BlackBerry (formerly Research in Motion) provided a solid showing of its new BlackBerry 10 smartphones at Wednesday’s launch party in New York City. New features include new gesture-based OS navigation controls, multi-app operation, multi-language support, and the next generation virtual keyboard – along with previously announced enterprise-centric features of BlackBerry Balance (work/personal profiles); BlackBerry World for Work (enterprise app store) and BlackBerry Hub (unified inbox and contacts). But RIM’s future will require winning favor with both consumers and enterprise decision makers.
“BlackBerry needs strong backing from IT administrators,” says enterprise practice director Dan Shey, “but it also needs enough consumers and more specifically, employees to choose BB10 over Android, Apple, and Windows smartphones. The BYOD trend is having a big influence on enterprise mobilization strategies.”
BlackBerry is in a good position with enterprise but it is unknown if the multi-device support in the recently released BES10 can rival those of other MDM platforms. Consumer adoption is less predictable as it’s highly dependent on positive perception toward BB10′s usability, device performance, and application availability. Pricing and promotion will play a big role as well with consumers – again areas BlackBerry has less control of.
In the near term, BlackBerry will rely on an enterprise smartphone market that is still growing even in developed markets such as North America and Western Europe. Worldwide smartphone penetration at EOY 2012 among mobile business customers representing corporate liable and prosumer markets stands at 52%; among all employees it stands at 29%. BlackBerry smartphones currently hold a number 3 position in the enterprise market behind Android and Apple at number 1 and 2 respectively.
BlackBerry’s long-term strategy was revealed early in the event by CEO Thorsten Heins in his comment that BlackBerry will enable the Internet of Things.
Shey adds, “M2M or the Internet of Things is the next frontier for mobile and wireless computing. BlackBerry’s QNX platform is a fantastic starting point for a stake in this market, but BlackBerry can’t fall behind in IoT as it did with touchscreen smartphones if it hopes to become a mobile computing platform company.”
Smartphone OS market share across subscribers and shipments is provided in the market database of ABI Research’s Enterprise Mobile Devices (http://www.abiresearch.com/research/service/enterprise-mobile-devices/) Research Service. The database also provides forecasts for enterprise media tablets. The Research Service includes report analysis of OEM and OS markets, technologies and systems. All data is provided for seven world regions and for the United States and Canada.
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