The night is always darkest before the dawn. For Research in Motion, the former heavyweight champion of the smart phone world, it sure seems like it has reached a record darkness. It has been caught flat footed when the iPhone started emerging as a contender, completely blindsided by Androids, and is taking some serious heat about its ability to perform as its usual reliable self. Is this the case of an aging iconic figure incapable of mounting a comeback?
Media will have you believe the smart phone war is a two horse race with iOS and Android in the middle of a fight for dominance over the market. Does this mean Blackberry is no longer in the picture? … Well, not exactly. CNET has reported Android having 43.7% of market share during the 3 month period ending August, 2011. By comparison, Apple has 27.3% and Blackberry is at 19.7%. However, Blackberry is the only OS of these 3 to have dropped in popularity having 24.7% market share in previous months. Keep in mind that this market has increased 10% and TechCrunch has reported that the Smartphone market now accounts for 28% of the total phone market.
These numbers aren’t complementary to Blackberry, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. With the release of the iPhone 4Gs timed exactly at the same time as the RIM servers shutting down things couldn’t possibly look worse for RIM. However, where some see despair I see opportunity. Why is it that I still believe in Blackberry and remain loyal?
The End is not Inevitable
Nintendo was in exactly the same situation RIM finds itself now. However, they managed to reinvent themselves by leveraging there already popular features (namely iconic games and characters) and creating a very unique experience never before experienced on previous systems yet still holding true to their roots.
Something about RIM’s script reads awfully similar to Nintendo’s. RIM with the new QNX OS which will be in the next line of phones has an opportunity to completely reinvent itself and keep on leveraging their ever popular BBM and native email services. Additionally, RIM has one ace up its sleeve that I believe has flown under the radar. About a year ago, RIM acquired TAT, an expert User Interface Company. While the latest round of BlackBerry 7 devices has a slightly better UI, I am not convinced it is incorporating TAT technology just yet. Will we see the marriage of a new OS and an overhauled interface? Possibly, and if this is the case prepare for a kickass experience.
Previous Customer Relationships
A big reason I believe Nintendo was able to come back with such authority is the fact that so many people are familiar with the product, and want to see it succeed. RIM having been an innovator and leader in the section for such a long time will surely have a base of people that long for Blackberry experience that used to feel so great.
Of course, this experience has recently become sour with the latest server issue. However, RIM has reacted fast and managed to present the impression that they will try harder and work better. Although some find it to be the last straw, I believe they have a lot more fight in them. I think that RIM should take a page out of Dominoes Pizza Marketing strategy when they created a new campaign surrounding their new recipe. They admitted their mistakes, and emphasized they had changed. If RIM employs this strategy and admits they have been lacking in the past, they should be able to recapture the hearts of many.
Great Competitive Advantage
Just because blackberry is falling behind, this does not make it a bad device. In fact, there are really great aspects that competitors have yet to beat or match. As you have been preached to time and time again, BB security is the gold standard. The BB playbook is the only tablet to be certified for government use in the US; not to mention the President of the US also uses a Blackberry.
BBM is now being rivalled by imessenger but there is no denying the BBM brand is still the most dominant mobile instant messenger. It has been in our hearts for so long and withstood the test of time. RIM is additionally making this ace up their sleeve even better by developing new innovation such as BBM music.
The form factor of a Bold, specifically the bold touch 9900/9930, is simply a thing of beauty. If you need something with a bigger screen and still hold a keyboard they can offer a torch 9810 (slider). If you really wish to have the big screen there is the torch 9850/9860 (touch); and if you want something a little smaller the curve 9360 should suffice. It is a diverse set of phones that has a unified OS. iPhones cannot say they have all these form factors, and Android has some real segmentation issues with their OS.
The lesser known advantage a blackberry has over Android or iOS is the efficiency of their data. One can do twice the browsing and social media communication with a Blackberry compared to other devices and 4 times the email. With the ever increasing need for data these days, this is actually quite a vital attribute to BB’s portfolio.
Blackberry is Canadian
Let me start by saying I mean no offence or wish to belittle any other nation. However, this is a Canadian Tech website, so I will proudly say that Blackberry is a Canadian product. It is the very first Canadian mobile phone manufacturer and obviously the best Canadian mobile phone manufacturer. BB phones are filled with diversity just like our country is. Canadians have a certain attitude that allows us to take hits march forward and overcome. I believe this legend of a tech company, that has infiltrated the hearts of many worldwide over the years, is the same. It may have been bruised, cut, and knocked down but it has not been knocked out.
People are already giving RIM the ten count but I believe it will get back up and be great once more.