The Soapbox: New BlackBerry a step, not a solution

Justin Crann
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Company must get back to innovation

Denny Bolster, manager of the Source in Town 'n' Country Mall, demonstrates some of the functionality of the new BlackBerry Z10 smartphone. The phone went on sale Tuesday.

BlackBerry — the smartphone maker formerly known as Research In Motion — has delivered as close to a coup with the release of it’s new line of devices as a company in decline could expect.

“In Canada, (Feb. 5) was the best day ever for the first day of a launch of a new BlackBerry smartphone. In fact, it was more than 50 per cent better than any other launch day in our history,” said Thorsten Heins, president and CEO of the corporation, in a release.

The release of the Z10 — BlackBerry’s new, touch-based response to the iPhone and Android devices that have so thoroughly dominated the market for some time — was seen as an odd move by many, because it shuns the traditional keypad devices the company has put out in the past.

But the model sold, and it sold well: Bell, Rogers, and Telus all reported high pre-order and first day sales numbers, with Bell claiming that the Z10 had outsold all other BlackBerry devices it carried in just the month-long pre-order cycle.

But what is more impressive is that BlackBerry managed to move those devices quietly. There were no line-ups.

There was no Apple-style, “revolutionary” reveal. The release was plain, simple, efficient — in short, everything a good businessperson would desire in a product.

To be fair, at least part of BlackBerry’s resurgence has to be attributed to the gradual decline of the Apple brand.

The Cupertino-based smartphone giant sorely misses it’s former CEO and buzz-generating genius, Steve Jobs. But the momentum BlackBerry has built with its Z10 is good.

Sadly, “good” is not enough to fully ressurrect a company that was, at one time, the top dog in the smartphone market.

What enabled BlackBerry to achieve such a feat was its willingness to take leaps and lead in innovation.

The smartphone was its darling, its messenger service was one-of-a-kind, and its initial devices introduced professionals to a level of mobile productivity that, at the time, was unprecedented.But then, the company decided to rest on it’s laurels, and cherrypick from the new ideas of it’s competitors, making it a sad imitator instead of a trailblazing innovator.

The Z10 device — and it’s pending keypad-sporting partner, the Q10, to be released in April — brings BlackBerry back on par with it’s competitors. It’s a step forward.

But now, Heins and his host of developers, designers and software programmers will have to keep moving — and quickly — to get the next generation product on the stands.If they fail to do so, BlackBerry will again fall to the back of the pack.

And BlackBerry can’t count on it’s competitors making the same mistake again.

Organizations: Research In Motion, Apple, Telus

Geographic location: Canada

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Recent comments

  • Mike
    February 08, 2013 - 21:33

    Why is there no mention of the potential that QNX brings to BB as a company and their products?