Ahead of BlackBerry Z10's launch date in India, the debate no longer
seems to be if it is a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. The buildup during
the weeks after the BB10 launch in the advanced markets has settled that
debate for sure - BlackBerry's comeback has looked imminent, almost.
question of greater interest to analysts now is how deep, wide and far
this new success would be running. More pointedly, does BB10 give
BlackBerry the firepower to take the might of Android and iOS head-on?
And specifically, will it be 'sold out' in India just as it was in the
US and Europe?
The biggest thing that could work - and already is
working - to BlackBerry's advantage is the brand value, which remains
quite strong. And with the channels still in place it won't be too hard
for the brand to make a comeback - the possibility of a midway goof-up
now looks remote. Equally important is the fact that it's a cash-rich
company, and perhaps even more important is that RIM (now BlackBerry)
has been among the few mobile device companies that have been good at
making money after selling the device, the other notable ones being
Apple and Amazon.
Yet, the speed at which bookings flowed in the
UK and Canada for BlackBerry's Z10 device sketched a new angle of
analyst scepticism. Did that indicate a demand-positive or a
supply-limitation, it was asked.
Answers from BlackBerry would
need to come in the form of a more robust inventory, to begin with. An
announcement on the number of units sold and preorders would also help,
though that is unlikely to happen until the launch happens in the
biggest smartphone market-the US-expectedly around April.
meantime, a good sign is that there have been no bad signs so far.
BlackBerry has produced a next-generation OS, showcased a cool new
device and done a well-received launch. The'cool factor'could prove
critically useful when it comes to winning new customers while serving
the die-hard texting needs of old loyalists in a much better way.
features are quite comparable with the likes of iPhone 5, Galaxy SIII
and Lumia 920. The camera is as good or better and so is the screen
resolution or even the specs-2GB RAM instead of 1GB with comparable
models from most of the other makers. Only the screen size seems to be a
tad smaller, but not significantly so, at 4.2 inches.
recipe for a success looks like this: offer all the contemporary
smartphone features to draw new users but also make the email
feature-it's core strength-better than the rest. All, powered by a
Could that be the new CEO's device in the making?
pasby the competition has rendered things less demanding for BlackBerry
compared to the situation until about a year ago. Events like Apple's
famous Maps fiasco are likely to make consumers more forgiving of
BlackBerry's earlier mistakes. While iPhone has lost some of its iconic
sheen, Galaxy shipments too have suffered post the jury verdict against
Samsung in the US.
While BlackBerry's comeback looks nearly
certain for the first time in the past so many years, the momentum will
become deterministic only after a positive build-up continues for next
three to four quarters.
Before BlackBerry's market share started
getting eroded after Apple's iPhone wrote new rules of the smartphone
game in 2007, BlackBerry carried a formidably informal tag of being 'the
CEOs' device.' It would need to win back the sobriquet-no less, if not
The availability of a wide range of apps or the lack of
some would also play a key role in determining BlackBerry's long-term
success as would a device roadmap supported by some competitive if not
aggressive pricing. And of course, it will have to keep fingers crossed
that the competition doesn't launch anything disruptive anytime soon
As on Feb 23, Z10 has reportedly quietly landed on some
e-tailing sites for an India price of Rs 45,000, which is clearly higher
than Rs 39,000 expected earlier. The formal launch is yet to happen
As far as the India launch is concerned, it's no longer
about convincing potential users about the BB10's or Z10's capabilities.
That task is done and over. Now, it's going to be all about pricing the
Will a premium pricing of Rs 45,000 help position
it as the 'CEO's new device?' What if Indian CEOs find that a little too
greedy of BlackBerry? Answering that question successfully is where the
challenge lies for the marketers.