10-11-14 04:40 PM
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  1. dbmalloy's Avatar
    Press is getting better

    It's Sexy, But Will The Passport Help BlackBerry Regain Dominance As A Status Symbol? - Forbes

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    BlackBerry: Should You Stay, or Should You Go?

    Bob EganBob Egan
    Contributor

    It's Sexy, But Will The Passport Help BlackBerry Regain Dominance As A Status Symbol?

    Comment Now Follow Comments
    BlackBerrys new Passport is eye-catching. Women call it sexy. Men say its cool. And once they use it, iPhone owners apologetically concede that they only have an iPhone.

    But does that mean BlackBerry is poised to regain a dominant share of the mass handset market?

    Hold that thought. Ill come back to answer that question in a minute.

    I have to admit, when I saw the Passport for the first time a few months ago, I was skeptical. A big, fat, square device? What? Didnt BlackBerry say it was all but getting out of the device business?

    Now, I know better. BlackBerry has several new devices in the design/release queue.

    Granted, the Passport may look like a misfit in a sea of norms, but thats precisely what makes it such an elegant, modern conversation starter. I even conducted an informal experiment to prove it. After I received a Passport to use nearly three weeks ago, I tried it out, and then I shared it with random people so I could hear their opinions, too. In all, I spoke with about 50 people, and the results are shown in Figure 1.

    Figure 1 - People describe BlackBerry's Passport as Sexy and Cool
    Figure 1 People describe BlackBerrys Passport as Sexy and Cool

    Whether I was standing in a TSA line at an airport, or minding my own business during a flight, people near me asked about the Passport. During a recent trip between Boston and Atlanta, Alexander, a Delta flight attendant, actually leaned over the passenger sitting next to me and asked, Hey, is that the new BlackBerry? How do you like it? Mind you, I was actually typing the first draft of this post on my Passport when he interrupted. I handed him the device and told him to try it out for a while. Then there was Sandra, a well-known graphic illustrator and personal friend, who I just happened to run into. What the heck is that? was quickly followed by, This device is damn sexy! Is it really a BlackBerry? Can you get me one?

    Photo Courtesy of: Lucas Atkins from N4BB.com
    Photo Courtesy of: Lucas Atkins from N4BB.com

    One of the most surprising, if not insightful, conversations was the one I had with Brett Belding over dinner. Brett, who is responsible for the management and deployment of some 76K devices in his organization, told me: I get what BlackBerry is doing here. Its good. Its innovative. And its about time. Apple AAPL +0.35%s iPhone democratized the market. Android came out and bottomed the market. BlackBerrys biggest mistake is that they abandoned their core and chased the commoditizing consumer.

    Hes right, of course.

    Before the iPhone was released in 2007, if you were sitting in a meeting or moving through an airport with a BlackBerry in your hand, you were somebody. You were important. You were a person on a mission to get things done, not play games. In fact, even in light of the overwhelming success of the iPhone, BlackBerry continued to grow unit sales for nearly four years after the iPhone was introduced. Theres no question that top to bottom, Apples application and device stack is the most complete. But perhaps therein lies the problem: Apple and Android solutions are good at many things, but great at nothing. Their phones are for the communized masses.

    When someone says, Well, I only carry an Apple, theyre admitting to not feeling special. They dont feel part of the elite culture of the movers or shakers who once carried a BlackBerry.

    So rather than ask if BlackBerry can regain its dominance of the handset market, perhaps the better question to ask is this: Can BlackBerry regain its dominance as a status symbol?

    Possibly.

    But, the company has to clear a few hurdles.

    First, lets face it, BlackBerry has a long way to go especially in the handset business. The BlackBerry graveyard is littered with plenty of evidence of past efforts: the underpowered I can be like Apple Z10, the remember when nostalgic Q10, the I can be like Android Z3 and the list goes on and on. Even BlackBerrys Z30, which I regard as a very good device, was a marketing disaster. These and other missteps are why BlackBerry finds itself facing so many challenges today.

    Second, BlackBerrys app strategy is full of holes. The Passport natively supports both BlackBerry World and Amazons App store, and thats two weak stores too many. And with OS version 3.1 you can even slideload the Google GOOGL -2.18% Play store with an application called Snap. BlackBerry needs to kill its BB World and Amazon stores as they exist and strike a deal with Google. If it doesnt, no one will care that Passports (or future devices) have the critical items for executive users or brand affinity buyers (e.g. Porsche ). The perception will linger that BlackBerry is not the premium supplier.

    Of course, as we all know, past performance is no guarantee of future results and in the case of BlackBerry, lets hope thats true. After all, the past disappointments around handsets have overshadowed the positive steps BlackBerry has taken with other products, in infrastructure and organizationally.

