BlackBerry “Reinvented”

BlackBerry has clearly fallen on hard times.  It’s slow response to the growing threat from Apple’s iPhone and smartphones running Google’s Android operating system in the late 2000’s clearly caught then Research in Motion’s management team off guard.
Now the company has launched their new software platform, BlackBerry OS 10, and a few new smartphones, with and without keyboards, that no one much seems to care about.  That’s really bad news for a company desperately trying to recapture their former glory as a market leader in mobile.
It’s true what they say about history repeating itself.  As a recovering Palm fan, and Crackberry addict, I’ve seen this show before.  The same thing happened to Palm shortly after the iPhone was released and Palm was desperately trying to get webOS and the Pre out the door to try and turn their dwindling fortunes around.
On Monday, the New York Times outlined just how bad things are for BlackBerry, which is now officially exploring “strategic options” which is executive speak for “sell the company.”
It becomes very difficult, in my opinion, to try and sell your company when long time tech industry people like Jean-Louis Gassée, a former PalmSource and Apple executive, is trash talking what little BlackBerry has left.

“Acquiring BlackBerry is necrophilia.  The BB brand is tarnished.”

But if that wasn’t bad enough, BMO Capital Markets analyst Tom Long, from Bank of Montreal on BlackBerry’s home turf, wasn’t very optimistic about BlackBerry’s options either.

“We don’t foresee any scenarios where the value of the company will be significantly larger.”

At this point it’s hard to tell if BlackBerry will be acquired by a larger company with deeper pockets – similar to what happened to Palm when they sold the company to HP – or if the Board of Directors decides to sell of key assets and patents to other companies.
[Via the NewYorkTimes.com…]

BlackBerry Still Struggling to Revitalize Itself

This past week was not particularly a good one for mobile device maker BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion.

This past Friday, BlackBerry, announced details about their first quarter earnings, and Wall Street was caught off guard, in their opinion, about how few new BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 devices were sold.  For the quarter wrapping up, BlackBerry sold about 2.7 million new BlackBerry 10 devices.  BlackBerry 10 is the company’s mobile operating system, similar to Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS.  Adding insult to injury, BlackBerry sold 4.1 million of their older, BlackBerry 7-powered devices for a combined total of 6.8 million units shipped.  Once the news was released, BlackBerry’s stock price started trending downward, some would say “crashing”, down 26-28%, ending up at $10.46.  Worse, according to BlackBerry, their subscriber base has shrunk by 4 million users ending up at 72 million users globally.

To help mount their turn around, BlackBerry will continue to rollout their existing Z10 and Q10 around the world while bringing new BlackBerry 10 devices like the “budget” Q5 to “emerging” markets this summer and through-out the calendar year.

Research In Motion was caught completely off guard, as was just about every other smartphone maker, in 2007 when Apple released the game changing iPhone.  Everyone, except maybe Google, has been chasing the fruit phone maker since.

What surprises me, however, is that history seems to repeat itself.  I always hated it when my parents or teachers told me this, but I have come to accept and believe it.  You see, there was another smartphone maker that found itself in a similar position a few years ago: Palm.

There are a number of similarities between BlackBerry and Palm.  Palm, like BlackBerry, was down on their luck after the iPhone was released. Palm was limping along on sales of their previous generation Palm OS and Windows Mobile smartphones just like BlackBerry is doing now.  BlackBerry, like Palm, is desperately trying to reinvent itself with the Z10 and BlackBerry 10 just like Palm attempted to do with the Pre and webOS.  We know, that after a long, drawn out battle, Palm after being acquired by HP, finally came to an end.  Will BlackBerry and the BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system suffer a similar fate?  Will they continue to be a niche corporate market player or will they finally fade off like Palm?

We don’t know the answer to that question.  Make no mistake, what BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins is attempting to do to turn around his company is extremely difficult.  This past spring I had a chance to play with the new Z10 handheld and BlackBerry 10.  The phone had a quality design and feel to it.  The new software, was still very much foreign to me after having used older versions of the BlackBerry software.  While the gestures did leave me bewildered during the few minutes I had with the phone, people that I know who have purchased the Z10 have gotten used to it.

Oh, and there is one other similarity that BlackBerry shares with Palm, a small, yet dedicated core user base. Will it be enough to carry BlackBerry through the stormy weather until BlackBerry can grown their subscriber base and software marketshare?  We will have to just wait and see.

BlackBerry Q10 To Arrive In Late Spring

Last week we saw BlackBerry, the company formerly known as Research In Motion, unveil their new handsets, the Z10 and the Q10 along side their new mobile operating system, BlackBerry 10 OS.

The Z10 has gone on sale on it’s home turf of Canada, as well as several other countries, including the UK and is expected to go on sale here in the US in late March.

Those hoping to get their hands on the more traditional looking BlackBerry, the Q10, may have to wait a little bit longer than was first reported.

