I have been a fan of BlackBerry for a long time after being impressed by how robust the Curve 8520 had been; no matter what I threw at it I could never make it quit. From that time I have noticed that BlackBerry phones were always delivered and were made with the end user in mind. The advent of Android saw the market shrink for smaller OS makers and right now we are on the brink of having a duopoly of OS in Android and iOS something which can leave smartphone users at a huge disadvantage not only for choice but price. Samsung has the lion’s share of Android while Apple holds the other. Smaller smartphone makers have been disappearing failing to push the numbers required for viability. BlackBerry still maintains a smaller presence in the smartphone market and has other services it provides which makes it able to endure the long drawn dry season. Of course wanting BlackBerry to remain in the smartphone market to help consumer choice goes against the profit motive which every company must be able to uphold to remain in business. So what can BlackBerry do ensure that the numbers surge in terms of sales? Below are a few strategies that can aide BlackBerry come back stronger:
Invest in Loyal Developers
There are many developers who haves stuck with BlackBerry despite the odds stacked heavily against the company’s smartphone business. These are people who are willing to do a lot for BlackBerry despite getting nothing much in return. BlackBerry can work closely with them in terms of what they can offer to the users and also ensure that the applications offered by BlackBerry remain relevant. With many applications dropping support for BlackBerry and older software platforms, there are glaring threats of users frowning upon BlackBerry smartphones but there is also an opportunity, the people who will no longer have use of a messaging application like WhatsApp will need something to bridge the gap. Can BlackBerry Developers innovate into this niche market? I stay in Africa and know that millions of users will no longer be able to use WhatsApp, can BBM be made to fill the gap?
|The Power of 10|
Use Essential Services to Get Back into the Market
The major problem with adoption of BlackBerry 10 is that many people assume it uses BIS for connectivity so many people did not experience a completely new operating system that is very stable, fast and not fraught with bugs. It did not help that the time when BlackBerry 10 came out is when bloggers like Mashable & Gizmodo held sway in terms of opinion. It is not easy to convince people to switch without giving something in return that they currently do not have on Android and iOS. Features such as camera performance, screen display or battery life are no longer enough to convince people. The smartphone market has matured and people will remain with current brands barring a radical new offering. Using services that enhance people’s lives bundled exclusively with the smartphone is the best way to force a way back into the market. This is the next frontier in the competition for the smartphone market. We have already seen Samsung use the Gear VR to sell the Galaxy S7. The sales of the Galaxy S6 would have pointed to consumer resistance to upgrade to a newer model. Working with Developers BlackBerry can consider which essential services people need that are currently not being fully provided using smartphone technology then tailor a solution targeting that niche market.
Use Security to Reinvent the Brand
As people adopt smartphones there will be a shift of cyber-crime towards this industry, currently there are pockets of concern regarding the security around mobile operating systems but threat levels have not reached alarming proportions for people to view their mobile operating systems differently. With use of desktop computers and notebooks declining so do the opportunities that cyber criminals have been mining for a long time. BlackBerry is suitably positioned to take advantage of this situation and regain market share in the smartphone market.
Though the BlackBerry Priv running Android software has been well received, the platform is seeing the emergence of many cheap smart phones but with good features from mainly the Chinese makers like Huawei and Xiaomi. They are likely to push many smaller Android makers out of the market by competing just on price and cost structures. Having its own operating system means BlackBerry can remain offering something which cannot be measured against a standard set by cheaper brands. So far I have had questions from people why the Priv is priced higher compared to other Android phones of similar or close specifications. I believe the uniqueness and solidity of BlackBerry 10 can find its footprint in the market where many are becoming fatigued of the just a choice of two smart phone operating systems.