Blackberry fights to stay relevant
RIM Blackberry has been leading the smartphone shares in American markets and has replaced Motorola in the top 5 device makers in the world. However, if the signs are to be read well, the growth for Blackberry is tapering out. A few thoughts on the Blackberry evolution.
Very clearly, while Blackberry owes its success to the corporate utilities (email); Blackberry is under some pressure to start positioning itself as a phone with more multimedia and networking versatility. Blackberry Storm I and II have not done any much in terms of extrapolating the Blackberry story and heritage to the touch space. So then, Blackberry is stuck with its QWERTY “enterprise-phone” story. Blackberry would need a big story or two to move way from what now looks like its one-trick-pony: QWERTY devices.
Blackberry also faces some pressure from the security agencies globally who have repeatedly complained against the security walls of the Blackberry which can make snooping and investigation on SMSs/Mails and phone calls difficult. Many nations globally are considering blocking the Blackberry messaging services because they cannot snoop on it.
So whats news @ Blackberry? Its news at Hardware and the UI/Software end of the story.
Blackberry is planning to launch an attack at the Apple flagship: the iPad with its own tablet. This may be an interesting move because not only does this mark the entry of Blackberry into Tablets, it can also be argued that given Blackberry’s enterprise association, the Blackberry tablet could have more enterprise functionalities compared to the iPad. The Blackberry tablet will be called the Blackpad and will feature a 9.7-inch screen, just like the iPad. The RIM tablet will also have both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the later supposedly so that BlackBerry users can use their cell phone’s data connection to tether their Blackpads. The tablet will have both front and rear facing cameras for video conferencing – perhaps something that will be applied to the business marketplace for meetings.
Hardware is one thing, the software OS engines are completely another. Lately the Blackberry has not been able to keep up with the pace of iOS4 and Android 2.1/2.2/3.0. Blackberry is pinning its hopes on its newest OS called Blackberry 6.0. The Blackberry 6.0 has a redone home screen, better customization control, universal search feature, pinch-to-zoom, touch screen scrolling, multi touch interface with social networking integrations. Personally I am not too sure that the Blackberry 6.0 has all it takes to get ahead, but it’s a wait and watch game. Combined with the Blackpads, the Blackberry 6.0 will have more to do: It has to take the Blackberry experience to one level higher, something that Blackberry has not done for a while.