Mobile | Can BlackBerry® Compete with Technology Giants and Regain Global Market Share? 5 Major Takeaways

Topics: App Development, Business, Design, Ideas, Innovation, Leadership, Marketing, Media & Entertainment, Mobile, Mobile Apps, Sales, Strategy, Technology By: Jackie Ta

What do technology giants, Apple and Google, have in common? They are two of the major players that know how to disrupt markets with mobile devices and mobile engagement. As a result, they’re taking over a significant share of the smartphone marketplace with their innovative operating system and devices. Now, BlackBerry® wants to regain a piece of that space. More than a decade ago, RIM launched its first BlackBerry® and quickly thereafter became a dominant force in the corporate world. BlackBerry®, in recent years, is facing with stiff competition from Apple’s iPhone and smartphones powered by Google’s Android operating system. Thus, with the increased popularity of iOS and Android device usages, BlackBerry® is faced with the harsh reality that they need to maintain their competitive advantage and regain back their once significant market global share of the smartphone market. BlackBerry® has been known for their strategic focus on the enterprise. However, with a market full of advanced smartphones, the focus on enterprise solution isn’t enough. Enterprise users – who traditionally use more secure, closed operating systems such as BlackBerry – are now opting for more cutting-edge features offered by Apple and Android devices despite the lower level of security. BlackBerry® is now strategically in a position to disrupt the top position held by technology giants with their recently launch of a revamped operating system and more device offerings. Can the once major player get back in the game after many years of not launching any major developments in their smartphone offerings? BlackBerry® is now quite comparable with the likes of iOS and Android, and with time, can possibly be in better position to get a piece of the mobile market share.

Apple revolutionized the smartphone industry with iPhone launch in 2008, making their apps as a core part of user experience and taking touch screen interface to the next level of innovation. Google smartly and bravely took on Apple in the touch screen arena with their Android operating platform. BlackBerry® is now following Google’s footsteps. Can BlackBerry 10® take on Apple and Google and will it no longer be just Apple’s iOS vs. Google’s Android in the mobile platform wars?

Let Look at the Features:

To answer this question is to look at where BlackBerry® was and is today and where they can go compared to where Apple and Google are already at and going. Both Apple and Google continue too successfully dominate the global mobile marketplace. Customers have seen incremental upgrades. BlackBerry® failure to have incremental releases may be the reason for their BlackBerry® 10 to be a completely rebuild from ground up. Apple successfully created a walled garden – a closed platform or ecosystem – where they have control over apps, content, and media and well as restricting convenient access to non-approved apps or content. Google’s Android is an open source code with permissive licensing that allows the software to be freely modified and distributed by wireless carriers, device manufacturers, and software development enthusiasts.  This open source concept contributes toward making them the world’s most commonly used mobile platform.

BlackBerry® has been known for their investment in enterprise-focused and security solutions. It’s one of their strongest and attractive offerings. BlackBerry® 10 is designed and built with one simple concept in mind – to create the best, unique user experience by allowing features and apps to seamlessly work together so that users can keep moving. Some of BlackBerry® 10 major highlights for the Z10 and Q10 devices include:

  • The BlackBerry Hub. It offers a more modern look and feel with a completely new easy-to-navigate user interface that allows a better integrated user experience. This integrated interface includes a central place for the home screen, widgets, app lists and a unified communication (mail, text, voice and social media) channels inbox. This hub allows for single tap entry into the apps, allowing quick access to messages and notifications without leaving the hub. The single swipe feature is ideal for multi-task users who like to flow effortlessly in and out of their messages and conversations.  Users can now seamlessly watch a video, switch to mail and then back to the video, for example. This smooth transition from one app to another puts BlackBerry® in at a competitive advantage – ahead of the competition – with this advanced multitasking feature. Absent from its device is the need for home button.
  • Keyboard. BlackBerry® does something right with the use of qwerty keyboard (Q10), ergonomically sculpted and lightweight to improve typing speed. Included is the speech recognition. Included in its offerings (Z10) is a virtual keyboard that allows users to flick words onto the screen. Both the Q10 and Z10 are meticulously designed to adapt to the users and their writing style as well as integrating into its platform a predictive text system to auto-complete words, sentences, and phrases.
  • Camera. The picture perfect shot is a tap away with the time shift mode. Imagine the outcome by moving picture captured backwards and forwards in time.
  • BBM Video with Screen Share. Face-to-face interaction with screen share takes conversing to a whole new level.
  • BlackBerry Balance. Two profiles – one for work and another for personal use – are a perfect balance to access work and personal. What better way than to keep work and personal activities on one device but kept separately from each other? Each profile comes with its own calendar, address book, wallpaper, and app collections. It’s designed specifically for hypermobile employees who want to always be connected and productive. Allowing this balance gives BlackBerry® the greatest, distinctive competitive edge over their rivals but there’s a catch. This feature requires using BlackBerry’s corporate software suite. This is great for individuals who don’t want to carry two phones – one for work and one for personal.
  • Hardware/Software. Samsung, Nokia, HTC, and Motorola are leading the market with the Qualcomm’s S4 1.5GHz dual-core processor, the same one that is used in BlackBerry® Z10. With its 4.2-inch screen and a 355 megapixel display and higher resolution retina display than that of iPhone, this puts BlackBerry® in a good light. 70,000 apps are available on launch. Note that both Apple and Google have reportedly now have over 700,000 apps available.

