The growth of the smartphone market hasn’t been kind on our old friend BlackBerry. The brand was once seen as the pinnacle of smartphone manufacturing, taking over both the consumer and enterprise market (though it was more known for the latter). Now BlackBerry find itself taking steps forward, backward and sideways just to try and find a spot in the industry.
I have said in the past that BlackBerry is going nuts, when they announced the Passport. I ended up liking this device, despite how odd it happens to be. But that is why I liked it. It was different; innovative, you can even say. It’s also the reason why I liked the BlackBerry Z10 and Z30, the devices signified how BlackBerry is finally getting out of its bubble and venturing into new territories.
Meanwhile, there were still classic-looking BlackBerry devices like the Q10. But the company was encouraging a push forward. It wasn’t your usual BlackBerry Bold or Curve. Today the company seems to be taking a step back… again.
The company has just announced availability for the BlackBerry Classic (#dontcallitabold), a phone that follows the company’s old design language, yet offers better hardware and an improved BlackBerry 10 OS experience.
It looks like a Bold, yet it isn’t. It has features of a modern device, yet the design doesn’t adapt to today’s standards. In other words, the phone lacks an identity in a market where you have to be well defined in order to stand out from the massive crowd of cookie-cutter smartphones.
Don’t get me wrong, I happen to have a soft spot for the keyboard-clad BlackBerry devices that marked a generation. After all, there is nothing like the feeling of typing in a well-built smartphone keyboard, which BlackBerry definitely knows how to make.
The issue here is how the company is approaching the market. The rest of the industry tries to take gadgets forward, to a future where we can improve our current technology. Meanwhile, BlackBerry is re-releasing old phones?
Why not just offer a better version over the Q10 (which was originally the plan, as it was to be the Q20)? You are marketing this device wrong. To be honest, this seems like the the movie industry. It’s like all those remakes that keep being launched because writers are losing creativity.
The only difference here is that those film remakes often make millions over millions in profit. It doesn’t quite work the same way with mobile devices. The truth is not many would buy the first iPhone (or an “iPhone Classic”) if it was re-released with new specs and iOS 8. Sure, it may make some melancholic bucks here and there, but it won’t pull you out of your demise.
I say BlackBerry’s stability relies on its security software, which is still famous, and likely the only reason why the Enterprise sticks with the company. BlackBerry announced a partnership with Samsung to bring better security to Android devices. That is a great business idea. Stick to it. But if you really want to succeed in the smartphone manufacturing business, you won’t make it like this.
The industry has changed, while you are trying to make it by sticking to your old ways. BlackBerry, this hasn’t worked for you in the past, it’s not working for you now and it won’t work moving forward. We understand sometimes you need to step back to move forward, but you are doing it wrong.
Simply put, the BlackBerry Classic will be seen as “just an old phone” with good specs, due to the mentality it was built upon. It will hit the streets come December 17th (available for pre-order today), and I simply wouldn’t be surprised if you find you have simply dug a deeper hole for yourself.