BlackBerry is back. But can it survive?
BlackBerry was once the smartphone to own, however, due to its struggle to adapt to the smartphone evolution, the rising popularity of Apple, as well as companies that use Android operating systems, such as Samsung, BlackBerry’s reign over the mobile market started to falter.
And this decline in customers, reflected in its profits also, with BlackBerry reporting a $670m net loss in Q2 2016, almost triple its loss in the previous quarter, stated a BBC report. It also held less than 1 per cent of the U.S. mobile market.
However, BlackBerry may be ripe for picking once again, with its latest release, the Motion, receiving high acclaim upon its unveiling at GITEX Technology Week 2017 in Dubai this week.
Launched by TCL Communications, the full touch-screen BlackBerry Motion “continues the heritage of offering customers the best in reliability, productivity, privacy and security,” read the company statement.
The Motion is also the first BlackBerry smartphone to offer IP67 water and dust resistance, a new anti-scratch display technology and the largest battery ever in a BlackBerry.
Alain Lejeune, Global General Manager for BlackBerry Mobile, said: “The launch of BlackBerry Motion allows us to further diversify our product offering, delivering new experiences while remaining steadfast with the privacy, reliability and productivity that have made BlackBerry so iconic over the years.”
AMEinfo tried to reach out to the company for comments, but it did not get any input until the time of publishing.
Learning from past mistakes
As reported in Gulf Marketing Review, AMEinfo’s sister company, one of the main reasons behind BlackBerry’s collapse was the failure to adapt at a time when smartphone technology was undergoing rapid innovation, such as touch screen and large screens (as against BlackBerry’s fixed QWERTY plastic keyboards with a little scroll ball). While the company did try to catch up with the launch of BlackBerry 10, it was too late.
“Other reasons why Blackberry failed were its not-so-easy-to-use operating system, lack of innovation, inferior apps, poor software integration with Google’s cloud services, and expensive devices,” it added.
Technology Columnist at the Wall Street Journal, Farhad Manjoo, added how BlackBerry had become addicted to a single way to sell its devices. The way that it sold its devices was that it had relationships with I.T. managers at big companies and those I.T. managers issued BlackBerry’s phones to their employees.
“That was a really easy way to sell phones, because I.T. managers have a limited set of needs. They need secure phones, but they did not really need flashy phone. The market changed and BlackBerry did not recognize it,” he stated.
“The iPhone came along, and then later devices running Google Android operating system began to sell directly to consumers. Those consumers have jobs and did not want to use the phones provided by their companies. Their I.T. managers began to let them use the devices they bought for home use,” he continued.
With the launching of the new BlackBerry Motion, TCL hopes that the new Smartphone will reverse BlackBerry’s collapse and return the brand to growth in 2018.
Are people ready to switch back to BlackBerry?
AMEinfo spoke to three business people and asked if they were ready to pick up a BlackBerry.
“It depends on the new features and the price of the phone,” says Ahmad Choukeir, Managing Director at Compass Power Solutions, who also adds that it would be hard to switch from iPhone back to BlackBerry.
For Choukeir, the iPhone is more user friendly. “I am more familiar with the iPhone and have not tried BlackBerry in a very long time. I do not know much about it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zeid Kobeissi, Electrical Manager at VACC Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, believes that BlackBerry is very effective when it comes to sending emails and making voice calls.
“But it is not user-friendly like the iPhone,” he adds. “Also, the Apple Store used in iPhones is richer and has a wider variety of applications.”
Samer Hajjar, Regional Director at Aramex, says that he is ready to shift to BlackBerry from iPhone, depending on features and prices, because he mostly likes the BBM features.
“The price is definitely better with the launch at $460, compared to an average $1000 for a new iPhone,” he said.