BlackBerry Back on Key(board)
BlackBerry executives have been confessing recently that the most asked question during the modestly successful Z10 launch is "where's the keyboard?" The answer to that thorny problem went on-sale in England over the weekend with the traditional-looking Q10 being ravenously snapped up by BB-fan die-hard executives in what really amounts to little more than a neat PR coup. Blackberry stock was up around 3% in morning trading on NASDAQ.
These movers and shakers have likely kept their BB7 devices, flying in the face of iPhone and Samsung fashions, waiting for the right device for their business and high-flying social needs. Selfridges (via in-store Carphone Warehouse outlets) in London, Manchester and Birmingham were the only places to buy one at the weekend, hence the rush. According to reports, many of the sales were to bulk-buyers snapping up dozens of units per purchase for export.
The Q10 goes on-sale at other outlets in the U.K and Canada from tomorrow (30 April), and with a nice barrage of press building up from this early coup, it seems likely to be more successful than the Z10. The Q10 comes with a 3.14-inch screen, enhanced BlackBerry keyboard and the new BB10 operating system with 16GB of RAM and 4G LTE.
Selling the Q10
Vendors like Rogers in Canada will be selling the Q10 on a CDN$ 200, 3-year contract. In the U.K. Vodafone are offering it for free on a £37-two-year contract with a 1GB data allowance (but much of the UK lacks 4G at this point). The U.S. launch is due for the end of May. That's going to coincide with a Nokia launch event but otherwise seems to be avoiding major mobile news.
With BB10 now getting users behind the apps are starting to appear with Microsoft recently offering a dedicated version of Skype, but browsing through the BlackBerry World app store Productivity section, apart from an Opera browser, big-name content still seems light on the ground.
Assuming business-app developers get moving, then enterprise users who stuck with BlackBerry through the bad users will be upgrading in droves. But, once those early adopters (both individual and corporate) are out the way it will be up to BlackBerry to develop a compelling case for its new ecosystem to potential users faced with an embarrassment of rich options.