Zach Epstein, writing for BGR states:

“[A]ccording to comments from company CEO Thorsten Heins […] while speaking with the Associated Press on Tuesday, Heins said the BlackBerry Q10 will launch in the U.S. between eight and 10 weeks after the BlackBerry Z10 debuts. BlackBerry’s first BB10 smartphone is expected to hit store shelves in the U.S. in mid-March, placing the BlackBerry Q10′s launch timeframe between mid-May and early June.”

Look at this way, “traditional” BlackBerry fans, we’ve waited this long, a few more weeks isn’t going to matter much.

In the mean time, check out this video of the BlackBerry Q10 in action.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYKFpEOSyUQ]

[Via BGR.com…]

BlackBerry Z10 Handsets Appear To Be Selling Out

BlackBerry is attempting an Apple-like company turn around, which is by no means, an easy thing to do for any company.  A recent article said that BlackBerry doesn’t need to beat out iOS and Google Android hands down right now, rather the BlackBerry 10 OS needs to be able to hold it’s own to iterate and mature.

Being a long time Palm fan, I have observed similarities between the transformation RIM is currently undertaking with BlackBerry 10 and the Z10 and Palm’s transformation from Palm OS and the Treo to webOS and the Pre and the launch of the Z10 in the UK is just another parallel.

Writing for BGR, Zach Epstein writes:

“Checks at 40 stores in Canada indicate sell-through of the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone is strong on its launch day, with numerous stores selling out towards the end of the day,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Sue wrote in a note to clients on Wednesday. “Z10 pre-orders reached record highs (for BlackBerry).” 

“That’s the good news. Sue tossed some cold water on the report though, noting very short Z10 inventory across all of the stores he spoke with. “Supply appears limited, with stores allocated avg. 5-10 units/store for walk-ins and est. 20-30 units/store for pre-orders,” the analyst wrote.”

Huh.  You know what other device was the best selling launch day device with sellouts across the board?  Well, yes, the last iPhone, but I was specifically thinking about the Palm Pre with webOS on June 6, 2009.

The Palm Pre for Sprint was selling out all over the place.  Which is easy to do when each store received less than 24 devices each.

We all witnessed Palm’s sad, slow demise, and I have to wonder if the new BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 are the new Palm Pre and Pixi.

For BlackBerry fans and customers, let’s hope not.

[Via BGR.com…]

BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 Announced

Last week, BlackBerry, the new corporate name for the Canadian company formerly known as Research In Motion, unveiled their new name, their new BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system, and a pair of new BlackBerry smartphones; the BlackBerry Z10 and the BlackBerry Q10.

Waterloo, ON – BlackBerry® (NASDAQ: RIMM; TSX: RIM) [on January 30, 2013] launched BlackBerry® 10, the re-designed, re-engineered, and re-invented BlackBerry platform that creates a new and unique mobile computing experience. Available on two new LTE-enabled smartphones, the BlackBerry® Z10 (all-touch) and BlackBerry® Q10 (touch with physical keyboard) smartphones powered by BlackBerry 10 offer you a faster, smarter and smoother experience than any other BlackBerry you have used before.

“Today sees a re-invented BlackBerry launching an entirely new mobile experience,” said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO of BlackBerry. “We are thrilled to be introducing BlackBerry 10 on the new BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones, to deliver a faster, smarter experience that continuously adapts to your needs.  Every feature, every gesture, and every detail in BlackBerry 10 is designed to keep you moving.”

BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 Smartphones

The new BlackBerry 10 smartphones are elegant and distinctive, and the fastest, most advanced BlackBerry smartphones yet. They feature 1.5 Ghz dual core processors with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and an expandable memory card slot. They include the latest enhancements in high density pixel and screen technology to display clear, sharp, and incredibly vivid images. Both feature a micro HDMI out port for presentations, and advanced sensors such NFC (near field communications) to support mobile payments and the exchange of information with a tap of the smartphone. They also have a removable battery.

Models of the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 will be available from carriers to support their respective 4G LTE or HSPA+ networks, and all the available models include connectivity support for global roaming. The BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones will also each come in White and Black. For more information about the new BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones powered by BlackBerry 10 please visit www.blackberry.com/blackberry10

A range of accessories for the new BlackBerry 10 smartphones, including the new BlackBerry® Mini Stereo Speaker as well as a variety of carrying and charging solutions including a unique charger that provides on-the-go charging, will be available from select carriers and retailers.

Pricing and Availability

Worldwide, we have several key markets that are revealing pricing and availability today, including the UK, Canada and UAE.

In the U.S. market, we expect availability with most carriers for the BlackBerry Z10 to be in March. Today, U.S. carriers will start announcing pre-registration and price plans.

We expect the first global carriers to launch the BlackBerry Q10 in April. We will announce new pricing and availability information as carriers roll-out around the world.

[Via GadgetsOnTheGo.net…]