    In one year, Blackberrys new executive team has rescued the company from deaths doorstep and eliminated crucial business risk for its customers and business risk, not technology risk, has been BlackBerrys Achilles heel. Perhaps the most significant evidence for the progreis the visibility to BlackBerrys most recent quarter, where 3.4 million licenses were issued for BES 10, almost tripling the 1.2 millions licenses in the prior quarter. Some dismissed this progress due to BlackBerrys essential license trade-up giveaway owed to EZPass, but its worth noting that CIOs and IT Management are smart enough to know that even if something is free, its still too expensive if its bad. EZPass converts made good choices for good reasons.

    Its time the industry starts thinking about BlackBerry as a software and infrastructure company which also happens to makes handsets that cater to an elite market. Citrix, VMware VMW -1.95%, IBM, Microsoft, Cisco and Extreme Networks are its primary competitors, not MobileIron, Good Technology or SOTI.

    BlackBerry may not be back yet, but I do think the company is finding its escape velocity. Now, the company must stay focused and execute. Company acquisitions and BlackBerrys November release of its BES 12 network appliance should help carry the momentum.

    And lets not underestimate the cool factor. Based on my own research, people want the Passport because its different from the Apple norm weve been seeing since the first iPhone was introduced seven years ago. It has cool and Im important written all over it. If BlackBerry can succeed in bringing sexy back, the Passport and perhaps BlackBerry has a real shot at becoming the new status symbol for a population desperately looking for something new.

    Bob Egan is a veteran market analyst, executive advisor and founder of the Sepharim Group. Bob can be contacted directly at bob@sepharim.com or by calling 508-444-2600.
    10-10-14 03:48 PM
  2. Bluenoser63's Avatar
    10-10-14 04:03 PM
  3. serbanescu's Avatar
    Yes, it is!
    10-10-14 04:08 PM
  4. zocster's Avatar
    Interesting coming from forbes

    Sent from my Q10 using Tapatalk
    10-10-14 04:09 PM
  5. spikesolie's Avatar
    Isn't that ironic. First week it was ugly now it's sexy? Guess it's true. New factor takes some time to get used to

    Posted from zee flicking coolest smartphone evah!
    Nayalm and jojo beaconsfield like this.
    10-10-14 04:19 PM
  6. sk8er_tor's Avatar
    The graph that's missing in case anyone can't click on the link:

    It's Sexy, But Will The Passport Help BlackBerry Regain Dominance As A Status Symbol?....-capture.jpg
    10-10-14 04:25 PM
  7. Gearheadaddy's Avatar
    Good post, but you have one really bad idea...Blackberry and Google have opposite goals. BlackBerry protects your data and information. Google sells your data amd information to anyone and everyone.
    Let's NOT strike ANY deals with Google...we don't need their apps that bad to compromise security.

    Crackberry Genius on Verizon 10.3.1.632
    10-10-14 04:30 PM
  8. zocster's Avatar
    Ok threads merged! Good to see some positives.
    10-10-14 04:31 PM
  9. ghostface147's Avatar
    The answer is no. Blackberry decided to pull out of the consumer market and focus on enterprise, who are moving on from their platforms. They have their hardcore buyers in the enterprise world and on here, but it is enough to make them dominant again? The answer is a resounding no. People have voted with their wallets and BB isn't getting chosen....at least not in large markets like the US.
    10-10-14 04:33 PM
  10. scrapmetal58's Avatar
    Good article. I think he dismisses BlackBerry World and Amazon App Store a bit too easily, though. If the Passport is a success, it may help get more apps on BlackBerry. It's too early to tell. I think the chances of BlackBerry striking a deal with Google are pretty slim.

    Posted via CB10
    10-11-14 02:33 AM
  11. SK122387's Avatar
    The answer is no. Blackberry decided to pull out of the consumer market and focus on enterprise, who are moving on from their platforms. They have their hardcore buyers in the enterprise world and on here, but it is enough to make them dominant again? The answer is a resounding no. People have voted with their wallets and BB isn't getting chosen....at least not in large markets like the US.
    The Passport sold out on Shop BlackBerry (U.S., I might add) and Amazon (also in the U.S.) in a day, was restocked on Shop BlackBerry and sold out again. People are speaking differently with their wallets about the Passport. That's undeniable at this point.

    Their dominance will probably never return, but that doesn't mean BlackBerry can't be a status symbol. Most status symbols don't saturate the market anyways. If it's commonplace, it's usually not a status symbol.
    spikesolie and thymaster like this.
    10-11-14 02:39 AM
  12. NaijaBerry's Avatar
    Finally some PR presence, excellent! This article really highlights where BlackBerry missed it, they really should have stuck with the niche thing which is where we're back at right now.....moral of the story, stick with what you know how to do and keep doing it extremely well. There's a very blurry line between iOS and Android in terms of functions, blackberries remain the only truly different OS, Windows is too much like a pc. Different might not be popular, but it is sustainable and can be profitable. I have iOS, Android and a blackberry, still love my BlackBerry above all the rest. Come on passport where are ya!
    Northernlady01 likes this.
    10-11-14 03:01 AM
  13. marzfreerider's Avatar
    I couldn't agree more, I don't want anything to do with google. I like my privacy and security.
    will308 and thymaster like this.
    10-11-14 03:04 AM
  14. Nayalm's Avatar
    Quote Bob Egan:
    ( The BlackBerry graveyard is littered with plenty of evidence of past efforts: the underpowered “I can be like Apple” Z10, the “remember when” nostalgic Q10, the “I can be like Android” Z3… and the list goes on and on )
    I dropped a lung out laughing and probably died and haunting my laptop just to reply XD
    10-11-14 03:11 AM
  15. thymaster's Avatar
    I don't care what everyone thinks but I'm getting one the minute there are stocks.
    10-11-14 04:03 AM
  16. guygardner73's Avatar
    Isn't that ironic. First week it was ugly now it's sexy? Guess it's true. New factor takes some time to get used to

