RIM, AKA BlackBerry, launches high end BlackBerry Z10 and the more consumer-focused Q10, along with new operating system, BB10
RIM CEO, Thorsten Heins, announced today that the company would be changing its name to BlackBerry, as the company unveiled BB10 and two new long awaited smartphones.
BlackBerry launched the high end BlackBerry Z10 and the more consumer-focused Q10, along with new operating system, BB10, which the manufacturer hopes will enable it to compete directly with Samsung and Apple.
The news was anticipated and received to the delight of the market that watched BlackBerry's stocks rise in the hours preceding the announcements, as well as after.
Adam Leach, principal analyst at Ovum, commented on the launch of BB10:'The Blackberry 10 platform offers a differentiated user experience in today's crowded and homogenous smartphone market. The Blackberry Z10 and Q10 will stand out from the Android masses and look distinct from Apple's iPhone.'
Yet Leach noted that the move is probably still not enough to push BlackBerry back to its previous heights: 'However, the challenge for the company will be to attract new users and those that have already moved to alternative smartphones. Ovum believes that despite a well-designed Blackberry 10 platform that will certainly attract short term interest from existing users, the company will struggle to appeal to a wider audience and in the long term will become a niche player in the smartphone market.'
Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, said the answer to BlackBerry's future will be seen in the first few months' sales of the business to high end consumer device, the Z10: 'Sales above three million units of BlackBerry Z10 in the first three months on sale will send BlackBerry shares sky high, but anything below one million will not be well received by investors.'
He added: 'With the superior messaging experience that the BlackBerry Z10 offers, and its highly integrated enterprise features, BlackBerry could well win back the hearts of business users, particularly in Europe and North America. In emerging markets, the situation is different as the majority of BlackBerry users tend to opt for affordable devices with an average selling price around $200. Given the high end specifications of BlackBerry Z10, it is highly unlikely that the typical BlackBerry users in these regions will be able to afford it. Instead, RIM will attempt to win new premium subscribers in these regions, a market segment currently dominated by Apple and Samsung.' Saadi remarked that in the consumer segment, the new user experience provided by BB10 will be the make-or-break issue: 'The challenge BlackBerry faces is not so much related to the device's performance or its appeal, but is more about how consumers will react to its brand new approach to the user experience. With a significant majority of consumers now using smartphones on a daily basis, expectations have become a direct product of their experience with their current device. Given that consumers are generally slow to adapt to new user experiences, they might find it hard to connect with Z10's user interface from the first touch. The minimalistic design of the phone means it does not feature the traditional physical 'buttons' users are accustomed to – the home button, the back button and the search button. Instead the phone relies predominantly on soft touch and gesture for navigation. 'No doubt it will be challenging for BlackBerry to push the new device to consumers in retail stores,' concluded Saadi. 'Sales representatives often prefer to sell as many phones as quickly as possible, preferably the ones that don't require too much effort in educating the consumer. This happens each time a new platform is introduced to the market. For example, the shipments of iPhone, Android and Windows Phone devices did not exceed 1.1 million, 0.8 million and 0.9 million, respectively, in the first three months after they were launched. So, given the very fast growing smartphone market, BlackBerry should aim to sell at least one million units of the new device in its first quarter. Anything below this would call into question the company's ability to execute its marketing strategy, while anything above three million units would be a spectacular performance, which will undoubtedly resurrect both the consumers' and the investors' confidence in the BlackBerry brand.'