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Dialed In #207: Inside RIM's rebootA new CEO usually spells out significant changes, but with insider Thorsten Heins, the future of BlackBerry products is much less clear.
Everybody does Monday January 23 2012. I'm just -- -- court this is cnet's podcast -- -- in. And that you are here in San Francisco with a lovely Atlanta lock and technical producer Steven -- -- and then over in New York we've got Brian Bennett and special guests there Roger Chang from CNET news we've got a really big show emerges gonna dive right into it. Basically yesterday when we were watching the football game. There -- forty niners lost and -- sadness. Of our sadness was interrupted with and the breaking news that rim Blackberry maker had ousted its chief CEOs or rather they hadn't resigned. And others in new CEO in the pool so I'm we're gonna talk a lot about that writer -- Artists out yellow out when the the giants that -- -- -- the suitable for the first time. -- in their rivalry and emits of that. Excellent game -- kind of boring game day -- rim announced that -- -- -- he has were throwing in the towel basically stepping down and appointing their successor. -- Thorsten Hines and I think think it's Torsten actually Torsten yeah I newest data but that Torsten Hynes to the and it -- students it is it is the area. He is formally their CEO he's been with the company for about four years. Coming from Siemens and -- -- he's he's taken the reins of this troubled Smartphone maker. -- Basically what does this mean I mean -- in insider so he's not exactly fresh blood however he also. Wasn't the CEO of rim before I mean -- sort of higher in the ranks I am relatively I know connecting to people who weren't very closely watching the company. And you know what it what do we expect from him is that going to be enough of change what's gonna happen. I think that's a big criticism for today -- a lot of people are expecting more change knows -- cannot swap out the -- of you can make this big management shuffle why not go -- with it and I this is basically as tepid and move as they can remain in terms of management change and in this -- been with the company for four years works directly under. -- -- -- -- -- -- I want you wanted to CEO I mean he's been a part of this company as it stumbled over the past year -- so. -- conference call today -- he basically said he doesn't see any real need for drastic change. Which currently is nearly he's got that same kind of reality. Distorting bubble that they all have up there and ram -- -- You know that that's sort of a trouble there and you look at Wall Street right now the stock is down about 5%. It was actually up early on -- confidence and not a topic is actually up early morning and then they had their conference -- he spoke for the first time publicly and then stock went down so so I guess he's trying to the most charismatic -- -- Half -- doesn't job decision was and basically music that has now shut and -- would be fine is that it. At this point -- gather that others I'm sure investors Oregon him for not talking -- tomato a total loss then I think. He just said the wrong things he said what people were looking for. So what did he say specifically. Well basically that you know rim has -- treasure right now he's staying the course had no need for drastic change. All the things that investors are probably freaking out about right now. -- -- -- mean you know there's no change -- means you can get it you know brand spanking new Blackberry for another nine months or so. Early so you know -- pay ten -- Smartphone. So seems like. Yeah it's just more the same which is Stefano what people want from rim right now and I mean isn't than the latest OS was to -- amount I mean is -- already. Ovary backed up to two Q3 guys who are backed up they say second half of the this year. So we don't really know what that means they they like the you know mess with the calendar a lot when it is some of the community -- -- summer. The second half of the year it could mean the very end of the -- we really don't know. -- either way I think the consensus there is that that's Wheatley. Well -- trip and I mean you -- -- and my understanding from out the Blackberry developer conference. When I sat down and spoke right after. EB -- served by Currie ten was announced was that it was always recently I was always the timeframe. -- -- -- -- A lot of speculation and and I think even rim it's sort of contributed this there was a lot talk that the devices would come out. Earlier than the second half first haphazard release -- -- -- -- -- the end of -- the beginning of the year was still unclear. But the fact that they said second half that is a major change in and a scheduling knowledge in the last conference call them basically the cius -- -- we get it this is late but. We're waiting for this brand spanking new chip that to have that supposedly more -- should. Program set -- forest parks specifically -- of more about ram and what it means to do an at and through this guy is anyway. Am I just. That -- and other changes to the ports -- about are also aren't exactly revolutions in