Me and my (cool?) BlackBerry

Too bad BlackBerry didn’t exist when I was an uncool 12 year old

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

10 Comments

  1. Gayle Rinot
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 3:23 am | Permalink

    Very cool, indeed. But BlackBerry truly has its work cut out for it. And you are much cooler today!

  2. Luna
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 4:16 am | Permalink

    Hi Eric,

    Another one of your oustanding pieces!
    But I have to say I do not believe blackberry devices will be able to compete with Iphones and Androids… Blackberry is still very much associated with business/ executives and not to cool youngsters like your lovely picture :)

  3. Posted January 28, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    The BlackBerry will not be cool again. Ever. Never, ever. It will continue to be the lame anachronistic dinosaur of corporate monotony. It is the device of your enslavement. It is a statement of accepting your role as a corporate drone. It is not cool. Will not be cool. BlackBerry is dead.

  4. Posted January 28, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Eric,

    This is a tough call. Wherever you read about Blackberry 10, it is only positive things. Wherever you read about RIM, it is only negative things.

    My guess is that Blackberry 10 has a real chance at success – I’d go as far as saying that it can probably pass Windows Phone 8 in quantities in 2013.

    Tsahi

  5. Manish Jaiswal
    Posted January 29, 2013 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    I can bet on Blackberry 10. It is going to make all the current and future BB owners proud. Blackberry always have its own fan base which will just get Cooler by the new OS.

  6. Eric Danis
    Posted January 29, 2013 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Stein, tell me how you really feel ;)

    With the growing “bring your own device” (BYOD) trend, I think it’s fair to say that most device manufacturers are now targeting the lucrative corporate market.

    But I accept your right to passionately dislike BB — technology brands often stir up strong emotions among consumers.

  7. Eric Danis
    Posted January 29, 2013 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Here’s an interesting Yahoo! article on BlackBerry’s “long-overdue makeover”: http://news.yahoo.com/crucial-long-overdue-blackberry-makeover-arrives-182200818–finance.html

    “Like many analysts, Papageorgiou recently upgraded RIM’s stock, but cautioned that longtime BlackBerry users will have to get used to a whole new operating system.

    He said RIM can be successful if about a third of current subscribers upgrade and if the company can get 4 million new users overseas, especially in countries where the BlackBerry has remained popular. IDC said smartphone shipments grew 44 percent in 2012. If those trends continue, it will be possible for the BlackBerry to grow even if iPhone and Android users don’t switch.”

  8. Richard Hoch
    Posted January 31, 2013 at 5:04 am | Permalink

    Another thought-provoking piece by Mr. Davis. Sounds like a good intermediate prodoct that says “We’re here” until RIM develops the next big thing. Blackberries were “cool” enough at one point to make me open to the idea that RIM can again tap into the market’s zeitgeist with leading technology. We’ll see. In the meantime, the 10 lets them ante up for another round.

  9. rob rich
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I love the succinct ‘dis’ “the lame anachronistic dinosaur of corporate monotony”- actually I wish I had thought of it! Having said that, while Blackberry has a long row to hoe, I think it has a shot at recovery and I hope BB10 will make them relevant again. I still have a BB (along with a Samsung Galaxy), and I keep it because it is really good at messaging and simple to use for basic functions, and it actually fits into my jeans pocket. And while I was recently in Buenos Aires, I noticed that almost everyone on the subway (my favorite physical crowd sourcing spot)had a blackberry! so let’s not bury them yet; even IBM and Apple have come back from near-death experiences.

    Finally, Eric you will be cool with me as long as you wear that Red Sox hat, no matter what is in your pocket.

  10. Mark J. McPherson
    Posted February 21, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Coolness deferred here in the US! The feedback I’ve gotten on the Z10 has been very positive, and BB10 does look different, orders of magnitude more fluid and polished than the straining, prior BlackBerry (and so long Research in Motion) OSs. It was a major, if temporary disappointment to learn of the brutal delay in launching the critical US market (definitely not cool). This has left BB vulnerable to the sorts of biased tech press coverage that has hurt them in the past. Just in the last few days, there have been reports featuring analysts “disappointment” over sales to date. This doesn’t align with the objective reports of brisk early sales in those markets where the handset is available. My guess is the analysts’ pre-launch projections factored in a US launch, which hasn’t happened yet, so without this major market (and the Z10 has just now been launched in India) the sales would necessarily be lower than a projection based on its inclusion. So Samsung, Google and Apple and their accolades can continue to smirk awhile longer. One of the toughest hurdles to re-engineering hardware and software is having to deal with the US Carriers who seem prone to reacting to last year’s sales.

    But the OS and the handset look good, and there will also be a qwerty keyboard version (Q10) available in the spring, which will sit well with BB traditionalists. The predictive type features on both new handsets look like they’ve moved the target ahead.

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