A decade ago, things were going pretty well for smartphone manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM). In fact, it was doing way better than expected: the mobile phone business was booming, RIM’s market share was continuously growing, and its BlackBerry smartphones were selling like hotcakes. Everything was going smoothly, and it seemed like no other phone manufacturer was brave enough to conquer the land that was solely under RIM’s rule. That is, until Steve Jobs came charging into the battlefield.
Using the iPhone series as his weapon, Steve Jobs conquered RIM and won the smartphone war hands down. Since then, RIM has struggled to topple the competition and reclaim its spot at the top. But, of course, we all know it hasn’t been successful in doing so, especially when the king of the Internet, Google, moved its pawn forward—the widget wizard Android. The rise of these two technologically advanced opponents slowly edged RIM out of the spotlight, until it was left with just a meager two percent market share last year.
BlackBerry’s last hope
Realizing it’s not going to win the smartphone war with its bland, soap-shaped QWERTY phone and weak, substandard software, RIM worked what’s left of its magic and created the Z10, BlackBerry’s new flagship phone and last hope. This weapon for recovery sports a full touchscreen instead of BlackBerry’s signature physical keypad. While this new design may attract smartphone addicts of all ages, Z10’s design still lacks luster and looks like a second-rate clone of its major competitor, the iPhone. The 4.2-inch glass display of the Z10 was specially designed to go head-to-head against Apple’s latest weapon, the iPhone 5. However, it fell short of expectations and failed to convince die-hard Apple fans to jump ship. Its 8-megapixel camera wasn’t impressive as well. Many mid-range phones like Lenovo S720 also come with an 8-MP rear camera minus the high price tag.
It would be unfair, though, to shrug off the Z10 as another failed experiment of BlackBerry, as it also has a few redeeming qualities. It comes with the new BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system and a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus dual-core 1.5GHz processor with 2GB RAM. Hardware specs like these can be hard to ignore, especially for users who want to experience seamless operation while enjoying a smartphone that’s packed with memory-hungry, lag-inducing applications. The new BlackBerry Z10 is indeed something, but it doesn’t really stand out in the sea of smartphones in the market. Those who wish to use only one smartphone for both business and personal use should consider getting this model, though.
Recovering from the loss
Along with the launch of its new business phone, RIM also reinvented itself and adopted BlackBerry as its new name. Some brand experts, such as Edgar Baum of Brand Finance Canada, consider the name change as an excellent marketing move, one that could probably save RIM and give it a whole new image. The name change is also a make-or-break move for RIM. Some may say it is a desperate attempt, while others may say it shines a beacon of hope on the struggling company.
While the name change and new flagship model may indeed open many doors for the fallen RIM and enable it to recover from its crippling loss, it’s still too early to tell. BlackBerry enthusiasts worldwide should keep their fingers crossed and hope that their favorite smartphone manufacturer makes it through the next five years.