News Analysis: New BlackBerry 7 devices will be released by three carriers within a few weeks. The new devices, with touch-screens paired with QWERTY keyboards and a new all-touch model, deliver fresh approaches that might enable Research In Motion to stem its market-share loses.
Research in Motion's rather
low-key announcement of its OS7 devices belied the importance of the new BlackBerry
devices to RIM's recovery
. The new devices include an all-touch-screen
version of the Torch, a touch-screen version of the Torch with a slide-out
keyboard and a new, super-thin version of the Bold. At least three major
carriers in the United States will sell these new devices in the coming weeks.
The question that most
people will have is whether these
are good enough to knock the iPhone and the Android
universe out of their respective leadership positions. The answer is, probably
But they may be good enough
to stem the current
slide in BlackBerry sales
, and perhaps gain back some market share. The
secret to their potential success is that these devices offer something for
everyone who wants a better BlackBerry experience, but who doesn't want an
Android or iOS device.
Despite the rabid fans of
Android and iOS-based devices, there are a number of reasons BlackBerry devices
still hold a solid percentage of the market share. Perhaps most important, a
BlackBerry is inherently more secure than either an iOS or Android device. This
is why you've seen governments, ranging from those of India to Indonesia,
trying to keep BlackBerry devices out of their countries with little success.
Their intelligence agencies can't crack the military-grade encryption that RIM
uses for BlackBerry Messenger. You don't see efforts to ban iPhones or Android
The second is that
BlackBerry devices, along with BlackBerry Enterprise Services integrates more
seamlessly into the enterprise-computing environment than do other devices. This
explains why you see federal employees carrying BlackBerry devices here in
Washington, but you rarely, if ever, see them use anything else for official
business. While Apple especially has made significant inroads into the
enterprise, there are still some tasks it's not up to.
But in reality, the biggest
hurdle for RIM isn't in the enterprise. RIM needs to be accepted by consumers
as well as by business and government users. Can it accomplish that task? The
answer is, maybe. A great deal will depend on how good the user experience is
when the first BlackBerry 7 devices hit the street. If they work well, they'll
likely find consumer acceptance, if they're clunky or slow, then they won't.
RIM is betting that new
devices will be enough of a leap ahead of the BlackBerry 5 and 6 models that
they will turn users' heads.