms and hyperactive teens like his daughter.

“We are designing it for a particular type of user,” Boulben said.

Current devices, while elegant and easy to use, don’t meet the needs of that segment, Boulben said.

RIM is showing off a couple of new features this week, including a new, always-available BlackBerry Hub that brings up an inbox of incoming email and social networking messages, as well as upcoming calendar appointments and time-sensitive alerts from other applications. It also features an easy way for people to segment their work and personal lives — and the data that belongs with each.

What the company isn’t doing, though, is shipping anything at all new this holiday season. After several delays, RIM is now aiming to get the first BlackBerry 10-based phones on the market early next year.

Boulben, though, has picked up the company line on this, making lemonade out of the fact that RIM is missing one of the busiest sales periods of the year.

“Launching after the Christmas season, in terms of educating the public and training the sales force of carriers, is a better window than the frenziedness of Christmas,” Boulben said.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus