11 Factors Which Have Pegged Back The Blackberry Platform

By | January 28, 2014
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Over the last three years or so, Blackberry has fallen far behind the pace, in terms of popularity figures among mobile-users worldwide. Several factors have contributed to the steady decline of Blackberry – some of which have been highlighted here.

According to many experts from the worldwide mobile markets, the failure of the ultra-hyped Blackberry Z10 was the final nail in the coffin for the already ailing Research-In-Motion (RIM). If one were to go by handset and mobile app statistics too, Blackberry cannot even come close to the attractions of Android and iPhone handsets. Once considered to be a phone exclusively for the elite business class, the fall from grace of the Blackberry platform has been remarkable. We here take a look at the factors that brought about all this doom and gloom for BB:

 

  1. Static nature of enterprise services – The secure and reliable nature of the push-mail feature was, once upon a time, the standout point of Blackberry handsets. There were no updates to this feature for years though, and when Apple came up with the revolutionary iPhone, Blackberry was caught unawares. Users, understandably, started to shift to the much more dynamic iPhone handsets. The latter offered more seamless web access too.

  2. Inability to gain first-mover’s advantage – Be it iPhone app development in India and overseas, or the launch of new handset models – competitors have mostly been able to stay a step ahead of Blackberry. A classic instance of this would be the release of the QWERTY Blackberry Q10 – relied upon by RIM to make up for the failure of the touch-based Z10. While the phone was not bad in itself, it did not offer anything extra over what the Samsung Galaxy S4 already had. An earlier release might have led to better sales figures.

  3. Entry into the tablet market with a dud – To match the popularity of the Apple iPad, Blackberry needs a truly robust, multi-functional tablet – and the Playbook is, unfortunately, not the answer. Apart from being way more expensive than most comparable devices, the absence of a default email client on Blackberry Playbook was regarded as a serious flaw. Why the makers opted to leave out the one feature that BB was known for remains a mystery.

  4. No hype about the upcoming products – It so seems that Blackberry is still out to revive the Z10 in some way and promote the Q10 as much as possible – instead of planning to come up with another handset which would have all the desired features. The so-called ‘leaked’ updates from Blackberry has failed to excite anyone – indicating that the quarterly revenue figures of the company won’t show any significant upturn in the foreseeable future.

  5. Disappointingly small size of the phone screens – The display quality on Blackberry handsets is pretty much uniformly good – but the relatively small size of the phone screens is a huge downer. The screen dimensions of the two latest BB handsets were well-below the average on Android sets (around 4.7 inches). The upcoming Blackberry A10 might finally have a large screen, but will it have enough attractions to make users switch from other phones? A question – and a pretty serious one!

  6. Poor range of the Blackberry App World – If this had been a three-way boxing match, Blackberry would have been beaten to a pulp by Google Android and Apple iPhone by now. Compared to the range and variety of apps at iTunes, the Blackberry App World appears horribly poorly stacked – and the quality of many Blackberry apps is rather suspect too. It’s not a matter of coincidence that there are many more iPhone application development companies in India, than agencies exclusively into creating Blackberry applications.

  7. Over-reliance on a single product – We are not saying that Apple would have prospered if its iPhone had flopped – but the fact that it had the iPad, iPod, iTouch and even the Apple TV as backup products certainly helped. On the other hand, Blackberry has been relying only on its mobile handsets to keep earning big bucks – something that has not been happening for the last 3-4 years. The feeble attempt at tablet marketing also fizzled out soon.

  8. Confused advertisement campaigns – Have you watched the Super Bowl ad for Blackberry Z10? If you haven’t, you have not missed much – for the commercial focuses more on being unique (not essentially in a good way), rather than being informative about the product that it is supposed to promote. Even the series of ‘Keep Moving’ commercials have not quite been focused enough. It’s surprising that RIM is constantly failing to create a nice, attention-grabbing, informative commercial for Blackberry products. Even the best stuff have to be promoted well!

  9. Hardware – Complaints about the basic hardware architecture of handsets had been a bane of the Blackberry platform – and that had been one of the main reasons why the new hardware for the Q10 and the Z10 was launched. The end-result was far from what was expected though – with the high-end Blackberry phones registering lower sales than even the Nokia Lumia phones. The new hardware was not defective or anything – it just did not have enough ‘EDGE’ about it.

  10. Failure to work its way around the battery backup issue – With even Android phones and iPhones having rather poor battery lives, Blackberry had a potential to capture some of the market – by coming up with devices that performed better on this count. That, however, has not happened, and the Blackberry phones continue having battery backup that is about at par with the other smartphones. Yet another reason why no one has bothered to switch to a BB handset.

  11. Steadily eroding user-base – Speaking about switching, the flow has been more from Blackberry handsets, to other smartphone models. Except for the hardcore Blackberry fanboys/girls, many users have become exasperated with the poor performance of BB phones, and have started using Android/iOS devices instead. At a time when Blackberry requires a loyal customer base more than over, these signs are worrying.

 

There is also a marked reluctance on the part of many mobile application development companies around the world to create Blackberry apps. This is rather natural, for iPhone apps have much higher revenue-generation potentials. The Blackberry platform, with its standard features and niche positioning, was doing fine. The moment it started to compete with Apple, Google and Samsung, the downward spiral started.

 

Can it recover? Let’s wait and watch!

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
Hussain Fakhruddin
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