Ina Fried

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RIM CEO: “We’re Not Sleeping Much”

RIM Chief Executive Thorsten Heins says the BlackBerry maker is gearing up for a big launch for the first BlackBerry 10 devices in the first quarter of next year.

“I think we have a clear shot at being the No. 3 mobile ecosystem in the world,” Heins said.

“We’re working hard. We’re not sleeping much,” Heins said Tuesday during a session with reporters following his speech at the BlackBerry Jam Americas conference in San Jose, Calif.

Other turnaround efforts are also making progress, Heins said, noting that the company is 40 percent to 50 percent of the way through its workforce reductions and is complete in establishing a new leadership team.

Still, Heins said that it is a challenge to be cutting workers at the same time it is trying to get BlackBerry 10 devices out the door.

“I’m not stopping until this company is where it belongs,” Heins said.

Newly hired Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben said RIM is preparing a three-phase marketing push for the new operating system. The first phase will be to give information to key influencers including reporters, analysts, corporate tech executives and celebrities.

Next, a digital marketing campaign that will run through the product’s launch will highlight the top 10 features of BlackBerry 10 that make it stand out from rivals. The tagline for that campaign will be “Does your smartphone do that?”

After launch, the ad campaign will kick off in earnest with spots jointly featuring BlackBerry and its carrier partners.

Update, 12:25 p.m.: Asked why his goal is only to be No. 3, Heins said: “You climb the mountain step by step.”

12:30 p.m.: Responding to AllThingsD’s query as to whether RIM is still being outpaced by faster-moving rivals, Heins said there is a “physical law you can’t move faster than light” and said he is moving the company as fast as he can.

The market is also continuing to grow, Boulben said. “We are not too late.”

12:32 p.m.: As for how it will stand out from Microsoft, Heins said that it is important to have a seamless experience across devices — but only across tablets and phones. In the future, Heins said, mobile workers will be able to travel with only those two devices. “You won’t carry these laptops with you,” he told the room full of reporters, nearly all tapping away at laptops.

12:39 p.m.: Asked about a service interruption in recent days, Heins said it was not an outage. “This was a service quality distruption,” he said, adding that messages got delayed but were eventualy delivered. He didn’t offer specifics on the problem but said it was some sort of hiccup with various relay points. “We have an understanding of what happened.”

12:42 p.m.: Heins declined to say how BlackBerry 10 will interact with RIM’s current infrastructure in which messages travel through the company’s secure data centers. The company will have different tiers of service, Boulben said, without offering further details.

Asked about whether RIM would sell unlocked phones directly to consumers, Heins said not to expect that to become a major effort, though it does have its own shops in places such as Indonesia. “Right now the carrier is our channel partner, make no mistake.”


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