Dubai: The Canada-based Research in Motion (RIM) is gearing up to unveil its long-awaited BlackBerry 10 operating system and two new handsets on Wednesday to regain its lost glory.
The handset had been widely popular thanks to its BlackBerry messenger and strong network security services but with Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS dominating the market, the RIM system saw its users migrate. With BlackBerry’s 10 and its new operating system, RIM hopes to recapture part of the mobile phone market.
Sandeep Saihgal, Managing Director of RIM Middle East, has told Gulf News that the new phones and its operating system are going to be a gamechanger.
Industry experts are quoted saying that RIM will find it tough to claw its way back but consumer loyalty could still be out there and RIM might still be able to rekindle interest among its user-base. Many consider the new OS and phones to be the Canadian firm’s last chance to regain lost market share globally.
Two models will be launched on Wednesday — Z10 with full touch screen and X10 with a physical keyboard. The devices are expected to be available by February 15 in the region. The new BBM has voice and video features apart from many others. Gulf News will publish more details on the handset on Wednesday. Retailers in Dubai are expected to sell the Z10 at around Dh2,500.
Getting consumers to buy the new devices is the only thing that can save RIM, Ashish Panjabi, COO of Jacky’s Group, said. “Being technically superior isn’t always the solution. Look at Betamax, HD-DVD and other format battles over the years to see evidence of that.”
RIM now understands that the enterprise user is looking at more consumer like functionality, he added. “This is why the focus of RIM has clearly been on developing a better touch keyboard experience or coming with a much improved camera app.”
RIM has kept a lid on the feature and said that more will be publicised during the official launch of how RIM is embracing the consumer segment as a means to get back into the corporate business.
Neelesh Bhatnagar, CEO of Emax, is a big believer in BB10’s market potential. “It is definitely going to be a gamechanger and save RIM. It has all the features of other smartphones and it will be similar to how Lumia 920 is now saving Nokia,” Bhatnagar said.
Pre-bookings are going to start for the new devices from Wednesday and retailers expect RIM to perform strongly with these two new devices..
Many in the industry, however, seem sceptical about the device’s potential as a RIM savior. “The new operating system has a totally new user interface and end-users will need time to get used to the platform as it is a bit complicated,” Hamza Saleem, senior research analyst at IDC, commented.
Despite the operating systems’ complexity, he added, there still isn’t a replacement for the BlackBerry messenger and email integration services as compared to other operating systems. “BlackBerry continues to be the gold standard for security,” he said.
According to IDC, Blackberry is expected to attain a market share of 4.7 per cent globally this year but then fall fall to 4.1 per cent in 2016.
Up to now, BlackBerry remains the number two smartphone maker in the UAE after Samsung. As of fourth quarter of last year, RIM had a market share of 34 per cent in the UAE compared to 31 per cent in the third quarter and 35 per cent in the second quarter of last year.
“RIM will lose further market share in the first quarter of this year as consumers are keen on the Qwerty phones and not so for the full-touch screen,” said Saleem. The Qwerty device is likely to hit the shelves after full-touch device are introduced. Saleem added that the touch screen device might suffer the fate of the old touch screen that BlackBerry introduced, which didn’t do well.