04-03-14 10:15 AM
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  1. kthhrrsn's Avatar
    BlackBerry CEO: we're readying another flagship to win over new customers

    By Roger Cheng | February 27, 2014
    John Chen was at a recent charity event when an announcer unexpectedly called out his name and introduced him as the man who was taking over BlackBerry.

    BlackBerry CEO John Chen at a Mobile World Congress press conference.
    (Credit: Brian Bennett/CNET)

    Almost immediately, several attendees pulled their BlackBerry Bolds and began holding them up. At that point, he realised he couldn't keep sitting, and stood up and said a few words of encouragement and to keep the faith.

    "There are some moments that are really great," Chen told CNET in an interview. "This is why there's quite a bit of good chance for us to turn this thing around."

    It will take the entire BlackBerry faithful ? and then some ? for the embattled company to turn itself around. The company took the first steps on Tuesday, introducing two new smartphones in the form of the budget-friendly BlackBerry Z3, which will retail for less than US$200 and launch in April, and the "classic" BlackBerry Q20, which isn't expected to hit the market until closer to the end of the year.

    Chen teased more flagship phones to come in a press conference, but in a later interview with CNET, he offered a few more details. While the Q20 is the BlackBerry for its hardcore user base, the other flagship BlackBerry is intended to win over new customers. And there's a strong chance it will launch this year, although he said he couldn't guarantee it.

    Sound familiar? Former BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins teased a year-end flagship to CNET almost a year ago, and that ended up being the BlackBerry Z30, a phablet that was quietly sold by Verizon Wireless and disappeared with few people noticing.

    But Chen isn't Heins. BlackBerry's new CEO is a spitfire, quick with the jokes, and brutally honest ? often to the dismay and horror of his PR handlers. He's also not afraid to take on T-Mobile CEO John Legere, CNET's most dangerous man in wireless.

    Chen was his typically candid self in an interview with CNET, and managed to cover a wide range of topics.

    Chen has said that his priority is to lock up the base of BlackBerry faithful. But that has meant creating a phone that longtime Bold-lovers will enjoy. As it turns out, simply throwing a keyboard on top of a BlackBerry 10 device isn't enough.

    So with the Q20, BlackBerry was bringing back the physical call, end call, menu, and back buttons, as well as a track pad. The updated BlackBerry 10 software will also include touches from the original BlackBerry software, including how the e-mail is handled, and the cut-and-paste function. The screen size will also be enlarged to 3.5 inches from 2.9 inches, he said.

    Those little improvements should make for a better transition for customers still clinging to their old BlackBerrys, he said. With such a phone, those customers can start working right away, and slowly learn the gesture controls and other bells and whistles of BlackBerry 10, he added.

    But for these BlackBerrys to have a chance to sell, they'll need distribution. At the press conference, Chen alluded to his strengthening partnership with "two major US carriers," a not-so veiled reference to AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

    Chen elaborated further, noting that he had already talked to at least one of the carriers about the Q20, which was met with enthusiasm.

    "I'll be surprised if they don't want it," Chen said. "I'll work hard to get them to want it."

    A closer shot of the Blackberry Z3 at MWC 2014.
    (Credit: Brian Bennett/CNET)

    Chen said that one of the biggest mistakes of the previous regime was the inability to educate the market about the benefits of the BlackBerry 10. The company had a number of commercials and ads showing some of the features, as well as a high profile, but perplexing, Super Bowl commercial, but nothing was effective.

    Chen said he wasn't simply giving his phones to the carriers for sale to consumers. He said he would back the launches up with marketing dollars and hoped the carriers would provide additional support.

    Without an educated sales force, consumers are left with the pure out-of-the-box experience, and Chen concedes it is complicated to start using the phone, particularly for a longtime BlackBerry user. Chen said that with the new BlackBerrys, he focused on the "out of the box" experience, and thinks about the opening minutes that a person has with one of his devices.

    "It's really about listening to the customer," he said.

    While that may win over some hardcore users, the questions are still up in the air whether any new customers would support BlackBerry.

    Chen reiterated that he was attempting to stabilize the company and its financial condition, and that remained his priority. Ultimately, even with a saviour phone, it's all about being financially strong.

    "Even if I get the iPhone, if they know I'm about to go out of business, they won't buy the iPhone from me," he said.

    Lastly, Chen weighed in on the T-Mobile squabble, in which T-Mobile specifically targeted BlackBerry users in a promotion to switch. BlackBerry fans were quick to criticize Legere, and Chen added his own thoughts in a response.

    While the two sides have made up (Chen says their respective chief marketing officers are talking), Chen and Legere haven't met yet. Chen isn't too worried.

    "I guess after he and I connect on MySpace we'll be fine," he said.

