About 3 or so years ago, the Blackberry Smartphone was hot property in the mobile market and for a period of time, devices such as the Blackberry Bold and Curve were dominant across a number of demographics including business professionals & teenagers.
But with the ever increasing growth of Apple’s IPhone and Android devices, RIM and Blackberry have struggled to compete and as a result have progressively lost a huge chunk of their customer base which at one point remained strong.
If you want a quick statistic on this issue, its market share has fallen to 6.7% in the first quarter of 2012, almost half of what it was this time last last year.
As you probably well know, the cherry on the cake came last October, when a major technical fault caused Blackberry users from all over Europe to lose connectivity with core Blackberry features such as BBM, Blackberry App World and web browser applications.
As a result of this, both CEO’s Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis eventually stepped down, leaving RIM and leaving company wondering what was next.
As a previous Blackberry user, I was incredibly frustrated with the lack of service that was being offered, not just from the aftermath of the infamous blackout, but with the functionality of the device itself and how it was compared to the features available on the iPhone, which a lot of my friends were currently using.
Eventually, enough was enough and I switched to devices and went with the iPhone, the choice being technically one of the best decisions I ever made, as I really get the most out of the IOS operating system, but that’s a different story.
The question is how can RIM respond and possibly compete in such a competitive market? Their answer, the Blackberry 10 (Dev Alpha), recently revealed this week to app developers only and consists of a 4.2 inch screen but had only been released for developers to test the functionality, applications and operating system.
To get a better idea of how the Blackberry shapes up, check out the new video here:
As you’ll be able to see from the video, first impressions are that it looks almost, if not virtually identical to the iPhone model. Perhaps developing a similar shape is the only way in which RIM believed they could compete with its rivals.
The new smoother interface, touch screen function and shape clearly shows that RIM wanted to base the development of this new look on the success of the iPhone.
But is it too late? That’s what I believe is the underlying issue with this new approach from RIM. Although they’ve invested heavily in new software, with functions such as multi-tasking, enhanced application settings, cleaner presentation, interface and camera app, they’ll soon be coming under fierce competition from Apple and the much anticipated iPhone 5.
Have any of you had a Blackberry or still have one now? Have you stayed loyal or like me jumped ship?
Different people will always have different preferences and I personally think the new Blackberry 10 looks pretty neat. But the fact still remains that RIM and Blackberry may have already fallen short and missed the boat. Only time will tell.