BlackBerry or a Black Future?
Blackberry is a brand of a Canadian company Blackberry Limited (Research In Motion Limited), known for its smartphones and tablets. Blackberry was one of the most trusted and prominent smartphone brand. Its prehistory, that whenever you needed a smartphone without a doubt it was blackberry. Blackberry was the most dominant brand in the market and till 2013, it had almost 85 million users around the world. But what happened to it? How did a big brand lose its position and almost vanish?
Android and apple manufacturers came in with nothing to lose at the time of greatest innovation. At the time of Apple and Android arrival, Blackberry was on the edge of moving towards touchscreen technology, of course it was the destination that technology had to evolve towards. Apple jumped in with the perfect timing and later on companies like Samsung and HTC benefited to the fullest. They came in with nothing to lose and kept moving to the latest specs and greater speed. Most companies like LG and Sony, along with Samsung and HTC became highly functioned and moved towards the latest specs. Dual Processors became available and LG was the fastest one to implement them.
Focusing on the current million users, Blackberry missed out billions upcoming. While all the furious development was happening on the Android’s front, Blackberry became protective of what it had instead of concurring the new. Big business and government used to rely on Blackberry’s security and reliable email services that made their employees more productive. Also, the Blackberry messenger was really popular among the young generation at that time. It was also the most dominant in US market. So, it was really a comfortable place to be in.
Being really comfortable, they thought they had more time and room for error but it wasn’t the way they thought. Blackberry launched a Playbook tablet, but without an email client, adobe and flash. They said specs like them were the future of smartphones and they had to develop a powerful to chip to handle these specs. So, they delayed the spec-competitive smartphones. Because it was Blackberry, the company thought that people could wait for the superior products or put up with limitations. Like the iPhone, that had recently removed the headphone jack, but there is a big difference between Apple’s and Blackberry’s strategy. Apple closed down its phone manufacturing but Blackberry kept on selling ten million each year.
One of the biggest mistake by Blackberry was keeping BBM locked down to its own hardware, as a result, WhatsApp grew into $ 19 billion business (historic figures). Other than that blackberry lacked innovation. If you give a look at the competitive phones they had a better camera and more applications that a user needs. Blackberry thought people could wait but it’s a human nature to go towards betterment. Android and Apple provided with everything that blackberry couldn’t and in better ways. In the last year, BlackBerry decided to bet on Android, but even here, the phones lacked innovation and only had the standard BlackBerry security angle as a differentiator. Again, it couldn’t compete. They had problems with their OS too, BB OS 10 also struggled because it had poor integration with Google’s Cloud services. Things like Gmail, Google Hangouts and Search didn’t work well or didn’t work at all because Google didn’t design those apps for BlackBerry’s platform.
Other companies started benefiting from BlackBerry. BB’s biggest advantage was its push email and BlackBerry Messenger service. Now every other phone has push email (in different forms), iMessage and WhatsApp gunned down BBM.
A question arises that can blackberry gain its position back in the market? It seems quite impossible for BB to gain what it has lost, in a competitive market, where a brand Huawei established itself as 3rd and some other companies are behind it, it is not impossible but it doesn’t seem easy from BB’s perspective. They are in a continuous struggle yet somehow surviving. A survey from last year suggested more than half of current BlackBerry owners were going to switch to Android or iOS. Enough said.