    Via CNET.com

    Keith H. Posted by CB10 from my Z10.
    02-26-14 09:00 PM
  2. donmateo's Avatar
    02-26-14 09:02 PM
  3. BURZIN's Avatar
    Sir I am a die hard fan of BlackBerry.
    All I want to say is if u keep bringing in newer models were sure to rock again.
    Congratulations sir were sure to rock one day soon REAL soon.

    Posted via CB10
    02-27-14 03:04 AM
  4. sixpacker's Avatar
    May I suggest it's pointless developing new devices if you aren't going to market them.
    Did anyone ask Chen why he decided not to market the z30?
    TGR1, rcab and JeepBB like this.
    03-02-14 01:26 PM
  5. altrax's Avatar
    The Z30 was a done deal already when chen came on board. It wasn't his baby to market.

    If he had started throwing money at the previous regimes failed launch it would have looked like he didn't have any better ideas and the Z30 was a make or break device, Instead what's he's done is moved forward. Now if the Q20 (and to a lesser extent the Z3) launch without marketing dollars behind them then it will be Chen's fault. I think he has learned from the mistake of previous management (and a lot of BlackBerry faithful) that all they had to do was deliver the BlackBerry 10 devices and people would come back in droves.

    Posted via CB10
    needforbbx likes this.
    03-02-14 03:56 PM
  6. donmateo's Avatar
    He's already stated that he will put extensive marketing into new devices. Excited to see what comes.
    03-02-14 04:00 PM
  7. sixpacker's Avatar
    The Z30 was a done deal already when chen came on board. It wasn't his baby to market.

    If he had started throwing money at the previous regimes failed launch it would have looked like he didn't have any better ideas and the Z30 was a make or break device, Instead what's he's done is moved forward. Now if the Q20 (and to a lesser extent the Z3) launch without marketing dollars behind them then it will be Chen's fault. I think he has learned from the mistake of previous management (and a lot of BlackBerry faithful) that all they had to do was deliver the BlackBerry 10 devices and people would come back in droves.

    Posted via CB10
    When he took the job the z30 became his responsibility, had only just been launched, and was (and still is) the flagship device. Everyone says how great it is, why couldn't it be marketed to success? As important, it was/is a means to bolster the blackberry brand. It doesn't matter who's baby it was.
    03-02-14 04:05 PM
  8. donmateo's Avatar
    When he took the job the z30 became his responsibility, had only just been launched, and was (and still is) the flagship device. Everyone says how great it is, why couldn't it be marketed to success? As important, it was/is a means to bolster the blackberry brand. It doesn't matter who's baby it was.
    I'm sure an average spec phone with extremely limited availability is at the bottom of the marketing to do list, much less overall to do. That's just the way it is. Hopefully the next devices will be effectively marketed.
    Last edited by donmateo; 03-02-14 at 07:19 PM.
    03-02-14 04:21 PM
  9. alternator77's Avatar
    May I suggest it's pointless developing new devices if you aren't going to market them.
    Did anyone ask Chen why he decided not to market the z30?
    One did you even read the post???
    He wasn't CEO When the z30 was launched...
    And he did say they will be putting marketing dollars behind any future launches.

    Posted via CB10
    03-02-14 06:40 PM
  10. Rello's Avatar
    We will see what happens.

    Thor said he wad excited for the next touch device and it ended up being the Z30, which I don't consider all that exciting as its not a big keep from the Z10 in my opinion. I hope this device really does wow people....and is actually available on all carriers

    Posted via CB10
    03-02-14 06:53 PM
  11. LuvULongTime's Avatar
    Hardware is not going to wow people as much as an improved OS and app selection will. They need to ensure BB10 is on par with BBOS (at least) from a features perspective. They also need to ensure they have another Android app store preloaded on the device. And lastly they need to ensure all devices they send out to reviewers have all the popular apps pre-intalled. This will go a long way towards getting a favourable review and setting a positive tone with consumers. The HW doesn't need to be high end as long as the price reflects it. The bigges sin blackberry has comitted is selling midrange HW at high end pricing. Coupled with missing legacy features at launch and lack of apps it's no wonder the Q10 and Z10 were spectacular failures.
    bbq10l and Tre Lawrence like this.
    03-02-14 08:58 PM
  12. sixpacker's Avatar
    One did you even read the post???
    He wasn't CEO When the z30 was launched...
    And he did say they will be putting marketing dollars behind any future launches.

    Posted via CB10
    Haha. Yes read it, you didn't read mine above though.
    Is the z30 really that bad he didn't think it warranted any marketing, even though it wasn't his baby?
    Be a lot tougher to market a new launch in q4 if you don't promote your current flagship and protect your brand.
    03-03-14 05:04 AM
  13. qwerty4ever's Avatar
    How many times can BlackBerry announce yet another "flagship" smartphone? I keep hearing about consumer-oriented phablet_style BlackBerry smartphones instead of enterprise-oriented smartphones. If you want a phablet buy a Samsung Note 3 or an Apple iPhone 5.

