Will This Strategy Help Research in Motion or is it Proof of Desperation?
In a highly anticipated launch, Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) had a few surprises during its release of BlackBerry 10. Oddly enough, the most surprising announcement didn’t have anything to do with its new smartphone, but rather that RIM will officially change its name to BlackBerry.
The name change comes in an effort to shed RIM’s association with lackluster performance, and also to help promote the device that will make or break the company.
“BlackBerry is how we’re known pretty much everywhere across the world other than North America, so we have an iconic global brand and when you have such a powerful brand, you want to make it central,” said Frank Boulben, BlackBerry’s chief marketing officer.
Changes in the BlackBerry 10 itself are numerous and should provide enough incentive for current BlackBerry users to, at the very least, give it a shot.
Two different versions of Blackberry 10 will be offered, with the Z10 handset utilizing an all-touch screen and the Q10 offering a keyboard that many current BlackBerry users requested.
Possibly the most significant addition is a feature called…
“BlackBerry Balance,” which allows users to have one set of apps and settings while at work and another, completely different set when they’re at home. The idea is that users can keep their office time free from distracting apps such as Angry Birds, while sheltering their private life from office emails, etc.
Additionally BlackBerry Messenger returns with an added twist: there will be a FaceTime-esque opportunity for users to video chat. This innovation, along with over 70,000 apps that will go live with BlackBerry 10’s release in March, illustrates BlackBerry’s commitment to keeping pace with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung’s superior features in their own smartphones.
But will it be enough?
The initial period directly after its release will be telling in how BlackBerry fares in the smartphone market. If it is a flop, BlackBerry has spent too much time, energy and money on the device to have any chance at redemption. If BlackBerry’s current customers seem intrigued enough to sign on for the new phone, BlackBerry will have done a lot towards steadying its free fall.
One thing is certain, though. Its commitment to producing apps and revamping the technologies offered by a BlackBerry are a significant bump from the abysmal and outdated features in BlackBerry’s past.
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