More woes for beleaguered Blackberry

More woes for beleaguered Blackberry

Touchscreens rule the world.  This is the conclusion that we can now come to after sales of the Blackberry Q10 have tanked.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that carriers and vendors are increasingly claiming that handset sales have been exceptionally poor and many of those sold have been returned.

One US vendor selling Verizon devices claimed “we saw virtually no demand for the Q10 and eventually returned most to our equipment vendor”.

Blackberry’s strength has traditionally been with the keyboard however it would seem that consumers have now moved on and are favouring touchscreen devices which is part of the reason that there have been strong indications that Blackberry could be put up for sale.

One area that the company may be successful is within corporate sales where up to 60% of Fortune 500 companies are said to be testing the devices.  Of course, testing isn’t purchasing and if the company isn’t around to maintain the ecosystem then purchasers may well be reluctant to see through orders.

It is looking increasingly like BB10 and the new devices launched aren’t going to be the saviour that they had been touted as.  The problem for the Blackberry board and one that must be addressed with increasing urgency is what now?

iOS7 and a new iPhone is imminent and there’s a high probability that we’ll see a new version of Android. Combine this with an ever-increasing range of Nokia Windows Phone devices and the market is growing ever more crowded. That slice of space for Blackberry is getting smaller by the day.

It is sad to say but we could well be witnessing the last throes of a company that helped to bring the smartphone to the mainstream.

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  • mthraves

    I would regard Symbian and Windows Mobile as smartphone pioneers before Blackberry. RIMs real success was getting email working successfully on phones.

    • the_prof

      I’ve never really thought of Blackberrys as ‘Smartphones’ as such, even though they probably are technically. Symbian and Windows Mobile were good frontrunners, but there’s only one device that really put the smartphone (as we know it) on the map, and that’s the iPhone. It was really the first device that made using the Internet while mobile a pleasure to use (even though the first one was only GPRS/EDGE).

      It was the device that really started the smartphone boom, and made people start to realise what could be done on such a platform. Everything else was absolutely rubbish at mobile Internet before it, and took quite a while to catch up.

      • Kurt House

        Thats complete BS. mtraves is right Symbian and Windows Mobile were YEARS ahead of the iphone. I even had a smartphone by a company called Neonode years before the first iphone. The imate Jam was amazing for its time (HTC Magic) The first iphone wasn’t even 3G! So it certainly wasn’t a pioneer at what could be achieved on mobile internet! The screen wasn’t very high res either compared to other handsets around at the time. Fashion conscious Apple consumers always look back with rose tinted glasses. As a tech fan in general, believe me, if the original iphone was any good I would have got it, but it wasn’t. I had a Gllofiish X800 around the time the original iphone came out. Compare the specs, it was far superior for mobile internet if only for the 3G and 640×480 display.

        • the_prof

          It’s not complete BS – the smartphone revolution didn’t happen until the iPhone. That’s a fact. The reasons for it are arguable, and could be construed as coincidence, but the sheer number of smartphone sales that the iPhone appeared to kick-off made them mainstream. Before that, sales were tiny, relatively speaking.

          I remember when the first iPhone was released, thinking ‘meh’ about it, and not even looking at one because of it’s relatively poor specifications. I myself had a slew of both Symbian and Windows Mobile phones many years before the iPhone. I was pretty happy with them too, at the time, but mobile internet from a User Interface point of view was a frustrating experience to say the least.

          What the iPhone brought to the table was the capacitive touch screen (remember using the stylus before this?), and the superior flow and ease of use compared to any other device at the time. It took the competition years to catch up with this, and cemented the iPhone as a device ‘normal’ people could use for Internet on the go.

          It’s probably also worth mentioning that while I do currently have an iPhone, I also own an HTC One, an SGS3, a Nokia Lumia 920 (which I hate) and a number of older handsets, so I think I’m well out of the Apple fanboy camp. My views are just based on how the smartphone revolution happened, and I firmly believe it would not have happened so quickly had Apple not released their first iPhone. It revolutionised the way we interact with touchscreen devices (the gesture based controls, the fluidity of the UI, the app store which eventually appeared, the nature of the ecosystem, etc).

          WinMo and Symbian were, in constrast, fiddly, cumbersome and the Internet experience was poor. Tech specs aren’t everything, and while the iPhone hardware compared poorly against a lot of hardware at the time, the OS was in many ways far superior to anything that had gone before it.

          • Kurt House

            I’m not an Apple hater by the way but I just don’t believe they reinvented everything again with the iPhone. They did have a good OS back in 2007 and I’d agree that using a stylus with WM wasn’t great. Smart phones were selling quite well though. The HTC Tytn and Tytn 2 were popular and the Orange SPV range did OK as well. Things were already moving in a big way towards an explosion in smartphone sales. What annoys me is when I constantly see Apple getting credited with inventing things that they just plain didn’t. They may have accelerated things as the iPod generation just had to have an iPhone. Things like Face time where Apple claim to have reinvented everything again etc. Just get under my skin. I had video calling in 2003 when 3 launched there network in the UK FFS. I apologize if I came over a bit aggressive but comments about how amazing Apple are, are like red rag to a bull for me. They make some great products but always seem to walk away with more credit than they genuinely deserve.

          • the_prof

            I know what you mean – and I do think Apple get a lot of undeserved credit. And the smartphone explosion would have probably happened regardless one way or another, just like the PC ‘explosion’ around 10 years before, and the brief Netbook thing just after the Asus EEE was released.

            I also quite agree about the FaceTime BS, but how many people did you know who actually used two way video calling before FaceTime?

            I think what Apple do achieve is making some quite techy stuff seem simple to the majority, and executing it well. It just worked, and in my mind a lot of that stuff was streets ahead of everyone else. I too was quite annoyed when the iPhone was released and professed to do a bunch of stuff that in fact had been done many years before by some early HTC devices. That said, I think the ‘look and feel’ factor was the revolutionary thing, and whilst other OS’s have caught up largely speaking, the initial innovation was Apple driven, and I believe this is what suddenly made smartphones appeal to the masses.