topsy turvy right. Lake out of co-founder. And previous currency as other edits and also early are still on board cracked and it gets and -- -- this is in fact now lake. The vice chair of the board and chair at the board's new innovation committee. Wright says they got out of -- Ray because here he is and one of the biggest criticisms -- that there was no renovation and now he's taking the reins on an -- committee and that makes me think that. He thinks that you know being freed up for being co CEO allow him the time to really help in okay. And and -- what do you guys think. And that's serve the -- that Iran in -- it is hasn't really doesn't easily have a reputation for. Innovating beyond sort of the beyond it now don't email me beyond sign the company and hold the email premise. It's really under his stewardship that -- -- fell behind in terms of innovation so it's almost on an oxymoron that he's running their innovation may. Also before hand and we knew that something was gonna happen there were leaks and reports that there -- to be changed. But everybody thought it was gonna be our brand has not been making announced -- my Isp spying incident right yes yes I went so well she already internal. She was -- -- -- -- she was gonna be the chairman so either way we didn't expect somebody from outside maybe we're hoping somebody from the outside was coming -- but if reports for that she was gonna be tapped. Who is already inside who has been a board member since 2007. Then it. We were never gonna get that big change in terms of outside leadership. Well neither of I think -- thinking there was once she's not an insight she's not a rim employee issues in an independent board member of petition was gonna be named chairman. The -- -- that I could open it up for her to name -- an outside CO which would have brought in a new perspective and that's I think what -- -- Open for an L lob it was I think investor desperation they've seen their stopped the stock tanked so much that they're basically cling to whatever hope you -- Right and -- Basically it's person -- so he does come up from a background in and Siemens in Germany and it for years and -- Like -- said -- and bare rim actually had on its web -- a series of Meet the Press videos. It's like the series of YouTube videos -- I think in addition did you guys see those as well -- Yeah so in addition you know there are some quotes -- -- basically. My favorite -- is. We have to make sure that we always stay ahead that we only stay on the edge and then converting this into a great product great offerings and then into business success. That's it right that's a recipe. So I thought when I heard that was like sounds really -- -- it's not really that simple. Yet -- -- best execution I mean everyone likes -- that are says they want but in reality is the only difference to -- absolutely and then. What else he was saying basically I feel like it's sort of -- Britain's leadership has been saying they wanna do for a really -- time. You know focus on their core customers but also really reach out to -- consumers. In panel also put out great products. I I don't know -- you guys think that rim really needs to do in order to stay alive what is this guy I have to proof. And Afghanistan. It -- that. I mean it's somewhat and he asked to prove that one he could still cater to the -- customer switches rim scorer business I mean. I without the government enterprise customers that rim would be screwed right now -- the same time yes acknowledge that rim is a consumer business. A majority of the the people are buying his phones are consumers now and he needs to make devices like users to them as -- -- it is a little bit of everything in right now but as shown in adequately. And I mean is not -- -- part of the problem that you know they mean that switch or try to make the switch from. Being a business only -- business majority. User base to. Training -- -- -- you know -- of -- mass consumer market and then. You know mass consumers are much more fickle they -- -- even vote on their feet anytime they want so. Are much much easier than a big corporation. On that's invests in the huge infrastructure type things so I think part of promise -- that. The devices are compelling to consumers. Com -- -- they just want -- in one device that that as the latest hardware com and communal search. -- quickly -- and have access to lots of apps and and cool services so. And yet not since about the time I am that person Hines -- and -- Their -- then attempts to introduce consumer devices. Like the pearl like -- hurts the girl was actually it's just a girl wasn't just right and it and -- -- -- -- design that was like a -- anymore. Yet I was at the last real blockbuster. Consumer focused phone for Blackberry -- and then the -- of the storm. Eggs and store room and the storms here -- the torch is I -- rim has been trying to do this they've been trying to play. Both sides of the game and they have not found a sweet spot they have not been able to succeed and that's exactly what they said that the playback I remember covering national and like. Newer reaching out to consumers. And also achieve in the enterprise. Are