These two handsets come with a world of expectation. RIM, now officially called BlackBerry, is counting on the Z10 and X10 to turn around its fortunes after customers deserted its previous gizmos in favour of Apple and Android devices.
So, after the launch event, how are the Z10 and X10, which run on the new BlackBerry 10 operating system, being received?
Well, analysts believe interest in BlackBerry will be revived – but the question is whether it will be sustainable.
Adam Leach from Ovum, said the Z10 and Q10 would “stand out from the Android masses,” looking distinct from Apple’s iPhone. He added: “The user experience of BlackBerry 10 introduces some nice new features but importantly builds on BlackBerry’s UI heritage and therefore will certainly appeal to existing users.”
He said while the challenge would be to attract new consumers but added: “Ovum believes that despite a well-designed BlackBerry 10 platform that will certainly attract short-term interest from existing users, the company will struggle to appeal to a wider audience and, in the long-term, will become a niche player in the smartphone market.”
Technology analyst and blogger Michael Gartenburg certainly had favourable first impressions. He said in a Tweet: “No home buttons. Apps move from swipe to swipe. Performance looks excellent. No lag. BlackBerry Peek allows you to stay in experience.”
Scotiabank analyst Gus Papageorgiou said: “You can just switch from work to personal mode. I think that is something that will attract a lot of people.”
And, BlackBerry certainly has the glamour factor, having announced singing sensation Alicia Keys as its Global Creative Director. In a statement, BlackBerry said: “Alicia Keys has come to BlackBerry because she believes in the product and technology and subscribes to our overriding philosophy to ‘Keep Moving’: to empower people through mobile computing and communications.”
Although, we must point out that Tweets posted by the Girl On Fire singer were coming from an iPhone just a few days ago.
She wasn’t the only celebrity to offer a ringing endorsement to BlackBerry though. Presenter and columnist Piers Morgan tweeted I have the new #BlackBerry10 in my hands… and it’s VERY cool.”
Investors however have been decidedly underwhelmed with shares of the Canadian high technology company pounded to a double-digit loss despite the launch announcement. Shares sagged by 11.8 per cent to close at $13.86 in Toronto, adding to losses of around 10 per cent in the two days previously as investors took their profits following a run up in the shares before the new product announcement.
Some investors are worried BlackBerry may have done “too little, too late” in order to regain significant market share from the industry’s two big players – Apple and Samsung.
Tech writer Eric Savitz wrote for Forbes: “The situation here reminds me a little bit of biotech stocks: everyone is all excited about the unlimited prospects when a promising new drug is in trials but once it hits the market, the company turns into a mundane pharmaceutical company that has to actually sell something.”
BlackBerry will clearly be hoping most consumers agree with Morgan and Keys.