After a series of delays and months of industry speculation, RIM BlackBerry has finally unveiled its new BlackBerry 10 OS and accompanying devices – the Z10 and Q10. The big question in everyone’s mind now, is whether it will help save the company…or if it was too little, too late.
The features BlackBerry has been betting on to impress consumers with include dual layer on-screen keyboards, cloud data storage, and cutting edge multi-media capabilities. If you’re thinking that none of this sounds particularly compelling, I understand, but keep reading, because they have also thrown something else into the mix: a single interface with separate ‘work’ and ‘play’ profiles – BlackBerry Balance. The work profile, for example, will include a distinct calendar and a specially tailored app store. For enterprises, a built-in BYOD solution may take the edge off the long wait.
At a conference prior to the launch, the company’s senior director of enterprise product management, Jeff Holleran, spoke at great length about how many of the features of the new Blackberry 10 OS have been designed in response to the rise of BYOD. If you’re thinking ‘about time’, then again, I’m with you – BlackBerry’s server-based enterprise play met its Waterloo when the iPhone 3G launched back in July 2008. In case you were wondering, fierce competition from MDM ‘point’ solution vendors doesn’t worry BlackBerry, because, according to Holleran, “There’s a different hundred players week after week. It seems to be a very young market, with a lot of new start-ups…there is no clear [leader] who customers are flocking to.” Whether or not you think Holleran’s underestimating the competition – and I do think he is to some degree – there’s no doubt that BlackBerry has a strong enterprise brand that might help it steal back some MDM market share. There’s a distinct opportunity for BlackBerry to claim back some lost enterprises and to please some companies in industries that are still using BlackBerries…but who have been considering a device refresh.
There are some really cool things about the new OS and devices – time-shift camera, predictive typing keyboard, BlackBerry Hub for messages, BlackBerry Flow and BlackBerry Balance. There’s been a few great live blogs and recaps out there – like this one, this one and even this.