The big challenge now is to get BlackBerry 10 smartphones to market as soon as possible. In December, RIM said it would not start selling phones with the software platform until the "later part" of 2012, because it wanted to wait for the arrival of more advanced chipsets. "It is hard to see that a change of leadership at the company can accelerate that schedule terribly much," said Cunningham.
Products based on the BlackBerry 10 platform were expected to arrive earlier, and the delay has hurt RIM, according to Blaber. "The reality is that creating a new platform, albeit be it on a pre-existing operating system in QNX, was always going to take some time," said Blaber, who thinks that the development of the PlayBook distracted RIM's engineering department to the detriment of new smartphones.
Another of Heins' main challenges will also be to help RIM regain some of former glory in the U.S. The company watched its market share drop from 24 percent in the third quarter of 2010 to just 9 percent in the same period last year, according to Canalys.
However, the picture for RIM in other parts of the world is more positive. The Middle East and Africa and Southeast Asia were particular bright spots during the third quarter, Canalys said. "There are a number of markets where BlackBerries are still selling really well, but the problem RIM has that everyone is focused on the U.S. market, and that is where is has taken a real beating," said Cunningham.
It is likely to get worse before its gets better for RIM. Just like vendors such as Sony Ericsson, Motorola Mobility, and HTC RIM struggled during the fourth quarter.
RIM has its BlackBerry World conference coming up at the beginning of May. That will be one of the first opportunities for Heins to present his vision for the company, and bring back some excitement. "But that will not be an easy job," said Cunningham.