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    February 2013
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    Blackberry on the Rise ?

    Gerald Trites, FCA, CPA

    The recent release of Blackberry Z10 has the mobile watching world on the edge of its seats. Blackberry, formerly Research In Motion (RIM), has been an object of admiration , wonder, awe, disappointment, derision, and admiration (for pulling off a credible comeback) in recent years. In short, it has been like many other highly successful tech firms that ran into bumps along the road.

    The big question now is whether those bumps were more than little road annoyances.

    The new Blackberry Z10 has generally been receiving good reviews, mostly in comparison with its chief rivals – the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy (which uses the Android operating system. For the most part, it stands up to the pressure. The Z10 has all the functionality of the others, and overall technically is in the same league. It might even have a better camera, with a unique new twist that allows a person to take several shots of a scene and select the best one for saving. That can save a lot of space. Also a sharper screen.

    Where the Z10 is lacking, of course, is in the number of apps available for it. Although developers have shown some interest in developing for the Z10, the sad fact is that the Z10 is so far behind the others in this area that even if a majority of app developers devote their full time to the Z10, it is unlikely to catch up any time soon.

    Apps are important, of that there is no doubt. Some would say essential to the success of a smartphone. This is true for personal usage of these devices. Individuals like their apps and other things being equal will go where the most apps are available to suit their taste.

    But is important to remember that Blackberry has its biggest user base in the corporate and government world. The US government, for example, is a major user. For governments and corporations, security is critical, much more so than having a lot of apps available and the Blackberry has always had better security and better capability to integrated with corporate security systems. So they have stuck with the Blackberry and will probably stick with the Z10 for that reason alone.

    On the other hand, many corporations and other organizations have been moving to a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) model for their own systems. This means that over the long term, as BYOD becomes more prevalent, there will be growing pressure to move into the iPhone and Android space. Apple has a significant disadvantage in this sphere, in that it has always been difficult to integrate Apple products into business systems, because relatively few of them use Apple, and their operating systems are notoriously grouchy about integrating with other systems.

    And so Blackberry retains some measure of competitiveness in the corporate sphere, which is a good base from which to operate. While they are likely to remain in 3rd or 4th place in the smartphone market for individuals, their corporate base may just be strong enough to carry them through and give them more time to work on those pesky apps.

     

    The MONEY® Network