really a -- -- -- -- -- I think it really depend also on -- you talk to the program might executive -- part of the business guys have been -- this is totally business told the -- -- -- -- was more consumer focused on -- this is. This is for everybody this is the ever showed -- this -- entertainment device so. As it even within the company that was sort of a mixed message on on one that devised and and -- for. Secure and and I mean is there any Smartphone on. Out there right now that successfully -- is security an enterprise with sort of -- consumer focus. -- I would argue not really a minute but the thing -- it is is so many of those -- the trend now is for consumers to dictate. What devices -- -- the enterprise anyways people are bringing in their own phones. And just amending that that gets -- that to the business a network. That really the consumer device that -- that's why you see -- devices and an iPhone -- -- -- mean they're not necessarily the greatest enterprise device I would say they're actually quite inferior to. Black -- comes like security and an email push system. But the question is though dude what's the real benefit there due to most businesses really -- that security. Com does any I would I would say some do governments banks -- healthcare industry is definitely but -- -- you're saying in incidents like you know on sexy market vertical industry yes. You know it's like yeah let's dilemma for other businesses that don't require that -- security. You know there are comfortable with people bringing in their own devices -- -- rim loses out as you know people don't wanna bring in their iPhone -- being an Android phone. That's gonna like it doesn't have to -- to Bassett sort of like that make good enough that enemy of perfect and that's what I think this is happening that -- -- sort of I think I ET. Guys you know there there and -- profiles now. Two people can take control I think for most people sort of the motorists. In Apple boasts -- nomination of security so we can provide X amount I mean even here in CNET -- at our corporate email on any of our personal phones. And relieved there's always have to do that a password basically and there are other measures as well but it's sort of -- to. Be able to use your phone for some work purposes which is good enough for a lot of people. I'm without going to extremes that there are the solutions. Exactly -- mean that that pretty much calls -- -- entire business model. Or the middle class -- I guess. -- that rim was standing on you know the security and if most people don't need it then you wonder if you know what's the viability there. Read have -- backed themselves into -- -- I would -- so I think Syria and I think personally for me. -- hardware is good. Didn't oh yes Apple I mean it's good they have great keyboards that some people don't want any more event in -- the full touch screen torch. He doesn't really nice device I think -- it's holding him back mostly. Is the software is -- software and it. What I wonder is if they can't hold the puzzle pieces together I mean Apple right now is really the only one that creates -- the hardware and the software and they release. Why in Smart -- a year if that it. If rim can't put it to pieces anymore if they can't juggle everything are they don't have to look to another partner to do that. Or -- they just gonna hang onto it and continue to not succeed. I don't think they'll be switching to Android and it's under the sea I don't think he introduced her for demeanor. Right. I could be. And I don't necessarily think witness and is the answer from -- mean by it you know I think that people are increasingly demanding cloud services and real integration. And that's where you see iPhone and IOS and amber it's exceeding great is that you get all -- Google's services you get the cloud. You get. Services you know in the cloud that are connecting to the phone and you don't really see a lot of -- -- I've got I've got to very bold prediction here let's hear -- -- -- -- a KI ISI I see things hoping to raise one. They'll either be bought out by a you know another handset manufacturer or some other a major OEM. You know like Lenovo war. Even. Like -- about Samsung awhile ago that just fizzle out but. -- some somebody like that who come in take the brand. And just buy that whole handset business away from them. And then implement themselves. -- -- in my spirit you know pushing out products in -- and treating things that people want to buy. Com or. They could do -- HP thing rim that is in basically say okay we're in -- and we're just gonna do an enterprise service now. Sprint's focus on enterprise for a focus on security we're gonna focus on. Securing -- people's devices. You know so -- -- you know this you know your your Gmail now has you know rim security. Just you know. Stamp of approval you know something like that. You know -- them -- pitched out to businesses and and folks who really want that extra security and sell it for you know an unbelievably high price. Com you know and that's for them make their -- but -- that's how I see I don't see them existing in this particular like. Set up right now where -- make in the soft the sought the soft for us nine. You know very compelling and that the hardware is really expensive and in questionable. You know as far as its whether it's relevant and. No word that you are talking about that and thanks -- a few weeks ago the ideas. Actually -- I think -- -- and it would be and a decent idea but. -- keeping sort of the in the Blackberry brand in terms of security offering them as servers all that stuff would be where they would make the money. Sell an Android phone you know the software is already intact ecosystems -- there but Blair on all that security. I'm just -- and a -- now we have any particular. -- -- often picture up and accidentally. Ran out -- Roger. Bryant unfortunately it wilderness via video stream. So we've got pictures of them and robot avatars that I awesome yes pedestal from and once that's because he's not its -- -- upon himself. Buy it there is a picture -- Roger on a phone. I -- in microphone and I think he looks pretty awesome announcement he'd prefer not actually that's great you look like a deep throat and look just and acrylic and used -- -- -- indeed concentrate. Actually talking to us. It does have the I didn't even doing -- -- -- we're ailments -- if you're on London and London themselves. Well you did airline and argues that mess -- office and are sadly that actually that's my Twitter picture. That would be my Twitter picture them. Yet of that accurate yes I -- I actually have to object CU the suggestion that they -- -- in for it to me like. I just personally I would -- -- that I think there's too much in operator to many players -- -- game and I don't know if that's the way to win and I like they're being an alternative. And you know and I think that's what it Nokia that's -- -- came to you with windows found. And it's just it's just too much -- I don't want into new entry unity -- and -- -- calculator. Yes on but I don't want you see them become exclusively interest. Yes I just think it makes more business sense though I mean rather than to invest in their own software and ecosystem -- -- hop on of that and sort of make your margin make your business on higher margin software applications that run on top -- and that's why I say they're gonna go conclude the enterprise and just put their software on top of other people soft error and not even make handsets anymore Palin's got an opinion. Now it's just like -- and it's about not just too much and I mean I just like competition. For everything and the more. Companies that are -- they're trying their tests would be. On it for everything I think and -- data on the -- cern entrants is currently no known history and more. But Chris if -- in content and then eat. Right that's the thing it's like competition where. It makes business sense is it competition for competition's sake then -- as a business in the route. One players the way. Which is good for Microsoft and their partners that would be good -- -- if you. Take a break from this come back after a short break with more news from the. Dialed -- is back we have been talking about -- and it shake up and whether -- survivor and -- but Android unsurprisingly. We'll be the platform of choice for developers such a study Roger is going to very quickly runs through the. Yeah it's out of really it really reported of them makes the point that -- the next twelve months bats. Android will be the platform of choice for developers -- So to change from the past were really you know IOS was the the main platform developers this is where you go to make money. On a given the ubiquity of Android is seen as we're just complain about. Of these -- -- mass adoption yet of those liquidity or of complete fragmentation in a way. In -- way it's sound. It'll become the platform of choice for developers. I'm especially given sort of the the way that developers have tweaked their business models and easing premium in app purchases or advertising -- to -- The reluctance the seeming reluctance of Android users to actually pay upfront -- -- -- -- found ways to make their money. Our rights and. -- haven't Virgin Mobile is going to be possibly modeling data speeds cover art and has the story am I am a lot actually project -- -- About a year ago but then they delayed it and when we asked them why they're gonna -- province and speed and anything -- saying are we coming in contact with them that. A hand me my rights they're gonna started -- -- -- -- speeds for anyone who exceed their 2.5. Gig. Cap and them. And a lot of funny comments on this mostly that keep world and wondering who needs his original one instance in its. And if it and it eighties with AT and -- People averaged. And I doubling -- people who -- urgent mobile especially in its hometown of Chicago. So done a lot of people some are saying they're being an effective as you can use that. -- am much and others are saying that it's unfair it's advertisements and limited when it really. Has. Arms hidden strings like these a lot of them companies like use -- -- it's it's I think I -- And it keeps them you know it's there at speeds going for everybody -- keep up with. The demand. -- -- Also they have like a -- the