NMK members discuss the new BlackBerry 10

By Magda David Hercheui

See below some commentaries NMK has received from analysts about the new BlackBerry 10, launched last week.

Company needs more than technology and design

The BlackBerry X10 and Q10 have all the ingredients to become successful smartphone models. However, good technology and design is only the first step, according to Analysys Mason Principal Analyst Ronan de Renesse and Research Analyst Patrick Rusby. For the analysts, X10 and Q10 are designed to capture existing smartphone users, not new ones. 50% of new smartphone users in Europe will come for the prepay market where operator sales channels play a less important role and subsidies don’t exist. The X10 and Q10 retail price will be too high for new smartphone users.

For both analysts, BlackBerry’s ability to gain market share in the smartphone space will be linked to its applications ecosystem. App availability is a ‘must-have’ but the quality of the experience on long-tail apps will be determinant. According to a recent Analysys Mason study, long-tail apps (i.e. outside of top 50) from Google Play and Apple App Store see at least 10 times more engagement than on other platform.

The analysts conclude that BlackBerry 10’s success with enterprises will ultimately depend on whether it can win over CIOS and employees. For this it must offer a sufficient selection of enterprise apps and an improved UI as well as pushing the benefits of BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server). There is a lot of competition for enterprise customers. Apple is very well established in the enterprise space, Android has the largest consumer base and Windows phone should integrate better with enterprises existing Microsoft systems.

User experience

Adam Leach, principal analyst at Ovum, says: “The Blackberry 10 platform offers a differentiated user experience in today’s crowded and homogenous smartphone market. The Blackberry Z10 and Q10 will stand out from the Android masses and look distinct from Apple’s iPhone. The user experience of Blackberry 10 introduces some nice new features but importantly builds on Blackberry’s UI heritage and therefore will certainly appeal to existing Blackberry users. However, the challenge for the company will be to attract new users and those that have already moved to alternative smartphones.”

In accordance with the analyst, Blackberry has rightly focused on insuring that the Blackberry 10 devices have a large catalogue of content and applications which is now essential for any modern smartphone, and achieving 70,000 applications at the launch of a new platform is good start. However, he says, Ovum believes that despite a well-designed Blackberry 10 platform, that will certainly attract short-term interest from existing users the company will struggle to appeal to a wider audience and in the long-term will become a niche player in the smartphone market.


Robert Rutherford, CEO of QuoStar Solutions, asks whether Research in Motion may have taken a major step in making BYOD commercially viable: “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.

The security risks for BYOD devices are more or less the same as company owned devices, says Robert:

“It is however much harder to control devices the company doesn’t own. How do you dictate which applications and services can or can’t be installed, either intentionally or unintentionally? According to Blackberry, the answer is (on the surface at least) remarkably simple: separate them. Instead of having a work phone and a personal phone, get a work/personal phone – the company might even buy it for you.

“Of course it isn’t as simple as that, for RIM to isolate a work device from aggressive malware introduced through personal use would require a level of separation that seems impractical. But any division, particularly password protection and encryption between personal and private uses would be a notable step in the right direction.

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.”

Twitter sentiment analysis

Crimson Hexagon has used its social media analysis platform ForSight to analyse the conversations on Twitter surrounding BlackBerry’s new operating system announcement, the news that it’s dropped the RIM name and the launch of the Q10 / Z10 handsets.

The ForSight platform has almost 200 billion posts stored in its database, and analyses around 300 million new posts per day. A total of 14, 216 relevant Twitter posts were analysed. The findings include:

• 24% of users are of the opinion that BlackBerry is still playing catch up to other mobile devices in the market

• 20% argue they are sceptical over BlackBerry’s future

• 19% say that have no interest in BlackBerry 10 whatsoever

• 18% of Twitter users were sharing news stories relating to BlackBerry

• 13% said the new handsets look impressive

• 4% say they intend to purchase a new BlackBerry handset

• 2% feel they have just copied everyone else

About the author

Dr Magda David Hercheui is the editor of NMK, and senior lecturer at Westminster Business School.


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