Technology Journalist and Copywriter

Kate O'Flaherty


Welcome to my blog, featuring industry musings and opinions on the latest products

By kateoflaherty, Jan 31 2013 10:46AM

When RIM announced it would now be known as its smartphone brand 'BlackBerry', the obvious response was, so what? The average customer won't know the difference.

It is time the Canadian firm defined its audience. Once a business staple, the BlackBerry was aimed at consumers a few years ago and things started to go wrong. What was once respected as a business handset with convenient access to email became the phone of chavs. The London Riots didn't do the company any good either, when those involved reportedly used its BBM software to communicate.

BlackBerry also suffered a network outage around that time - and the downward spiral began from which it is still to recover.

When BlackBerry 10 launched alongside two smartphones - the Z10 and Q10 - yesterday, it appeared the firm is aiming at both business and consumer users, or specifically, the dual requirement for business handset capable of both work and leisure. BlackBerry has even kept the QWERTY keyboard on one of the new handsets, the Q10.

But the move hasn't done much for the ailing firm so far, with shares dropping by 12% when it announced the new OS and handsets.

Perhaps it just wasn't dramatic enough. The work/leisure partition which exists within the software is certainly a novel idea, but you have to wonder whether there is really a need for it. Android is capable of similar partitioning and is already a favourite inside many businesses.

On the other hand, maybe the firm has got it right this time, once again targeting a market it understands. That's something a name change alone won't solve.

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