I've recently stumbled upon CrackBerry's interview with BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins, and I have to admit, I'm pleased with the Waterloo-based company's perspective. Heins was asked a series of questions by Kevin Michaluk ranging from BlackBerry's unique OS experience, to which device Heins pockets. Each question was answered with uncanny optimism, something I admire of the underdog.
What I've taken away from BlackBerry's position in the U.S. market is the company is resuming where it left off in 2008 when it was a viable contender. I believe that the industry ultimately benefits from increased competition and that it is better off with BlackBerry around. While BlackBerry is a clear underdog in the arena, I've found the company at Heins' reign hard to ignore.
To put it simply, it would be unwise to write off any company with as much brand loyalty and recognition as BlackBerry
. Any company reentering a market with two new devices, and a unique operating system will not go unnoticed, and has got to be unnerving for the current number three, Microsoft's Windows Phone OS. I feel that nothing can be taken for granted in this market. I have criticized each mobile operating system in an equal amount, and I've decided to change that pattern by highlighting what BlackBerry can build upon.
Here's what we know: BlackBerry is launching the Q10 and Z10 in the U.S. on three of the four major carriers stateside, with Sprint being the odd one out only receiving the Q10. Carriers have every reason to welcome a device with as much history as the BlackBerry brand as any other new Android handset.
One advantage of BlackBerry in the current state of the mobile market is that there is no clear benchmark in the smartphone arena.
There are operating systems which are more successful than others, but a single device can no longer be referred to as the face of the industry.
This is a debate surely to ruffle some feathers, but that doesn't mean we can't begin to pluck away at the competition. Let's start with what we know. The iPhone was (read: was) the most widely successful touchscreen smartphone. A few years later, the HTC EVO 4G was the penultimate Android device, if only for a brief instant. Then came a few other Android handsets from Samsung's famed Galaxy S series which are turning into the face of Google's Android, and fast. Lastly, you arrive at Nokia's Lumia series which Microsoft considers the best of their Windows Phone operating system.
Thorsten Heins, CEO of BlackBerry, aptly mentions in his interview with CrackBerry that the iPhone is no longer the benchmark. "We have a more than competitive product." He goes on to say that we are no "copycat of Apple," and that we don't want to be compared to Apple. He concludes by saying "we want a user experience that really talks to our audience (and not Apple's)."
This is really the epitome of what BlackBerry means and why their argument is valid; they are their own company in a sea of phones with no clear benchmark
. With a few software updates and new devices, BB10 OS is more than capable of capitalizing on its advantages: a unique gesture-based UI, Enterprise security, and one of the most loyal fan bases in the industry. Another pillar BlackBerry can capitalize on is the fad of creating a unified experience across smartphone, tablet, and desktop.
In an interview with ABC News, Heins said "to me, this is not just the next smartphone. This has the power of a laptop. This is not just a smartphone anymore. This is your personal computing power." He also confirmed the company is testing BlackBerry phone-powered tablets and laptops.
No mobile operating system has been able to successfully market this approach. Both Android and iOS have released similar user experiences for smartphones and tablets, but neither with a unified experience which converges and builds upon each other. The closest device to converge the tablet and smartphone experience is Asus' Padfone line. The Padfone merges Asus' customized Android operating system with their tablet to reproduce a full-scale experience.
However, the experience has no kin in the marketplace. BlackBerry is aiming to capitalize on the belief that we carry around too many devices with overlapping uses. By condensing them down to the smartphone itself, users can maximize productivity.
The only operating system to throw a punch at unifying the smartphone, tablet, and desktop computer experience is Ubuntu. Their website refers to Ubuntu as "one platform for all screens" with over 8 years of evolution and maturity gained along the way. The only issue is, Ubuntu is not available yet.
In summary, BlackBerry is twisting competition into its own ammunition by highlighting that there is no clear benchmark productivity device in the market. And I'm inclined to side with Heins and BlackBerry's bid to regain market share beginning with the number three spot in the U.S. market.
I'm interested to hear what you think of Thorsten Heins' perspecitve of the market. Is there a clear benchmark in the mobile arena? Does there need to be one? What do you think of an all-in-one productivity device with Enterprise level security?