What's in Blackberry's future?

Last night I attended the Blackberry 10 launch for Asia, located in the dazzling ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. This high fashion location was just the start to the onslaught of fashion, celebs, booze and Blackberry's supposed saviour, Blackberry 10 and the Z10. 

From the moment you walked in the door of the event you knew exactly who Blackberry was targeting to be early adopters, Singapore's high society. The majority of Singapore's influencers were there, including all top ten female fashion bloggers, a collection of funky startups with tech for the new OS, and dozens of Singapore's more wealthy citizens.

BlackBerry smartphones and related products, have not been in the headlines much with positive news in recent years. With the new platform, BlackBerry 10, promising new functionality and updated handsets, is there still hope for recently renamed Blackberry? You can decide for yourself, but here are some key historical.

The smart phone is a mobile powerhouse, and many are used to browse the web. Even though BlackBerry’s main claim to fame is mobile messaging and email, many BlackBerry owners also browse the web with their smartphones. According to Chitika, BlackBerry devices were used for just over 1% of mobile web browsing in the US in July 2012.

In terms of judging how a company is doing, there’s nothing like counting sales and market share. Looking at Gartner’s figures for BlackBerry sales enjoyed steadily increasing numbers until the second half of 2010. Since then, with a slight increase about a year ago, it’s not good news. And this year, BlackBerry sales seem to be in free fall.

Is BlackBerry 10 the savior?

Without a spectacular new OS and smartphones it’s hard to see how Blackberry will pull this off and be able to continue as an independent manufacturer for much longer. Rumours have been floated that Microsoft will look to acquire Blackberry's services business a means to protect Exchange.  BlackBerry 10 has arrived but is it too late? There is no doubt that there are still scores of dedicated BlackBerry users that will hold out for a bit longer for an improved smart phone. But the question remains if it will be enough. Based on the range of numbers we have presented in this article, it’s hard to see anyone being really optimistic about the future for the Canadian company.

blackberry 10 devices

At the launch event, there were dozens of product crew on standby to take you through various spotlight features of the OS. In the ten minutes I had with a device I was impressed with the device's performance. Plus all the core Apps are there, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Blackberry Hub is a great easily accessible hub for all your messages. But it's tough to know whether the device can fit into my daily life.

One thing stood out to me while the I was walked through the device, no more BIS (Blackberry Internet Service). The self managed Blackberry management service provider by your mobile operator, and the core reason for me still having a Blackberry. Like my good friend Mike Walsh, I carry a Blackberry because the BIS plan means I can get a Global Data Roaming Unlimited plan for SGD70. Far cheaper than roaming with an iPhone. Would Blackberry 10 mean the end of this plan? I hope not.

So for now the jury is out on the new OS and Z10. Personally I am keen to have a play with the still to arrive Q10, which has the full keyboard. Will update this when I get my hands on one.

What are your thoughts on Blackberry's future?