BlackBerry Plans Comeback Based on Security, Enterprise Services

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2014-05-22 Print this article Print
BlackBerry Comeback Plans

The Z3 will eventually get 4G radios and will be released at some point in Europe and North America. Sims said.

A brief look at the Z3 revealed it to be an attractive smartphone with a 5-inch screen. The device I examined had a black plastic case with sharp edges that made it resemble a Nokia device. The price point of the existing Z3 is under $200.

One area that BlackBerry sees as ready for more growth is in health care. Because of compliance requirements, integrating smartphones and tablets has been difficult. Here, Sims said that BlackBerry is planning a new tabletlike device for use by doctors and other medical staff.

While Sims declined to name the device or provide a detailed description, he did say that it needs to have a screen large enough to view medical imaging such as MRIs, and that it needs to be small enough to fit into the pocket of those lab coats that doctors wear.

The company is also getting closer to its customers in another way. Sims said one of the things that BlackBerry customers want is a physical keyboard, a feature that has been much maligned by smartphone users and those in the technology media who can't imagine using anything besides a touch-screen keyboard.

With this in mind, the company will deliver the BlackBerry Classic in the fall of 2014. This new device will run BBOS 10, but it will have the physical keyboard, home keys and track pad that the BlackBerry faithful love. It will have a larger screen than previous devices with keyboards, however, Sims said.

Other features that Sims said are coming include secure voice and video conferencing using BBM, secure chat and eventually a desktop version of BBM that will include video chat capability.

That brings us to the obvious question, which is, will all of this save BlackBerry? Will it bring the brand back to its original glory? The answers to these questions are complex.

I don't think BlackBerry is doomed. I also don't think it's headed for oblivion as a secure cloud and communications provider. But I also don't think BlackBerry will ever again be on top of the heap.

Far too many companies and large government agencies in the U.S. and elsewhere depend on the security that BlackBerry brings to the table for them to move on to something else. In addition, the company through its QNX platform is reaching ubiquity. It may not be glamorous, but someone has to build all the things that keep commerce running.

Likewise, while there's still demand for devices with keyboards, touch-screen devices are still the hot sellers and mobile Internet access still needs a big screen. While the consumer market will continue to focus on iOS and Android, for enterprise users, BlackBerry still has an important message.


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