After more than a year of making the markets wait, Canada’s Research in Motion (RIM) finally launched two BlackBerry 10 smartphones and the completely "re-designed, re-engineered, and re-invented" BlackBerry 10 operating system.
At a launch from New York City and broadcast around the world and on the Internet, Thorsten Heins, RIM President and CEO, first announced a change in the corporate name to BlackBerry, to closely associate the company to the brand that has made smartphones popular in the mobile market.
Heins then unveiled the BlackBerry Z10, a touch screen version, and the BlackBerry Q10, a keypad version, running on the new OS featuring the BlackBerry Flow user experience.
Markets, analysts, and even the Internet community reacted differently to the announcements and product demonstrations, as reported by Globe and Mail and other media channels worldwide.
Mainly, reactions are mixed because of the finer details of the launch, including pricing and availability of the products.
BlackBerry said the Q10 won’t be available until April while the Z10 is being rolled out in phases across the world. The UK will get their devices as early as tomorrow but Canadians have to wait until next week. The following week, customers in the United Arab Emirates can get their hands on the new Z10. US customers will have to wait a while longer -- up to March -- and customers from other countries are being asked to register online for updates of availability.
Analysts remain generally hopeful after they’ve heard and seen the BlackBerry in action. But it still wasn’t enough to prevent doomsayers from predicting the worse.
Adam Leach, principal analyst, Ovum was one of the first to send out his reactions to media outlets soon after the launch, according to Benzinga.
Leach said that BlackBerry will be reduced to a niche player in the long-term, even though He said he believes the BlackBerry 10 platform to be “well-designed.”
“The Blackberry 10 platform offers a differentiated user experience in today’s crowded and homogenous smartphone market. The Blackberry Z10 and Q10 will stand out from the Android masses and look distinct from Apple’s iPhone,” said Leach.
However, the challenge for the company is still to convert the non-BlackBerry users and bring back former loyal followers who turned to other competing devices.
A Frost & Sullivan analyst remains hopeful, calling the new OS “good” and the Z10 consumer device “a step in the right direction.” However, there remains challenges.
Todd Day, Senior Industry Analyst, Mobile & Wireless Communications, Frost & Sullivan, said in an email interview that the 70,000 apps for BlackBerry 10 pale in comparison to the 700,000 apps available to iOS and Android users. Still, the Z10 device looks encouraging enough to attract the developer community, he continued.
Leach begs to differ. Benzinga quoted Leach's press comment that having 70,000 apps at the launch was a "good start."
Day added that there’s lots more of work to be done by BlackBerry to attract a wider ecosystem of partners, and these tasks will include creating “new concepts, technologies, and products in order to truly compete.” All this work will have to come together to integrate the new BlackBerry OS into other devices, such as TV, vehicles, the cloud, desktops and more, he concluded.
Digital Journal earlier reported analyst expectations ahead of the launch and these new reactions after the launch do not differ drastically from their earlier expectations.
Investors, on the other hand, were not impressed with the launch and this sentiment was evident in the company’s share prices.
A Reuters report on the Financial Post website said the company’s share prices dropped more than seven percent to US$14.50 in New York and $14.43 in Toronto.
As a result of the corporate name change, BlackBerry said it will now be trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange as “BB” and “BBRY” on the NASDAQ effective next week.