2012 wasn’t an easy year to be a proud BlackBerry owner. Let’s face it: many of us take pride in being associated with cutting-edge communications brands. But lately, it seems like every time I whip out my BlackBerry, I draw a sarcastic dig from a smug iPhone or Samsung owner… (you know who you are!)
There is, however, hope that my coolness will soon be restored because there seems to be a lot of optimism in the market surrounding BlackBerry 10, BlackBerry’s upcoming mobile operating system. According to Bloomberg’s Hugo Miller and Zach Epstein of BGR News, more than 1,600 North American businesses have already signed up for a training program for new BlackBerry 10 handsets and software (the unveiling will occur on January 30).
In terms of updating a brand that has been perceived as stuffy, Stan Schroeder over at Mashable reports that music and videos will be coming soon to BlackBerry devices. (It’s about time!) And the BlackBerry 10 will also present a younger, fresher image through technology like “BlackBerry Balance” – designed to improve the work/life balance for today’s always-connected subscribers, this new technology will support separate business and personal personas on the same device, and both will be encrypted. Subscribers will be able to enjoy their online personal lives, but work-related apps and data will be kept secure.
All of us have different digital or online personas today, and this separation of our different identities is part of a trend that Amdocs is calling “omni convergence” (which is basically the evolution of convergence). Today, service providers are dealing with individual subscribers with multiple personas (residential, business, gamer, etc.), each of which possesses different quality-of-service (QoS) requirements.
For instance, I care less about a dropped call when I am speaking with my mother than I do when I am on an important conference call (sorry Mom, I always end up insulting you in this blog).
Speed is another exciting feature of BlackBerry 10. According to CNET UK’s Rich Trenholm, the new devices will support LTE, with Engadget’s Sean Buckley reporting that this includes possible compatibility with AT&T’s LTE and GSM bands in the U.S. Verizon seems to be onboard (according to Yahoo! News) and Rogers in Canada is already touting BlackBerry 10 and its LTE capabilities. An improved camera and social media integration will also be included as part of BlackBerry 10. And CNNMoney’s Julianne Pepitone reports that BlackBerry 10 will be featured in Research in Motion’s first-ever Super Bowl commercial.
But of course service providers measure coolness in dollars (or whatever their local currency is), and they realize that in order to better monetize data services, they’ll need to integrate policy and charging capabilities to offer more sophisticated dating pricing plans. This will improve their respective positions in the broader ecosystem and make it possible for them to form lucrative partnerships with OTT players.
What do you think? Will the BlackBerry 10 be cool enough to help a fallen brand restore its former prominence?
BLOGGER: ERIC M.DANIS