What Does This Mean to You?

Take some lessons from BlackBerry® 10. If you want to survive in your space, you would need to invest in forward-thinking innovations by integrating the latest and greatest technology into your product offerings and services. Here are some key points worth noting:

1. Engage customers in key moments of their day. Advancements in mobile technologies have allowed customers perpetual access to the massive, on demand resources of the Internet and mobile apps. Your apps should help your customers engage with your brand during direct moment of their need – while they’re shopping, performing routine tasks, researching, etc. Mobile engagement transforms services and accelerates processes. To encourage frequent use and engagement with your brand, your apps should be useful, convenient, and engaging. Deliver personalized, contextual experiences to your customers.

2. Empower employees to be productive on the go. BlackBerry® Balance feature does this well with its real business apps and content available with a seamless single tap, a swipe, and a few flicks. It encourages the productive “anywhere, anytime” mentality. It allows employees (as well as frequent business travelers and telecommuters) to carry their office everywhere, accelerating actions and decisions.

3. Integrate mobile technology as part of your systems of engagement. Take a look at how BlackBerry® uses mobile innovations to engage with their customers and see how their features and apps deliver. It’s all about designing with customers in mind in the context of their daily lives while creating transformative experiences.

4. Consider the right time to launch new features, devices, or apps. The launch of the revamped operating system with more progressive features is a big step forward for BlackBerry®. What would happen if BlackBerry® introduced their BlackBerry® 10 three years ago before Google’s Android platform became so common? Would Apple and Google have been able to take a significant smartphone market share from them?  Did the launch occur too late or could they still regain their position with market traction over the next few years to help them regain and remain a significant force in the global mobile marketplace? Only time will tell but it’s no doubt getting there will be challenging. It’s important, therefore, to do your due diligence and market analysis to stay competitive or even disrupt the market.

5. Build the right apps for your platform(s) of choice. Or, choose the right platform(s) for your apps. Apps have shown to be critical to BlackBerry’s success. Success of iOS and Android comes from the range and quality of the apps available. Customers and consumers are more demanding and expecting a comprehensive range of apps for all types of mobile applications including social media, email, gaming, video, cloud, messaging, and photo sharing. Keep in mind which apps are available in which platforms and consider the feasibility of future availability of apps in existing platforms. Will Instagram, a native version of the popular photo sharing app, become available on the BlackBerry® 10, for example? It’s important to note that some app developers do not develop different versions of their apps for multiple operating systems. Also, keep in mind that the proliferation of cheap or affordable Android devices can diminish iOS and BlackBerry®.

Smartphones and tablets are game changers for lasting engagement and impression because everyone nowadays is carrying them everywhere they go. Apparently, BlackBerry®, like so many other mobile brands and innovators, recognizes how mainstream on-the-go access has become. Whether you’re building your mobile apps or finding the best mobile devices or platforms to present a mobile presence for your brand, think of mobile as the visible manifestation of an influential systems of engagement that bring together the physical context and digital intelligence to deliver your products and services directly into your consumer’s hands. If your brand has yet to effectively deliver or launch a mobile presence or apps, consider partnering with or hiring an agency that can use systems of engagement and harness mobile, social, cloud, and big data innovator to deliver apps directly in the context of your consumer’s hands at the right time and during critical purchasing decisions.

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