    Posted from zee flicking coolest smartphone evah!
    True! I think that's a solid article. Kudos.

    PassportSQW100-1/10.3.0.1052 O2 UK
    10-11-14 04:03 AM
  17. thymaster's Avatar
    The answer is no. Blackberry decided to pull out of the consumer market and focus on enterprise, who are moving on from their platforms. They have their hardcore buyers in the enterprise world and on here, but it is enough to make them dominant again? The answer is a resounding no. People have voted with their wallets and BB isn't getting chosen....at least not in large markets like the US.
    So negative.
    SK122387 and spikesolie like this.
    10-11-14 04:15 AM
  18. scootnyinzer's Avatar
    The status symbol angle is possible. By making the Passport a premium quality device sold unlocked with lack of carrier support, they have effectively kept it out of the hands of the unwashed masses.

    JC says, play your little games on your iPhone, that's not what we are about. Our phone is for very serious, important people doing important things of consequence.

    Reposition BlackBerry as the phone with 1% market share for the top 1%.

    Passports for top managers, classics for mid-level managers, iPhones for the sales people and Android for the grunts. It's BRILLIANT and I'm not accustom to BlackBerry making brilliant moves.

    As for me, I'm just a geeky contrarian with $600 to spend on something I will get a lot of enjoyment out of.


    Posted via CB10
    10-11-14 05:14 AM
  19. coopersloat's Avatar
    The status symbol angle is possible. By making the Passport a premium quality device sold unlocked with lack of carrier support, they have effectively kept it out of the hands of the unwashed masses.

    JC says, play your little games on your iPhone, that's not what we are about. Our phone is for very serious, important people doing important things of consequence.

    Reposition BlackBerry as the phone with 1% market share for the top 1%.

    Passports for top managers, classics for mid-level managers, iPhones for the sales people and Android for the grunts. It's BRILLIANT and I'm not accustom to BlackBerry making brilliant moves.

    As for me, I'm just a geeky contrarian with $600 to spend on something I will get a lot of enjoyment out of.


    Posted via CB10
    I'm a geek, too, and I can't wait to get my Passport and lord it over the rest.
    10-11-14 05:21 AM
  20. sandman10's Avatar
    Wow, thats was quite impressive. well researched and well written article. Without the usual sarcastic "BB is dead tone."

    I disagree with the "Apple and Android excel at nothing" comment. The Apple has outstanding multimedia and app capabilities. Better than Android.
    10-11-14 05:30 AM
  21. world traveler and former ceo's Avatar
    It's Sexy, But Will The Passport Help BlackBerry Regain Dominance As A Status Symbol?....-fullsizerender-1-.jpg
    Yeah..sexy and VERY cool, indeed!

    Posted via CB10
    jojo beaconsfield likes this.
    10-11-14 06:32 AM
  22. anon(870071)'s Avatar
    Yes totally sexxy!!! I really think it's amazing also how good things look on the screen and due to the cascades feature you can organize adds to the visual appeal.

    Posted via Passport OS 10.3.0.908/Rogers Wireless
    jojo beaconsfield likes this.
    10-11-14 08:05 AM
  23. spikesolie's Avatar
    I think especially in the us here where people don't usually buy unlocked, it's forcing people to concede that if people do indeed carry the passport, it must be because it's a damn good phone..

    I mean with no subsidiary, one must love the phone enough to dump 600 on it right? That's where the status comes in. Only people that believe and understand it have it

    Posted from zee flicking coolest smartphone evah!
    jojo beaconsfield likes this.
    10-11-14 09:19 AM
  24. engrbugs's Avatar
    Now all the tech site--such as phone arena, engadget, slashgear, digital, cnet, and etc.--who reviewed down our beloved passport will eat their words when forbes review got released!





    They are being paid by apple and samsung PR manager to put-down their review!


    Sent from my lumia using Tapatalk
    Last edited by engrbugs; 10-11-14 at 12:07 PM.
    Nayalm and thymaster like this.
    10-11-14 09:52 AM
  25. THBW's Avatar
    Yes, I thought the article was forthright, honest and rational. Didn't agree with all of it. I think Blackberry needs to be very, very cautious dealing with Google. They just rape and pillage your privacy; it is so anti-blackberry. Keep the door open to Amazon and the Android App Store and as sales rise, developers will come back to Blackberry World.
    10-11-14 01:31 PM
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