Is Blackberry still competitive? Is Blackberry still relevant?
Blackberry is seeing excellent continued international growth with its high-end device-- "Bold". Its has also recently released a new lower-end model (fourth-quarter 2010). They are still in the game. Unfortunately, the competition is fierce and eroding Blackberry's advantage by overshadowing them in the areas of innovation and relevance.
The challenge for Blackberry is to appeal to consumers, especially in North America. North Americans expect a faster web experience and easier access to software applications while Blackberry competes with the rapidly emerging iPhone and Android smartphones platforms.
The shift in North America is underway, consumers want the same experience on their smartphones that they have on their personal computers. North America is really understanding this and are buying into the visions pushed by Apple and Google, which in my opinion are right on the mark. Blackberry is stuck in an older conversation of a mobile device with a scaled down user experience for a mobile device. This is why Blackberry is so focused on email and a smaller, scaled, down, clunkier mobile web and app experience. Apple and Google are pushing past this to offer a desktop experience, pushed light years ahead onto a mobile smartphone.
The iPhone/iPad (Apple) and the Android platforms (Google) provide a much btter web and App experience than the Blackberry. This is subjective, however, if you use both devices, it will take you about 1 minute to see the difference. The iPad will push this to the next level and offer an even better experience for Apps and web. Blackberry will be left in the dust.
Blackberry definitely dominates in the business user segment and they are all about secure email. Blackberry has been blind sided by Apple who has rapidly taken over the consumer market by creating a lot of buzz with its emphasis on software application like games, maps, and other programs. The consumer market is spreading to the business market because Apple and Android offer access to a great email and web experience that let's consumers work from their personal smartphone and have all the consumer fun they need as well.
"Everything that Blackberry has brought to the table still holds true, but Apple has taken it to the next level and has pushed way beyond email", says analyst Nick Agostino of Mackie Research Capital in Toronto. Blackberry has become somewhat stale and irrelevant and Apple has quickly become highly relevant.
While the Blackberry is still the dominant Smartphone in North America with the iPhone in second place (March 2010), it's about staying relevant that will keep a company in business and flourishing. Blackberry has lost it's competitive edge and is now in a catch up position, with little sign that they are actually catching up. iPhone and Android still offer the best web experience and with the iPad entering the market, Blackberry is potentially going to be left even further behind. The iPad takes the desktop experience to the road with a scaled, optimized, totally touch enabled mobile experience.
People are starting to get afraid that Blackberry is relying on its laurels a bit. And the media has grabbed a hold of this fear and are talking about it openly. Blackberry must satisfy customer demand and there is every indication they are struggling to do so. Blackberry is in for a bumpy year where the mobile landscape will be changing at light speed with competitors like Apple and Google disrupting and innovating at a rapid pace.