    BlackBerry cannot win the "Spec War" as evidenced by their refusal to include 4 GB RAM and 32 GB system memory as the standard for BlackBerry 10 smartphones. Why can't they implement wireless bands in software rather than using separate chipsets depending on the submodel?

    Posted via the BlackBerry Q5 using CB10.
    kevinnugent likes this.
    03-03-14 06:11 AM
  14. sixpacker's Avatar
    Why can't they implement wireless bands in software rather than using separate chipsets depending on the submodel?

    Posted via the BlackBerry Q5 using CB10.
    Well, cost obviously. They aren't going to fit an expensive part that isn't used.
    03-03-14 06:22 AM
  15. pgg101's Avatar
    Cool. When I installed Viber on my 9800, I only had 2 friends on it, and they were already on Whatsapp.

    I'm not installing apps that uploads my phone book to a foreign server. Pass.

    Posted via CB10 - Z30STA100-5/10.2.1.1925
    03-03-14 06:28 AM
  16. alternator77's Avatar
    How many times can BlackBerry announce yet another "flagship" smartphone? I keep hearing about consumer-oriented phablet_style BlackBerry smartphones instead of enterprise-oriented smartphones. If you want a phablet buy a Samsung Note 3 or an Apple iPhone 5.

    BlackBerry cannot win the "Spec War" as evidenced by their refusal to include 4 GB RAM and 32 GB system memory as the standard for BlackBerry 10 smartphones. Why can't they implement wireless bands in software rather than using separate chipsets depending on the submodel?

    Posted via the BlackBerry Q5 using CB10.
    You did not just call the ip5 a phablet....

    Posted via CB10
    03-03-14 09:15 AM
  17. wincyUt's Avatar
    Thanks OP for sharing. Very interesting.

    Posted via CB10
    03-03-14 02:04 PM
  18. szlevi's Avatar
    "MySpace" - huh? Was that a (crappy) joke...? I sincerely hope so...

    Sent from my C6833 using CB Forums mobile app
    03-03-14 03:31 PM
  19. sayf777's Avatar
    "MySpace" - huh? Was that a (crappy) joke...? I sincerely hope so...

    Sent from my C6833 using CB Forums mobile app
    Yip it was, 4gt the story behind it.

    Posted via CB10
    leojzueg likes this.
    03-03-14 05:07 PM
  20. Tank1978's Avatar
    How many times can BlackBerry announce yet another "flagship" smartphone? I keep hearing about consumer-oriented phablet_style BlackBerry smartphones instead of enterprise-oriented smartphones. If you want a phablet buy a Samsung Note 3 or an Apple iPhone 5.

    BlackBerry cannot win the "Spec War" as evidenced by their refusal to include 4 GB RAM and 32 GB system memory as the standard for BlackBerry 10 smartphones. Why can't they implement wireless bands in software rather than using separate chipsets depending on the submodel?

    Posted via the BlackBerry Q5 using CB10.
    Lol, how is an iphone 5 even close to a phablet??

    From my Q10
    03-03-14 08:29 PM
  21. rcab's Avatar
    I hope Blackberry will in the future release flagship units selling them direct beside offering them to carriers. The Z 30 basically was never really released across carriers in the U.S. Now Best Buy has one online for $750 which is too expensive for a phone that has been out for so many months. Maybe this would have been an acceptable price back on launch day. Now they need to offer it on direct sales with a discounted price. Look at the history of the Playbook and the Z10 both released with higher prices that eventually were reduced. Until the U.S. carriers put actions behind their words of "supporting Blackberry" no future flagship unit will be a winner if they wait for carriers to jump aboard.
    03-03-14 10:28 PM
  22. bbmme's Avatar
    Give me something extreme and $$$$$$ haha

    Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!
    03-03-14 11:29 PM
  23. qwerty4ever's Avatar
    You did not just call the ip5 a phablet....

    Posted via CB10
    If I did it was unintentional. On second thought...if the shoe fits. ;-)

    Posted via the BlackBerry Q5 using CB10.
    03-03-14 11:33 PM
  24. JonCBK's Avatar
    Price for Z30 is still high in the US. And it is very confusing which model to get to get LTE to work on your carrier. Not to mention that one might want to change carrier down the road.

    Posted via CB10
    03-06-14 05:41 AM
  25. Wiki Cydia's Avatar
    If I did it was unintentional. On second thought...if the shoe fits. ;-)
    I think the objection was raised because in this case the "shoe" doesn't fit.
    pantlesspenguin likes this.
    03-06-14 07:12 AM
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