BlackBerry maker RIM has been through turbulent times of late. The Canadian company saw its profits plummet and reported its first fall in quarterly subscription numbers in the firm’s history at the end of last year.
But, undeterred, BlackBerry is gearing up for a comeback with the BlackBerry 10 (BB10) set to be released this week.
And, while BlackBerry may never reach the lofty heights of Apple and Samsung’s popularity, experts are predicting it is on to a winner with its new high spec device.
Analyst Malik Karnal-Saadi, from Informa, who has had his hands on the gizmo ahead of the official launch, said the new handset should appeal to both businesses and consumers because of its “high specifications” that enabled users to do “good stuff in a couple of clicks”.
Running with a new operating system, Karnal-Saadi said BlackBerry could be successful in winning back customers lost through what he described as poor performance of BlackBerry 7 devices.
He said: “The experience is very attractive for business users and consumers. BB10 has what is needed to seduce back in both developed markets (Europe and North America). I haven’t seen anything like it in terms of the experience.”
But he did add that this uniqueness could lead to it taking “people a little while to get used to,” in the same way it did when the first generation of iPhones were launched.
While investors would “leap into the sky” if BB10 sold more than four million units in the first three months on sale, said Karnal-Saadi, sales of between one and two million would be an acceptable figure whereas if BB10 sells less than one million, that would be a “big mess”.
Ernest Doku, who is a technology expert with uSwitch.com, added: “For RIM and BlackBerry, it is very much the resurrection of the BlackBerry brand.
“Consumers have been waiting a long time to see what they were coming up with. They have fallen to the wayside but a lot of signs are pointing to this being their return to relevance in the smartphone market.”
He said BlackBerry had a loyal fan base who would be waiting for the new device with the Qwerty keyboard, which Doku described as BlackBerry’s USP.
Despite BlackBerry’s troubled times, its handsets are widely credited with kick-starting the current smartphone boom and RIM will clearly be hoping the Z10 and X10 get it back on track when they launch this Wednesday.
While no official images have yet been released, leaked pictures purporting to be the Z10 appear to show a touchscreen similar to that of the iPhone while the X10 is understood to be more traditional, with a classic BlackBerry Qwerty keyboard.
The Z10 is widely expected to have a 4.2-inch display with a 128 x 768 resolution. It will come with 2GB of RAM and 16 or 32GB of storage and will run on a dual core 1.5GHz processor. There will also be an eight-megapixel camera and a microSD slot for expanding storage capabilities. The X10 is expected to have similar features but with the addition of the full keyboard.