RIM, the maker of famed BlackBerry smartphones, is at the worst times of its trade. Share price of this Canadian company is falling rapidly. RIM’s shareholders have lost in billions when the market capitalization of the company came down from its peak of 83 billion dollars to 6.05 billion today. We are not only looking at the business side of the BlackBerry maker, but at the smartphones as well.
BlackBerry smartphones have obvious disadvantages and flaws and coupled with the company’s doomed outlook, it is apt not to go with a BlackBerry smartphone. Expectation of a comeback of RIM with the release of BlackBerry 10 operating system in January next year is bleak at best.
Obviously RIM did not target regular customers. Its main target was business users. Business users purchased BlackBerry smartphones for its industry-standard security, looks, and the trademarked QWERTY keyboard. All of these aspects (except for the security, of course), have in fact caused the doom of the smartphone platform.
RIM’s worst asset is probably the operating system itself. I am not saying BlackBerry is a bad OS. It is a great OS or more accurately, it used to be. Its only advantage in the current competition with Apple iOS, Android, and Windows Phone is the security.
In all other aspects—browser, the look and feel, hardware, etc.—BlackBerry has failed in competition. Apple and several manufacturers of Android and Microsoft Windows Phone have managed to edge RIM out of smartphone business.
In terms of hardware, RIM offers relatively low-end features, like smaller display panels and limited support for HD video recording. RAM and processing power are also much below the current industry standard. BlackBerry smartphones are not in any way future-proof. The most feature-rich RIM product can only be compared to iPhone 4. After 2011, we have not seen any major BlackBerry release that could in any way hurt the competition.
History of BlackBerry Failures
BlackBerry used to enjoy a non-declining user base even after the advent of iPhone and Android-powered array of smartphones. But in 2011, RIM reported revenue fall of nearly a billion dollars. That was just the beginning. In that year, RIM shares have dropped over 77 per cent.
By July 2011, RIM cut down about 2000 jobs, which is almost 11 per cent of its total workforce.
After bleak sales figures, Morgan Stanley downgraded RIM earlier this year, causing it to fall flat to about 94 per cent below the peak share price.
By August, RIM’s CEO Thorsten Heins spoke about BlackBerry 10 OS which will be released in the coming month. He was mentioning a go-back to the original BlackBerry style which appealed to business owners.
Why BlackBerry Failed?
This is an interesting question indeed. BlackBerry is a kind of classic company that does not know the art of innovation. It wants to maintain a classic approach to handset making and mobile computing. It wants to maintain its own operating system with emphasis on business and hardware design incorporating a QWERTY keyboard on all devices (even the ones with touchscreens). It has failed to know that smartphone industry is different from some other, such as watch-making or diamond-crafting, in which the classic approach is more successful than innovative approach.
When Apple came up with iPhone, an innovation that consumers welcomed, BlackBerry continued with its laid-back approach and did not even try to innovate. Looking at the BlackBerry phones of the past (from Electron and Pearl to the current Bold and Torch models), you cannot spot big changes.
BlackBerry has failed to see the future of smartphones where online video and games would become a necessity. A 3.7 inch BlackBerry screen is crammed up so badly that basic mobile apps will not work properly.
After people have been introduced to screen sizes of over 5 inches, do you think they would return to BlackBerry’s small screens? Also, touchscreens provide better support for messaging and typing than BlackBerry’s crammed QWERTY.
In fact, I have been waiting to see some sort of innovation from BlackBerry or its death.
You Can Get Other Phones
If you are an ardent fan of BlackBerry, learn the hard truth. It is time to find another phone that will satisfy your needs. Android phones are enjoying immense success along with Apple iPhone and Windows Phone. Hardware and available apps are great in these devices.
I have been noticing BlackBerry phones being given away for lower and lower prices by AT&T and Verizon. It probably is a stunt to sell away the remaining stock. For the future, however, it is always better to ensure you are going to receive proper hardware and software support for your device. And this is one of the reasons why you should purchase phones from a thriving manufacturer.
BlackBerry smartphones used to be popular and successful at a time, and they are no longer. The company’s failure is highly attributable to its lack of innovation. Other manufacturers soon took advantage of this weak side of BlackBerry and managed to outpace the company.