Wednesday, September 26, 2012

BlackBerry 10 demo

BlackBerry is struggling to reclaim its past glory.  Just look around you.  How many BlackBerry devices do you see?  Probably not too many.  When people look for their next smartphone, they usually look at iPhone or Android.  There are a few Windows phones popping up, but not too many BlackBerry phones.

But when you look at big regulated enterprises, there are still many BlackBerries out there.  Although RIM may be on its last leg, it has not lost the battle yet.  That's because RIM understands enterprise needs and caters to their requirement.  In fact, that's how BlackBerry gained its popularity: By providing a mobile email device to corporate users.

BlackBerry 10 is their latest attempt to win back the fan base.  During BlackBerry 10 Jam, CEO Thorsten Heins and Vivek Bhardwaj highlighted features that are squarely targeted towards enterprise users.  Work and personal dual mode, UX build around one-handed operation, easy multi-lingual keyboard switch support, and tight integration with social media updates are all catered to business users and their IT department.  While IT department demands tight control of device and information security, users have been demanding capability for personal use.

From what I can tell on the demo it looks like RIM is on the right track.  It's focusing on its core audience, enterprise business users.  It's also trying to attract third party application developers to write compelling apps on BlackBerry 10.

Big question to me is whether BlackBerry is going to be too late too little to already saturated smartphone market.  Apple iPhone has made a significant headway into enterprise mobile market, and each day I'm seeing yet another case of a BlackBerry shop turning into a BYOD-driven iPhone and Android shop.  Increasingly enterprises are deploying data security platform like Good Technology to protect their data on end user's iPhone.

With BlackBerry 10 release date a few months out, RIM has a little chance to recover if BlackBerry 10 doesn't pan out.  That would mean RIM must find a way to make it work for enterprise users.

Note to BlackBerry 10 team: make sure enterprise social app is ready from the day one, and integrate that with social media experience.  Collaboration tool is the new email.

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