Blue vs. White: The new phone cannot save obsolete Blackberry product
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Saturday, February 16, 2013 00:02
Photo from PCMag.com
Will the new Blackberry Z10 save the brand?
The Blackberry Z10 and new operating system are great moves by Blackberry. Five years ago. The sad truth is that it is simply too late for Blackberry, formally known as RIM. The new phone certainly modernizes Blackberry’s phone, but at this point the damage has been done.
The phone itself by all initial reviews has shown to be impressive. On the hardware front it is competitive with the leading smartphones. On the software front it brings in features such as BBM and a keyboard with much more accurate predictive typing. Now all of this sounds like great news for Blackberry. However, the bad news greatly outweighs it. The biggest hole in Blackberry’s attempted comeback is content. While they have plans for TV shows, music, and movies for their new line of phones, the offerings will be nowhere near that of Apple or Android.
Blackberry has also fallen into the same kind of situation as Microsoft. The Windows phone received similar praise upon launch, but its app offerings were abysmal. Blackberry touts having 70,000 apps in its store. The problem is that many of these are subpar and the store is lacking in the major apps consumers have come to expect. Among those missing from the new Blackberry marketplace are Google Maps, Pandora, YouTube, Spotify, Instagram and Snapchat which at this point have become universal staples of smartphone apps. They will also have a tough time bringing in new developers and getting exclusive apps because of their market share. App developers like coding for the App Store and Android marketplace because they have such large audiences, which leads to more sales.
These issues, however, can be traced back to Blackberry’s mishandling of its phone line. Back in 2009, Blackberry held 40 percent of the smartphone market in the US. Today it holds under 2 percent. This fall from grace is best attributed to Blackberry’s inability to adapt. When the iPhone first launched, Blackberry didn’t consider it much of a threat. Even when the iPhone started to eat away at their market share, Blackberry stuck to their guns. The phone line was traditionally associated as being the ‘business phone” and Blackberry decided to keep it like that. The problem was when businesses like Home Depot and others started to switch over to iPhones giving Apple a presence in both the consumer and business markets. This still didn’t spark Blackberry to undergo any major change. With slipping sales in the US, Blackberry maintained a presence on the global market. However, as the iPhone and the numerous Android phones have spread worldwide, these footholds are also disappearing. Between the three months ending in October 2011 and the autumn of 2012, its UK market share slipped from 19 percent to 8 percent. In Spain it dropped from 24 percent to 3 percent. Market share also dropped in Brazil and France. This also isn’t to mention to current nonexistent market in China or India.
The fact of the matter is that Blackberry doesn’t have the strong following it once did. Its fall from grace has made it a punch line when people talk about the latest and greatest smartphone offerings. And despite having loyal fans that will certainly pick up the new smartphone, if Blackberry plans on having a comeback they need to convince people to switch over from their iPhone or Android phone. This leads me to a question that Blackberry should’ve asked whenever they planned the Blackberry Z10. Why would someone switch over from their current phone? My iPhone gives me almost all of the same features, all my content is organized on iTunes, and I have an abundance of apps to choose from. The same can be said for Android users. While a better keyboard and Time Shift are cool features, they aren’t enough to get me to switch over especially when such an important factor like apps is lagging.
The best case scenario in all of this is that Blackberry dukes it out with Microsoft for third place in the smartphone market. The worst case scenario is that their phone is dead on arrival. Had Blackberry had this launch a few years ago they would have had a chance before the market got too saturated. This would have allowed them to develop their app offerings and work out kinks in the software to stay in line with their competition. Rather, this delayed “We have it too” response will only prolong an inevitable decline that started from poor decision making years ago.
Read the other side of this Blue vs. White here.