Wednesday, February 06, 2013

BlackBerry Z10 – A resurrection!

If you are into mobile industry trends then you already know BlackBerry is back! BlackBerry announced the launch of its new touch screen smart phone – Z10. BlackBerry was dead. Since June 2007 (iPhone launch) It had failed not only to retain the market share but also to live up to its customer expectations. In last five years, BlackBerry has suffered a set-back after another which led to event the most hardcore fans of BlackBerry to leave. They eventually gave into the peer pressure and moved to iPhone or Android devices.

After 5+ years of issues, It seems 2013 is the year of born again for BlackBerry. Z10 is the first true competitor to Apple, Windows and Android devices. The impressive list of features and functions makes it worthy of competing. First and foremost, Z10 offers great hardware, looks, camera and other details that consumers expect in their smart phone. Secondly, It is sized right (screen size between iPhone and Samsung Galaxy). And finally, Z10comes with access to 70,000 apps starting day one. Availability of apps is a win-win for both consumers and the company (lesson from Windows Phone playbook). While we are talking features, I have to bring-up the Adaptive touchscreen keyboard – The keyboard intelligently predicts the next word that you may type when you are composing a sentence. If you consider all of these things together, you know BlackBerry has something "smart" going on.

Armed with great product, nothing should stop BlackBerry right? Well not so fast! Remember the 4 Ps – Product, Pricing, Placement and Promotions. In Product category Z10 rocks (at least rocks hard enough to compete). In Placement category, I have to say Blackberry has hit it home too. All major carriers in US will offer Z10 (what a win). BlackBerry simply needs to make sure enough devices are in hand and on display at all AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile stores. That leaves us with Pricing and Promotions. What I have read so far (these are not real numbers) but it seems Z10 will be offered at a pricing equivalent to Samsung Galaxy S-III with two year contract. I guess this is a good pricing strategy but for BlackBerry to make true dent in the smart phone market, it will have to come-up with creative ways to push the product. A good combination of promotion and marketing strategy is called for.

So what do I think will happen? First of all I think Z10 is a BIG WIN for BlackBerry. This is the first alternative to iPhone that BlackBerry has offer to its hardcore fans. Secondly, I sincerely thin this device and future version of this device will shape the future of the company. This a good story and BlackBerry simple needs to tell it the way it is. I also have a word of caution for the hopeful – Z10 is not the David who can take on the Goliath that is Android and iPhone but in 21st century both David and Goliath can live side-by-side.