really good price for the limited here and there. The only twenty bucks or an all you can eat for everything like think both voice and data it's lake. -- -- Thirty dollars something about not it was like forty or does this compare apples like MetroPCS. -- it's not -- I could've -- its eyes unless it's like 3999. Winners it's like really -- really it is a related via. Well sort of took -- -- Program. -- right yeah. I mean an -- that is something that is sort of expected I think now but it's also. Really too bad. So you know when you guys you tune in and out. At least your -- -- as you can move -- this whenever I do remember Europe the West Coast and make sure dude that's the first place I go to -- -- When I drop and I have to Anthony story I am was asking people -- ago I wanted to take myself -- surveillance in Vegas and as asking people where -- -- And when responses in an out and and there's been an in and out my hometown. For -- and I was and high schools. And I -- high school anymore so I just thought it was funny like in an -- definitely has the state but anyway the point is there's a -- to this. You know you can get in and out and there's a secret menu and you know to -- for you can -- it will think of when the T-Mobile. Writer covered that. Yet. -- Apparently -- been doing this for awhile but it. -- for this for a limited time right now if you sign up for there ten or five gigabyte plan. Data plan and ask for mobile hot spot feature and but tech and offer for any -- asked for it. They're not actively advertising and there's no national campaign for it. But it you know and ask for in the stores -- to -- Apparently it'd been bitten -- and its not this specific plan but promotions like this for for awhile and -- That to yesterday kind of keep track -- these motions and Mitchell was. Can you order a four by four and most government. You know if they -- if they if they offer that I betcha their subscriber job -- -- to yank it. He -- coronary bypass on. Or -- or our live or with my galaxy S two yes while you and I don't think have ever ordered that I've always what you called -- -- -- -- -- -- Rather -- -- IE's right to know I. And now I have had accidentally hit -- pass them back through the deep prior to Christen a little what my bills and style. Is -- -- -- have -- built -- -- -- like a waffle underneath and some final hole may have but I don't come with a manatee and dozens. -- -- Of so actually it. We knew about this little while ago by an actor was ever present leaked out that Sony might be -- Windows Phone 7 and this is of course. Sony that was Sony Ericsson before Sony -- out there -- and portion announced a Sony. And it's very confusing for. Yeah am I got an email back from representatives from its anemic that they do not comment on -- and if they were going to they never comment release a product they would do it in appropriate channel silence is kind of having fun with this prototype that. Anthony's company -- to be peace and spotted and everyone's kindness if it is happening Hebert said if it is Sony hardware with that. -- on seven. OS. If it's not and it's just -- To see what can then to basically it's at picture and see an -- they're very clear. And buttons for Windows Phone and then there's a very very very faint Sony Ericsson insignia on it but that it could mean something -- not means. Right but that the president Sony and -- heart and he said that he's only just entered -- curious. About he was curious about windows and he says he -- -- with that kind of reaching outside of Annie OS -- In its. -- You know I'm comfortable with anything that's -- standard. I think -- curious about openness and -- clean it up here and anything out at ninth and then through iPod and it's a curiosities -- -- you know -- -- in and -- Like rocking back and its heels cigar and now I think that's. -- a couple of reviews from the last week -- -- -- look at the Samsung galaxy attain forgy for MetroPCS. And it is not released yet but it is coming out -- -- as a phone that I first saw. At and while we offer side at CES which is just last week in fact this episode if -- for and that's gonna be sort of like if he -- breakdown. But I am -- became much more exciting enough -- -- -- At this and basically it's a MetroPCS and it's a no contract carrier. Gonna be 200 dollars after a fifty dollar mail in rebate which is pretty good because about the same price as there -- other. And four GL TE phones and which this is and it's -- 800 and as well so it's about the same price point but the most expensive one right now is a hundred dollars more. Said it features are pretty middle of the road. It is. Android 2.3 gingerbread no word on whether or not it will be -- readable but I'm not really expecting a lot of ice cream sandwich phones for MetroPCS for quite awhile. Especially because there aren't really any that were announced during CES either that anything new so icebergs and it has little bits -- content. And but that's that it does have a at 3.2 megapixel camera on the back one point three megapixel camera on the front and -- process there. 