When BlackBerry unveiled the Z10 and Q10 handsets that will carry it into 2013, CEO Thorsten Heins must have known that the moment was an important one.
BlackBerry over the last couple of years has watched its market share dwindle as iOS and Android became dominant in the market. Meanwhile, sales of its handsets have fallen as customers increasingly turn towards newer and more powerful smartphones.
But now, things are different. BlackBerry finally has interesting new products that could put the company back on the growth path. BlackBerry 10, its latest operating system, is a significant step up over previous versions of the software, and the company’s Z10 might just be its best iPhone competitor yet. Simply put, there are some good signs right now that BlackBerry could hang tough in the mobile space.
But hanging tough does not necessarily translate to success. What BlackBerry needs is to convince people to buy its phones so it can regain some of the ground it has lost in the market. Achieving those goals won’t be simple. In order to achieve success, BlackBerry will need to do several things.
Read on to find out what BlackBerry 10 needs to be successful:
1. Rave reviews for the Z10
Although BlackBerry is selling a physical-keyboard-equipped Q10, the company’s future hinges on its ability to sell boatloads of its Z10. That device, which comes with a touch screen and is BlackBerry’s best answer to the iPhone, needs to score rave reviews. So far, the device has done rather well in the initial reviews, but once users get their hands on the device, they need to feel that it’s a major step up. If it’s not, BlackBerry will be in trouble.
2. An unexpectedly high number of people who still like physical keyboards
Given the sales of BlackBerry’s devices over the last few years, it appears that there are fewer people than ever who want physical keyboards. However, there are still many folks who prefer them. To prove BlackBerry 10 right on that score the company will need to sell plenty of its Q10 smartphone that’s designed for users who want to keep using those physical keys. If BlackBerry loses those customers, it’ll be in for real trouble.
3. Some effective marketing
Now that BlackBerry 10 is out in the wild, BlackBerry must do a sound job of marketing the product. Part of Apple’s success has been its marketing techniques. The same can be said for Samsung. If BlackBerry falls short in conveying its value message to customers, it’ll likely see BlackBerry 10 fall short.
4. Big help from carriers
According to BlackBerry, its Z10 will be made available on Verizon’s network. Elsewhere around the world, the company’s products will be offered on a wide array of carriers. What BlackBerry needs to do now is make sure that those carriers are pushing its products. The last thing BlackBerry needs is for customers to walk into Verizon and find its phones are relegated to obscure corners of the display shelves while salespeople are pushing iPhones to customers over its Z10. Carriers will play an integral role in BlackBerry 10’s success or failure.
BlackBerry Must Achieve 10 Things to Stay on a Path to Success
5. It has to keep reassuring enterprise customers
The trouble with BlackBerry 10 is that it’s not an overtly enterprise-focused platform. In fact, some CIOs and IT decision-makers would be excused for believing that, with its camera features and promotional screenshots, the software is actually designed for consumers first. BlackBerry must make it clear to enterprise users that the platform really will work in office as well as earlier BlackBerry models.
6. While it works hart to attract consumers
At the same time, BlackBerry has a bit of an identity crisis. BlackBerry has realized that in order to be successful, it must attract consumers and the last thing it needs is to appear that it is a company that mainly focused on business users. Therefore, BlackBerry must find the proper balance between targeting consumers and enterprise users. It won’t be easy.
7. Security as the killer app
If 2012 taught mobile users anything, it’s that they’re less safe now than they ever have been. Malicious malware is more prevalent on the Android platform than ever. Even iOS isn’t safe from hacking. For years, BlackBerry software has been extremely secure and effective in protecting data. If BlackBerry can make the case that its software is more secure than iOS and Android, it might just attract more users.
8. More big events
The nice thing about BlackBerry’s Jan. 30 event is that it was big and attracted a lot of positive attention, which helped generate market buzz about its new phones. As the company launches updates to BlackBerry 10 or offers up more products, it should keep holding such big events. At this point, BlackBerry needs all of the attention it can get.
9. Fewer devices, greater quality
BlackBerry ran into some trouble over the last few years trying to launch too many devices for too many customers. That resulted in a general sense that BlackBerry was offering desperately throwing broad range of products on the market in hopes that something would catch on. This time around, BlackBerry should offer only a few devices and market them intensely. For now, BlackBerry 10 won’t be successful just by having more devices on store shelves than the next company.
10. Quick (but not huge) market share gains
When the research companies announce first-quarter market share figures, BlackBerry must get a boost. Investors, customers, and enterprise decision-makers are unsure what the future holds for BlackBerry and are wary about investing in the company’s products until they know. A quick (but not necessarily major) jump in market share this quarter could help it regain its standing with some customers and help build momentum going into future quarters. By any means necessary, BlackBerry must get products into paying customers’ hands.