Black beauty’s huge hurdle
The brand is bidding to claw back market share on the back of the Z10 model, writes Rod Chester
AUSTRALIANS desperate to get their fingers tapping on a new BlackBerry phone will have to twiddle their thumbs for a few months more.
Telstra and Optus will stock the BlackBerry Z10 touchscreen phone but not until next month at the earliest, and prices have not yet been released.
The news for diehards wanting a BlackBerry Q10 with a physical QWERTY keyboard is bleaker, with no Australian telco due to stock the Q10.
That is despite some international markets, including Canada, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, putting the phones on sale almost immediately following last week’s New York launch of the two phones and the BlackBerry 10 operating system.
BlackBerry also announced details of a new app store with 70,000 apps, a new company name with Research in Motion rebranding itself as BlackBerry, and a new face to appeal to the elusive younger generation with singer Alicia Keys named BlackBerry global creative director.
After years of losing market share to Apple and Android, those at BlackBerry know this is the best chance to stop the slide into oblivion.
Back in 2010, Gartner figures show that Research in Motion sold 49.7 million phones, giving it a small lead over Apple, which sold 46.7 million phones. By 2012, those positions had dramatically shifted, with RIM’s 31 million phones sales a long way behind Apple’s 180.3 million.
Despite the optimism at BlackBerry’s New York launch, Gartner does not predict a turnaround of fortunes. It predicts by 2016, Apple will be selling 266.3 million phones against 23.3 million for the rebranded BlackBerry.
Forrester Research principal analyst Charles Golvin says half of US BlackBerry owners plan to get a new phone in the next year but fewer than two in five will buy another BlackBerry.
IDC market analyst Aman Bajaj says BlackBerry’s future depends on its ambitions.
‘‘ They have to be realistic. They’re not going to come in and take over the market and take the number one position in the total smartphone market,’’ he says. ‘‘ At least they’ve done the right thing in launching devices that have got favourable reviews.’’
1. The phone matches or beats its competitors in most technical features. It has a 4.2-inch LCD screen with a 1280 x 768 screen resolution. It has a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and MicroSD card support of up to 64GB. It has an 8-megapixel camera capable of 1080 HD video and a 2-megapixel frontfacing camera able to shoot 720 HD video. 2. The camera has Time Shift, which lets you take a burst of images of people and then manipulate areas of the images for a photo with everyone smiling. 3. The operating system allows you to separate work life (apps and data) from private life. 4. The Z10 has a replaceable battery. 5. BlackBerry is a choice for people who find Android and iOS tired.
1. The BlackBerry World store has 70,000 apps but big names (Instagram, Spotify, Sonos, Flipboard and popular Australian business apps) are missing. 2. Early reviews of the Z10’s 8-megapixel camera show it performs poorly in low light. 3. Without an announcement about the availability of the Q10 in Australia, BlackBerry diehards will have to decide whether to switch to a touchscreen with the Z10 or hope the physical keyboard version follows. 4. Early reviews say the built-in Maps app is disappointing. 5. It does not have its own cloud-based system, like Apple’s iCloud or Google Drive.