Research in Motion dropped a double whammy on the marketplace today, jumping back into the smartphone fray with two new phones as well as announcing the company will change its name to that of its product, BlackBerry, in a bid to recapture its position in the market.
Some criticisms of the new phones have already emerged. While the phones are successful in several aspects (including possessing a number of interesting and useful features), it looks like they aren’t the game changers BlackBerry needs to re-attain its market relevance. While the new phones are a step in the right direction, they don’t look like a BIG step.
We’ve talked about what a technology needs to succeed, but what does it have to do to recapture success?
It should give serious consideration to diving deeper into its niche. This isn’t always a given, sometimes market demands require a change in direction (just ask Newsweek). But change for the sake of change isn’t a smart move, and besides, BlackBerry’s niche has deepened.
In the early 2000s, BlackBerry was the must-have technology for mobile professionals. Given that mobile devices are now a de-facto workplace standard, BlackBerry does have a shot at becoming the prosumer model of smartphone, one that provides personal functions within a professional framework that IT departments with security concerns can work with. For example, the new BB10 phone secures company documents, emails and other information from being transferred into private email accounts. BlackBerry will also offer its security to organizations that need to manage pin protection and remote wiping of devices (in case of loss or theft) from other manufacturers.
Niche capitalization is one reason why Automation Centre is still in business after almost 20 years. We keep finding new ways to expand our own niche in email, from surfacing project dashboards in email to synchronizing tasks with Outlook.
Another key factor in reclaiming market position is remembering not to forsake your strengths in the quest for improvement. In the rush to recapture its position, this is where BlackBerry may have tripped. Historically, a core BlackBerry strength was the longevity of the phone’s battery life. However, the new Z10 model has already drawn some complaints about its battery life being sub-par to earlier models, in some instances lower than one of its competitors, the iPhone 5.