Does the BlackBerry z10 signal a comeback for RIM? Are consumers going to get excited about this new phone that signals RIM’s attempt to recapture lost marketshare from Android and iOS? Can BlackBerry dominate the next generation of enterprise mobile computing? Or, as many suspect, will the z10 flub rather unspectacularly as an also-ran that nobody remembers? What do you think, would you buy one over an Android or iPhone? Here’s the Think Tank’s take to help you make up your mind.
The CrackBerry May Be Cracked Beyond Repair
Is the “CrackBerry” brand cracked beyond repair? I’m leaning toward yes, but I can’t say for sure. Only time will tell. However, I do know that BlackBerry needs a lot more than a quick (and unimaginative) company name change to stay relevant in the smartphone game. (And forget about competing in the tablet arena while you’re behind, BlackBerry. Everyone knows the PlayBook did not play nice. What a disaster!)
I think it’s a case of too little too late for BlackBerry. Even with some 75,000 apps up for grabs in BlackBerry World, two newborn smartphones, and a brand new operating system, it’s highly unlikely that BlackBerry will catch up with the giants Google and Apple any time soon — or perhaps ever.
With the exception of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Madonna apparently, consumers fell out of love with BlackBerry a couple of years ago. It was hard not to develop a wandering eye as our culture’s iPhone, iPad, and Android obsession burned hotter than ever.
Still, there just might be enough corporate IT managers and other loyalists in the business marketplace who favor BlackBerry for its renowned enterprise software and security to keep BlackBerry’s weak pulse slowly thudding onward for now.
I don’t know about you, but it would take much more than an overhauled operating system (BlackBerry 10) — that was embarrassingly late to the party time and again — to lure me away from my iPhone, and it’s just a plain old iPhone 4 with a cracked screen to boot. And you can forget about converting my 12-year-old Android user, BlackBerry. He says only “old people” use BlackBerrys. Ouch!
Worse yet, says my tween, BlackBerry’s app store doesn’t even have YouTube. The horror of it all! “I mean, who doesn’t have YouTube, mom?!” Oh, and you can add Netflix and Hulu to the list of apps that BlackBerry World doesn’t have but should.
Kim Lachance Shandrow (LinkedIn) is a Los Angeles-based tech journalist who specializes in writing about social media marketing, startups, smartphones, streaming TV, mobile apps and green technology.
Where’s the Major Leap Forward in Innovation?
In a word…NO. Today’s smartphone/tablet marketplace is app and eco-system centric. Blackberry has been rapidly losing market share over the past several years. The launch and wide adoption of the iPhone and iOS platform and the introduction and rapid growth of Android devices has turned the mobile space into a fierce two horse race. I can’t see how Blackberry is going to make significant inroads without a major leap forward in innovation. Judging from the announcement event, I didn’t see that being offered.
Well developed app eco-systems which both Apple and Google have successfully cultivated strongly encourage user loyalty. As people purchase more and more apps and get comfortable with each of the two leading mobile platforms, that investment in time and money make it less likely they will abandon that investment for something new and untested. On the business side, Blackberry still has a chance to make inroads although iPhone and Android have already made a huge and possible irreversible impact on the corporate market.
If Blackberry can truly innovate and offer consumers benefits they cannot and will not get with iPhone and Android then they have a shot at success. My gut feeling is that the train has probably already left the station and Blackberry will remain a marginal consumer player at best.
BlackBerry Doesn’t Have a Chance With Consumers
Apple and Android have had a few years to edge in on BlackBerry’s B2B market share. I see a lot of enterprises adopting the iPhone while abandoning BlackBerry. It’s taken a lot of effort to convince IT departments that iOS is a viable enterprise mobile platform. And now that iOS is making its mark, it’s going to be even harder to convince executive leadership to go back to BlackBerry. Especially since it’s been the leadership teams putting the pressure on IT to consider iOS— at least that’s how it looks from my vantage point.
BlackBerry may have a chance to win back some of its B2B market share. From what IT people tell me, it’s a fantastic platform for control and device management. That said, I don’t think it will have a chance in the consumer market. Windows Phone 8 has a far better chance at gaining consumer market share than BlackBerry.
A New Angle But Nothing Revolutionary
I admire Blackberry for taking on a new angle – a device that satisfies the needs of a business with the end user’s wants – but I think it’s just that, a new angle. There’s nothing revolutionary about this new phone and I don’t see innovation happening at Blackberry anytime soon, because they lack leadership. For a good product, you need good people. I don’t see them hiring big new names to turn the ship around. As a result, I think Blackberry will continue to struggle.