The new BB10 operating system has been greeted warmly but faces a challenge if it is to cut into the consumer market.
Industry analysts were uniformly positive about the features of BlackBerry's new operating system, singling out the large base of launch apps, the keyboard and browser. Adam Leach, principal analyst at Ovum, said: 'BlackBerry has rightly focused on insuring that the BlackBerry 10 devices have a large catalogue of content and applications which is now essential for any modern smartphone, and achieving 70,000 applications at the launch of a new platform is a good start.'
However, it was stressed that the launch of BB10 represents the last throw of the dice for BlackBerry, with the business steadily losing market share during the past few years. Francisco Jeronimo at IDC said: 'This is D-Day for [BlackBerry]. The company has no other major options; if it doesn't succeed with the new platform, there are no alternatives on the hardware of software sides. The future will then be dependent on a new corporate strategy, from strategic alliances to licensing, and so on. While other companies have the option to adopt a new operating system, for BlackBerry that is not possible. The time and investment required to migrate the entire services to a new and unproven OS would make the task almost impossible. For BlackBerry there is no plan B available.'
Shaun Collins at CCS Insight said the initial signs were 'promising' for BlackBerry. He said: 'The bigger challenge is likely to come after the initial wave of demand is fulfilled. It must convince Android and iOS users to either return to BlackBerry or make a brave decision to leave an environment in which many will have made substantial investments. This emphasises the importance of a strong application and content message with BlackBerry 10.'
Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms and Media, said while its appeal to enterprise customers is clear, given the high security and ability to switch to consumer apps with its Balance feature, it had more of a challenge with consumers used to Android and iOS. He said: 'No doubt it will be challenging for BlackBerry to push the new device to consumers in retail stores. Sales representatives often prefer to sell as many phones as quickly as possible, preferably the ones that don't require too much effort in educating the consumer. This happens each time a new platform is introduced to the market. For example, the shipments of iPhone, Android and Windows Phone devices did not exceed 1.1 million, 0.8 million and 0.9 million respectively, in the first three months after they launched.' He added anything less than one million BB10 sales would 'call into question' BlackBerry's strategy.
Author: Graeme Neill