After the much anticipated wait (for some), RIM finally unveiled its BlackBerry 10 operating system and smartphones. BlackBerry has endured many delays over the past couple years which has forced their once loyal customer base to migrate to other platforms. Throughout 2012, RIM faced several delays and setbacks such as the inability to hit revenue targets, sales were down 40% than the previous year which resulted in the layoff of over 5,000 employees. During the unveiling on Wednesday, January 30, 2013, CEO Thorsten Heins also broke out a new corporate name, debuting the news as quoted: “ We have redefined ourselves inside and out, RIM becomes BlackBerry! It is one brand, it is one promise.” The launch of BlackBerry 10 is more than just a new software release, it will determine BlackBerry’s fate.
BlackBerry is expected to launch two new smartphones to introduce the BlackBerry 10 OS, a thin model with a touch screen display and another featuring the Blackberry’s traditional keyboard and shape and boasts improvements from past phones, including tweaks for faster web browsing, new hardware features, updated camera, and a larger app library (approximately 70,000 apps at time of launch). Based on the announcements from the unveiling, BlackBerry will launch two devices; the Z10 and the Q10.
· All-touch virtual keyboard that as you type words will pop up, when you see the word you want, you simply flick it into the message
· Designed by focusing on typical screen gestures and swipes to avoid app cluttering on the screen and to promote a different user experience
· Similar look to Apple’s iPhone 5 but slightly larger
· 4.2-inch LCD display
· 2-megapixel front-facing camera which offers the ability to shoot HD videos
· Offered with a preloaded 8GB class 2 microSD card (Class 4 or higher are required for HD videos)
BlackBerry Q10 (limited details available):
· Classic QWERTY BlackBerry keyboard
· 3.1 inch display
· 4G LTE
BlackBerry 10 Operating System:
· Similar layout to other smartphones, lowering the learning curve
· Ability to sign into multiple email accounts & social networks, with automatic, duplicate-deleting contact merging
· BlackBerry Balance – separates sensitive business apps from personal ones to promote business use
· Built-in photo-editing tool that allows you to crop, rotate, reduce red-eye, add filters, adjust contracts, etc.
· BBM video calling
BlackBerry seems to have delivered a smartphone that will appeal to consumers new to smartphones or looking for an alternate OS, but may not win over current iPhone and Android users. BlackBerry has been known for their personal and corporate security based phones and continues to present their focus in promoting a secure and efficient phone for both personal and corporate use. BlackBerry was a very popular device for several years, I even wrote a blog in 2012 behind the reasoning I chose to trade in my iPhone for the “updated” BlackBerry Bold (which I now pawned off to my mom for the GS3). Over the past year the increasing amount of smartphones available created the BlackBerry line to stagnate due to competing devices being able to offer much more. The new line of BlackBerry 10phones may be the devices, especially in Q1, that bring the BlackBerry devotees back into the fold. Do you think BlackBerry still has a chance to make an impact in the smartphone market place? Or has its time come to an end?