Hoping for Berry strong comeback
The Blackberry Hub inbox will be launched in the new year, writes Rod Chester
BLACKBERRY’S comeback could come down to whether consumers fall in love with the universal inbox of its new BlackBerry Hub.
Research In Motion will launch two smartphones with the new BlackBerry 10 operating system on January 30, though both the touchscreen and QWERTY models are not expected in stores until February or March.
There will be three models of each phone, aimed at high, mid and low-end consumers, though RIM has not released details on battery life, physical size and camera resolution.
The touchscreen phone will be a radical change for the BlackBerry diehard users addicted to their QWERTY keyboards. Despite the interface change, the Hub that is the core of the new phone follows the traditional BlackBerry philosophy of managing messages and interacting with contacts.
RIM executives, speaking at BlackBerry Jam Asia in Bangkok last week, admitted it was playing for high stakes with the consumers’ reception to the BB10 phones.
RIM executives, hoping to lure app developers into writing programs for the new BlackBerry system, took to the stage in Bangkok in a karaoke call to arms.
‘‘ We’ll have BlackBerry 10 both in touch and QWERTY editions,’’ developer relations and ecosystem development vice-president Alec Saunders lip-synced to the tune of REO Speedwagon’s Keep On Loving You.
‘‘ And I meant every word that I said when I said that our developers are at the heart of our mobile endeavours.’’
When he stopped singing, Saunders was still on message about BB10 being both an opportunity for app developers and a fresh new start for smartphone users.
‘‘ If you look at the iOS design or the Android design, that’s a five-year-old design,’’ Saunders says.
‘‘ It was built for a different kind of hardware and it was built for a different kind of user experience.’’
RIM has a huge task ahead, launching a smartphone months after Apple’s iPhone 5, Nokia’s Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 handset and the Samsung Galaxy Note II appeared in the lead-up to Christmas.
Telsyte research director Foad Fadaghi says if BlackBerry is to succeed, consumers will have to be convinced that BB10 offers something that is a better experience than that with Apple and Android phones. A big ask. Rod Chester travelled to Thailand as a guest of Research In Motion.
Facing up: the homescreen on the prototype of the BlackBerry smartphone and (below from left) the hub and browser.