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U-turn

Another week, another piece of evidence of crisis at Research in Motion. The BlackBerry maker has looked rather lost of late, failing to respond properly to the iPhone and Android and then putting all of its energies into a tablet, the PlayBook, which finally launched last month to so-so reviews and sales. Cue lots of hand-wringing in the press about RIM being on a path of terminal decline.

And now this. Reports this week suggest that RIM have executed a u-turn in strategy. They were planning to release a larger brother to the PlayBook later this year, with a ten-inch screen to complement the seven-inch screen original. But apparently they've binned that idea to focus all their energies on the next generation of BlackBerry phones, which will run QNX, their interesting new software that launched on the PlayBook.

Now if this is true, it's probably the right decision. Phones are still 99% of RIM's business, and every month that goes by without a major overhaul of the BlackBerry line sees it lose market share. The launch of 'BlackBerry OS 6' last year didn't change that, and it doesn't look like 'BlackBerry OS 7' - out later this year - will either. RIM needs to get a QNX phone out, fast, just like Nokia needs to get a Windows Phone device out fast.

So this is a sign they're facing up to reality. But, it's alarming that this is only happening now. A new generation of BlackBerry's should really have been the focus all along.

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