Blackberry (formerly known as Research In Motion) has recently unveiled its latest device, in a last-ditch attempt to retain some relevance in the rapidly changing communications market. The firm released the Z10, a smartphone at the precipice of technology, with a plethora of innovative features.
However, this begs the question: Will the Z10 be enough to turn around Blackberry’s flagging fortunes both in Malaysia and in the wider world? Perhaps time will tell.
During the product launch, Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins put on a convincing enough performance. Stood centre-stage of the large hall, he paid tribute to Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazardis, two of the companies previous CEOs, and delivered a prominent message that explained how his vision for the company is a refreshing, innovative one – despite Blackberry’s uncertain future.
Blackberry Z10’s Features
In terms of features, the Blackberry Z10 provides everything that both corporate and personal consumers could possibly want from a smartphone. The Z10 is ergonomically designed making it comfortable to hold. From a hardware perspective, it certainly packs a punch – boasting a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, and an excellent HD camera (8 Megapixels at 1080p). The screen itself is of an incredibly high resolution, and actually features more dots per inch that the iPhone 5 retina display.
One area where Blackberry particularly suffered in the past was when it came to apps. Whilst older Blackberry models were left behind by the advanced gaming, business and personal apps offered by its contemporaries, this has begun to change. There are thousands upon thousands of popular apps available for the Blackberry Z10, including the incredibly popular Angry Birds of course. Even sother popular apps that aren’t currently available on Blackberry, such as What’s App, are said to be coming very soon. The CEO of the app Foursquare, Dennis Crowley, has also publicly voiced his support for the next generation of Blackberry products.
The interface of the device is a joy to use, and is incredibly easy to figure out. Despite not featuring Blackberry’s trademark Qwerty keyboard and opting for a completely touch screen device instead, it is still surprisingly simple to use, even with a single thumb. The Z10 offers a new form of predictive text, where suggested words can simply be ‘slid’ into the conversation. It’s innovative, responsive and relatively easy to use, and doesn’t get in the way of typing in the way predictive text often can.
Storage-wise, the device holds 16GB of data, which can be increased by opting for an SD card.
Blackberry Z10’s Double Platform
Blackberry essentially built up its reputation in the commercial sector. While the Z10 might seem to have been at risk of alienating users who require smartphones for business purposes, the company has thought of a unique solution – two separate platforms integrated into the same device (for example, business and personal). It’s incredibly easy to switch between the two sandboxed modes, by means of a simple gesture.
This dual-switching mode is quite clever and could be crucial to the future success of the firm. While consumers are expected to take to the product, business users are likely to be attracted to the fact that work related activities need not clash with personal apps and gaming, for example. Another potential reason for users to begin using the Z10 is that it will allow them to make use of Blackberry’s Enterprise service, but the stigma of using what is now regarded by some as a rather stuffy, unfashionable brand has been thrown out of the window with the advent of the sleek and stylish Z10, which looks good, operates impeccably and still satisfies the business priorities of its user base.
What’s the Future of Blackberry in Malaysia?
However, what does this all mean for the future of Blackberry in Malaysia? With Blackberry having opened up its app development globally with an emphasis on making things simpler for developers, there are an increasing number of apps tailored to local needs. There are currently over 100 applications available through the Blackberry World App Store for the Blackberry Z10 which are Malaysia specific, programmed and designed by local developers through strategic alliances with the firm.
Blackberry has conceded that many Malaysians may be reluctant to switch to the Z10 and Blackberry 10 OS, and have agreed that support will still be on offer for any users of Blackberry 7 devices for the foreseeable future, despite focusing on the development of Blackberry Z10 over the course of the following year.
Annamalai Muthu, Country Manager for Blackberry Malaysia, announced the Blackberry Z10 will be released in Malaysia sometime in the middle of this year. So, for Malaysia, it looks like we’ll need to wait a few months to see the Smartphone’s impact.
Is the Z10 Enough to Save The Blackberry Company?
Will all of these combined strategies help Blackberry’s chances of succeeding in Malaysia, as well as worldwide? Blackberry is making big strides, as seen with their re-branding and product innovation, but there are many naysayers about the company’s future. Impressive software and hardware does not always automatically equate to success. The reputable online publishing company Business Insider even published that Blackberry is one of the “10 Famous Brands Likely to Disappear this Year”.
However, there are so many factors to consider that it’s quite difficult for anyone to know for sure. It is likely the rise in popularity of the Z10 will be a marathon as opposed to a sprint, but the question is ultimately one of patience.
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Photo credit: edans / Foter.com / CC BY
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Blackberry needs a miracle to save itself!