A quick round up of the industry reaction to BlackBerry’s BB10 launch.
Malik Saadi from Informa Telecom’s and Media believes that 3 million in sales in the first month would be a boon to BlackBerry’s fortunes.
“In the consumer segment, 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. 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 1 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 3 million units would be a spectacular performance, which will undoubtedly resurrect both the consumers’ and the investors’ confidence in the BlackBerry brand.
Ernest Doku from uSwitch.com believes it will all come down to contract pricing.
“By offering a robust suite of multimedia features and 70,000 apps upon launch it’s abundantly clear that BlackBerry is taking steps to ensure that it’s no longer stereotyped as a stuffy, business-only device.
“Today BlackBerry has successfully unveiled striking new look devices and a powerful OS to support them. But a great phone simply isn’t enough in today’s competitive mobile market, and the fuel to stoke BlackBerry’s fire will undoubtedly be the wider array of services.
“Confirmation of a revamped BBM complete with video calls as well as a bustling ecosystem of apps, music and movies is heartening in that regard.
“With Apple dominating the premium market and a flood of strong Samsung phones cleaning up in the mid-range sector, aggressive pay monthly pricing will surely be needed to turn heads, and ultimately make or break the Z10.”
David Akka, MD of Magic Software believes that BlackBerry should be able to survive off the faithful.
“Even though RIM’s shares have slid considerably, they have managed to survive relying on their strong customer base. However, these customers are now beginning to lose their patience and seeking alternatives. With the launch of Blackberry 10, RIM will be looking to make an imminent impact on the enterprise and bring the fight to Microsoft building upon their legacy of secure and reliable devices in an attempt to win back favour amongst the crackberry faithful.”
Everything Everywhere’s Paul Jevons, Director of Products and Devices thinks the Z10’s 4G capabilities are a good fit for EE.
“We’re delighted to launch the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone and offer consumers and business users in the UK the first 4G-enabled BlackBerry handset. The Z10 has been designed with 4G in mind and when combined with the UK’s only superfast 4G network, BlackBerry 10 becomes one of the most advanced connected platforms on the market ‘ allowing customers to download content, email and share files in a way they haven’t been able to on a BlackBerry smartphone before.”
Phones4U have wrapped up an exclusive deal on the white Z10, according to Scott Hooton Chief Commercial Officer.
“We have a longstanding heritage in offering BlackBerry smartphones to consumers and especially in securing BlackBerry colour exclusives for our customers. We know there’s a huge appetite for BlackBerry smartphones, and a large proportion of our customer base in early 2013 will be returning BlackBerry customers looking to upgrade their handset with Phones 4u. We’re extremely excited to be launching the highly anticipated BlackBerry Z10, which promises to offer a completely new mobile experience, and we look forward to welcoming customers into our store to get their hands on the BlackBerry Z10 in white before anyone else.”
Vodafone has shown its support as the first ‘4G-ready’ device (Vodafone’s 4G network will not be available until later this year). Srini Gopalan, Consumer Director at Vodafone says:
“We know there is strong support from both consumers and business customers for BlackBerry smartphones and it is encouraging to see RIM continuing to innovate. The new BlackBerry Z10 powered by BlackBerry 10, is an important addition to the smartphone market in the UK. It also marks the first handset in our new range of ‘4G-ready’ devices. Anyone who buys one of our ‘4G-ready’ phones will be good to go as soon as Vodafone 4G arrives.”
Robert Rutherford, CEO of Quostar Solutions, believes that the key to BB10’s renaissance is to focus on the corporate market’s ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) to work problems. He thinks BlackBerry Balance is a step in the right direction.
“Traditionally BYOD has had two major drawbacks, it wasn’t secure and it wasn’t practical. The noises coming from the RIM camp today suggest that Blackberry may be on the cusp of releasing a phone which has tackled these problems head on.
“From a practical perspective, the ability to easily separate the two halves of life offers much promise. A device with a functional profile designed for the necessities of business on the one hand and a media/social profile on the other has practical benefits that extend far beyond a healthy work/life balance.
“Until the device is out in the market though, we won’t know for sure if it has the kind of potential that the pre-release rumours suggest, but if it lives up to the hype then there will be just one question from BYOD fans: when is the tablet coming?”