After months of hype and a few delays, Research In Motion will finally launch BlackBerry 10 tomorrow in New York. The new operating system will support both a corporate and a personal identity on one device, and both will be encrypted. The BlackBerry Z10 smartphone will be the first BB10 device, and a 10-inch tablet is rumored to be up next.
RIM is hoping that BlackBerry 10 will help it keep its loyal corporate customers and win some new ones. Security is the selling point. “BlackBerry is still the safest mobile device in the enterprise, and, despite recent reports of its decline, is in use at 90% of the Fortune 500 companies and 10 million small and medium businesses,” said Nick Cavalancia, VP of marketing at SpectorSoft, which makes software that monitors users’ activity on mobile devices and computers. Last week the company announced a BlackBerry-specific upgrade to its Spector 360 product.
“Some eyebrows were raised when we announced our support for BlackBerry,” admits Cavalancia. He said SpectorSoft made the decision because RIM uses an encrypted channel and provides access to its platform through APIs, and therefore enables his company’s mission. Cavalancia also noted that RIM still has many clients in the government and financial sectors, which are important to his business.
But support from BlackBerry loyalists may not be enough to save RIM. That’s because most of those loyalists are enterprises, and they are not the biggest buyers of smartphones.
“Companies are no longer buying the majority of smartphones sold today, and individuals overwhelmingly choose devices other than BlackBerries when they make buying decisions,” said Ovum’s chief telecoms analyst Jan Dawson. “The first of these phenomena is unstoppable, and we expect a significant increase in employee-led rather than IT department-led smartphone buying.”
Dawson says that RIM is not focusing on the consumer market. “RIM’s intention for BlackBerry 10 is to be ‘the best BlackBerry for BlackBerry users’ rather than something that will necessarily win converts from other platforms,” he said. “The points of differentiation RIM has focused on in teasers for the new platform confirm this – better multitasking, productivity, email, contacts and calendar applications and so on, rather than a better gaming, content consumption or social networking experience.”
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