3.5 inch screen so it's going to be pretty compact that's almost exacting sizes -- -- I think it's pretty nice it definitely doesn't have everything so if your metric -- -- a customer in your interested in an entry found that Scott. A few more features but and still be -- and then -- And that LG esteem -- then you keep your eyes tested for that LG connect forgy. And and Lynn is taking it deeper dive with in Q that one so that is that's the rundown on -- and and then Bryant's -- there really interesting -- -- that's right -- what has become. Well it's called the -- you mimics. Yeah -- this means fail okay may -- is a company that -- based in Hong Kong and believe. In -- basically they didn't -- get them a lot of notoriety for making devices that. Pretty much mimic. Iphones and Apple products -- so they had the M eats before this one. And you know -- that these these phones and particularly -- MX is almost it looks very -- very similar to the iPhone 3GS. Or three G. Or even in an iPod an old iPod it's a rip off it looks almost exactly the same time and yes and and you know making -- Well it it it is subtly different om basically when I first saw this opens I was really like Monica. -- what what is this this looks so shady. You know for -- the device is only available in mainland China. So it's kind of difficult to get a hold. Arm in I was skeptical. You know but then once asserts are actually check it out. I realize that you know this that even this actual phone and -- is running Android section running gingerbread a 32 -- privately. -- and it's actually a skin on top which is. Meets looked almost exactly like a very similar to -- IOS with the whole trailer out and and -- on the -- icons look and everything arm but. I've actually seen. You know piece this skin in and in the sort of software. God actually on. -- ST. We -- it down to the the album. On -- -- ST developers -- so. You don't -- they actually have. -- a lot of these -- that people. -- put on their phones. You know and the you know put them there -- so available for enthusiasts. So it's actually -- -- people actually want this this type of interface so. You know it's something that actually is pretty slick and -- to pick it up it you actually think while it's actually a connection really use this. -- it's actually powerful it has. You know. About one point four -- hurts -- cortex -- nine. Arm dual core CPU. It's got a big four inch screen. It's it's actually higher resident QHD. Columns effect has is a very similar and same pixel count as the retina display just -- a larger screen so it's not three point seven inches -- four inches. Tom but the phone phone itself feels pretty nice. I do you have an engineering sample that I checked out you can take -- -- -- -- hands -- Post -- wrote on Friday. But today it's actually a pretty slick device. Palm has eight megapixel camera -- HD. 1080. And all that good stuff so arms are very it's a -- to band device -- so if you put in media. A micro SD card from either -- year T-Mobile. It chewed. Except the you know that and -- -- on three G and north you know 3.5 -- Depending on where you're located so inserts actually I was quite surprised by an -- like it. Also. That would and I can see it hear him he adds I know and -- matter -- and still love to see all of these. Phones -- substances he -- -- roaming down the halls and you see things in an easy a lot of things from them look like knock offs and if it doesn't matter if we never get to see them it's just good to know that there are out there and that somebody will -- and including assumption to prime via the you know -- you -- sort of agree markets in things like that I had you know all about it Kramer brand. And you and time and I don't know anything about it but it's only in whispers. Of -- We do you have to wrap things up on by it I didn't wanna say that that -- spectrum has also released this week for Verizon we took a look at that at -- asked if you're interested. Or check out -- say -- video and also the Blackberry. Curve. 37. And any help -- 37. X and then. And you're so glad -- -- -- -- girl's phone for Verizon. -- first thing he should do is CO. In consolidate gains just get rid of the number system like we don't care if I bet a Wall Street -- very don't care of recent. -- -- -- Start paying attention and we just gave them names -- BlackBerry Curve -- for Verizon BlackBerry Curve global. I don't know something. Yes shortened name soon. And actually -- just for the record -- to get its -- the -- about the us it's actually XT a developers name of that form. Yes -- -- no appeal but -- -- -- a peanut butter moment what is glass when you're in no time to sort out right now often. You really wanna you know glass milk yes it's no better moment -- -- -- Anyway I -- we do take reader emails and stuff so sadness in Allen dialed in and cnet.com you can leave us a voicemail which we will play. At least in part at -- EE 6640226. Three eights are blog is dialed in dot cnet.com read read all of the story is not just the ones we talk about here. And you can read all the other podcast podcast dot cnet.com. Writer thank you for joining us and -- -- -- and for this discussion and we'll see you next week on -- then. By every line. -- -- --