RIM also seems ready to continue to release additional BlackBerry 7 devices in white. The company already released a number of white Torch, Bold and Curve handhelds, and more models should be available soon, such as the Bold 9790 and Curve 9380. (I know some BlackBerry users who love white devices, but personally, I think there's just something wrong with white BlackBerrys.)
4. Additional details on BlackBerry 10 smartphones
RIM has released very few official details regarding the upcoming BlackBerry 10 OS, formerly referred to as BBX, except for the fact that it will be built on a foundation from QNX Systems, just like the PlayBook software, and as such, it will likely be quite similar to the RIM's tablet OS.
BlackBerry 10 will feature an Android Player similar to the one found in the PlayBook OS. And the first BlackBerry 10 smartphone should arrive in late 2012, according to RIM. (Check out this concept image of a BlackBerry 10 prototype device for an idea of what the first BlackBerry 10 handheld might look like.)
Other than that, little is known about RIM's new OS, though it is clear that RIM's future in the mobile space will hinge on the success of BlackBerry 10. Current BlackBerry users can take comfort in the fact that RIM will slowly share details about BlackBerry 10 in the coming months, to tease the first device's planned late 2012 release. And RIM will probably share many details and offer hands-on demos of BlackBerry 10 devices at its BlackBerry World 2012 conference in May.
5. New or renewed BlackBerry focus on consumer smartphone market
RIM has always been a company that caters to the business or enterprise market much more efficiently and effectively than the much larger consumer market. But if RIM's new CEO Thorsten Heins gets his way that could all change in 2012. (Read more details on Heins and his background.)
"We need to be closer to our consumer user base. We're well positioned with CIOs ... but in the U.S., we need to do a better job there [targeting consumers]," Heins said in a press conference held just after he took the BlackBerry CEO reigns. "I want us to focus more on consumers and consumer marketing. That is a major change for us. That is an element that we need to strengthen, that we need to build."
And Heins plans to quickly bring on a brand new marketing chief to lead the charge. What exactly will come from this effort remains to be seen. But you can expect to see more aggressive and high-profile advertising from RIM and perhaps more celebrity endorsements -- RIM has been bringing on celebrities to tout the BlackBerry brand for years, but it never really publicized those partnerships. Perhaps the company will begin to spread the word about these endorsements.
And we could see more sports-oriented advertising, as well, in the vein of RIM's recent NHL All Star Game Skill Competition "BlackBerry Hardest Shot" event sponsorship and related PlayBook marketing campaign. (Let's just hope it doesn't come in the form of additional appearances from The Bold Team. Yikes.)
Whatever comes of this new focus on the consumer market--the new entry-level Curve devices could be the first step--the next few months should be very eventful for RIM.