After hearing about all the to-do’s about BlackBerry’s big event, reading through the coverage of the announcements and even watching some of the live presentations, there was some greatness found in their upcoming products. Unfortunately, too many of the blogs have downplayed these products and features to the point where BlackBerry may not have enough following left to save themselves from a slow and painful decline into a hostile buyout. Before we get the company on the auction block, lets get a quick rundown of what the Z10, Q10 and Q5 will bring to the smartphone game.
BBM: Still the most popular messaging client in the world. BBM, or BlackBerry Messenger, allows users of BlackBerry products to use their “BB PIN” to send secure instant messages, files, screen shots and more instantly to other users. Now, this isn’t groundbreaking today, but before unlimited SMS packages were included for free, BBM was the way to chat for zero bucks. The big announcement from BBLive! was that this popular platform will be coming to iOS and Android in the coming months.
The Q5: This is where BlackBerry is still missing the mark with BB10. When one can purchase a new low-range Android device for $100, a mid-range Windows Phone for $150 and a PlayBook for under $200, someone needs to make an affordable option to keep people from jumping ship. As fans of prepaid and no-contract wireless, retail pricing is key. With T-Mobile, you can snag the aging BlackBerry 9315 for $168 without a contract. If BlackBerry wanted to be successful again, this is where the Q5 needs to come in. The $150-200 non-contract price range would be ideal. Now, since US availability hasn’t been announced, there is still a chance to see a sub-$200 BB10 device here, but it isn’t likely. Even still, a lower cost BB unit is definitely a step in the right direction.
No BIS/BES: This is the one that really gets exciting. For years, BlackBerry devices ran through RIM’s servers and used side loading for everything. What was great about this process was the amount of data used and the battery life that this saved. What was bad about it was that the carriers had to pay a monthly fee to RIM to use their services. Unless you had a BIS server, you didn’t get the ‘cool’ stuff. With BB10, it appears that most of the side server processes have gone the way of the dinosaur. This means you can take those new berries to anyone you want and save in the process.
BB10: This should just be stated that BB10 is probably the most dramatic change for a phone OS since Palm came out with WebOS, The features are all BlackBerry all the time, but presented in a new way that makes sense. Swiping and tapping to bring out menus. Icons that layout in a reasonable fashion and have a great notification system attached to them. BB10 is a great communications system. That said, there are a few “key” apps missing at this point, but with their App count reaching 120k, there is plenty to choose from form most users.
BlackBerry Live! was a great success for BlackBerry and CrackBerry fans. It gave a positive spin to the new devices and OS. It presented new and exciting product announcements. It told people that have iPhones and Android devices that they would have access to those amazing BBM features soon. It even got people excited about a mid-range BlackBerry that may or may not come to the US in the future. The event was exactly what BlackBerry needed to have. Now, the question is, will the people come back, or not?