Can Blackberry bounce back this week? Tell us if you’ll choose RIM again
Some tech writers have been getting a little frothy about Research in Motion’s chances of pulling a huge save out of the bag this week as it rolls out its new BlackBerry 10 operating system and a couple of new phones. It is a precipice moment in RIM’s history. There is going to be a $3.7m (£2.3m) 30-second Super Bowl TV spot and masses of other marketing activity to build buzz. It needs it.
What else? The stock is up, but is a long way off of former glories, and journalists have said some nice things about the new handsets they have had to test. But is it enough? A comeback still feels like it would be a gargantuan achievement. RIM has been slipping for years and has only held on this long because of its fast slipping hold on the enterprise market.
Let’s not forget it has bitterly disappointed the market in the past. Back in June analysts were unhappy as it delayed the launch until January. That is a lengthy wait for a company that has slashed 30% of its 16,500 workforce.
There was the Blackberry Playbook, its stab at a tablet. The verdict on that was pretty universal. The nicer comments were that it was flawed and few bought it. Embarrassingly this led retailers to slash prices of BlackBerry tablets in a fire sale.
Now apparently we are to get two phones featuring the new Blackberry 10 OS. One with a touch screen, rumoured to be called the BlackBerry Z10, and a second with a more traditional Blackberry Qwerty keyboard called the X10.
The touch screen device is said to look a bit like a black iPhone, but work in a different way. Not worrying in of itself as a lot of things look like the iPhone. It is the one to beat. But again I’m not sure when I have the choice of an Android, Samsung or an Apple I or anyone else would choose Blackberry?
The phone with a keyboard might be a different proposition. There are some out there who can not do without their keyboards. Although this band is diminishing.
On the face of it both products sound decent, but this is not a company that makes anyone go “wow”. It is more of a “pretty good” company and pretty good I suspect is not going to cut it, pretty good is going to fall short of what is required in 2013.
Having a phone with a keyboard these days is no longer essential when so many larger touch screen devices make typing pretty easy.
I’m speaking as someone who has had a lot of Blackberry devices. At least three Blackberry Curves and a couple of Blackberry Torches, but I’m not sure I would get another. No one has them at work anymore. It is all iPhones or Androids. This is accelerating with trends such as BYOD (bring your own device) to work.
Recently Yahoo boss Marissa Mayer said that all RIM BlackBerry smartphones have been banished, and that Yahoo staff will be using Apple iPhones, Google Android phones and Microsoft Windows phones in future.
Big government agencies are doing the same. Last year the US National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates plane crashes, became the latest federal agency to drop its BlackBerry smartphones in favour of iPhones for reliability. The US Transportation Security Administration and the US procurement agency were two more that went to Apple.
Those data outages have been hurting Blackberry for a good while (“The brand fallout from BlackBerry’s blackout“). I think all that is what you call a trend. Not sure all the tech journalist froth is exactly justified.
Samsung as we saw recently with its Blackberry kicking ad is also after that enterprise market too. If Apple can get it so can Samsung or Android. I think that means the writing is on the wall. RIM’s products will become niche eventually leading to sale or a break-up.
What will you do?
What about you do you have one? Have you had one? And would you get one again?