Back in 2008, BlackBerry commanded a market share of over 40 percent, with a stock price north of $140. Today, its market share has dropped under 7 percent, and the stock has dipped under $17. The company hopes that the new QNX-based BlackBerry 10 operating system will revitalize the system for users, developers, and ultimately investors.
BlackBerry announced two phone models today: The Q10 with a physical keyboard and the Z10 with a touch keyboard. Both are using the BB10 operating system. The Z10 touchscreen measures 4.2 inches diagonally and has a very high 356 dots per inch density. The Q10 features a smaller screen with a familiar keyboard underneath.
The central user interface for BB10 is called BlackBerry Flow. All programs are running at once (true multitasking), and you can use a single thumb gesture to take a peek at what is going on in the other windows.
The BlackBerry Hub integrates all your media streams including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, BBM (instant messaging), calendars, phone calls, and emails. All can be read inside the Hub program without executing third party apps.
Other features highlighted today include:
An innovative touch keyboard with features such as multi-language support and toss to complete
BlackBerry Balance allows you to separate your IT-controlled business software from your personal software, yet see both in a consolidated view
Voice and video calls through BBM
BBM Screenshare lets you share your screen with the personal you're calling
BlackBerry Reminder for events and appointments; syncs with Evernote
New camera and picture-editor application
Story Maker to build slideshows and videos.
BlackBerry's app store is called BlackBerry World, and it contains over 70,000 apps today. Some of them include:
Pricing and availability will vary by country and carrier with some available as early as tomorrow. One price mentioned was $170 with a three-year contract for the Z10.
BlackBerry's new global creative director is Alicia Keys. She has been working on a project called Keep Moving that aims to inspire other creative people to use the platform.
BlackBerry decided to create BB10 from scratch, so it's an entirely new platform. Developers will have to decide whether or not to support the platform based on how well it sells, and it will sell based on how many apps it has. Starting with 70,000 apps out of the gate will certainly help that. The price is reasonable, the technology competitive, and IT features such as BlackBerry Balance will appeal to BlackBerry's core enterprise audience.
Unfortunately for BlackBerry, though, it's unlikely it'll ever be able to achieve much more than a niche market share. Its customers will be people who are forced to use the devices through work, who will use more popular and better-supported devices running iOS and Android for their personal needs. Consumer features are driving innovation into business, not the other way around, so BlackBerry will always be playing catch-up.
If BlackBerry 10 had come out three or four years ago it would have been noteworthy. But now, the world has moved on.