Carriers interested in BlackBerry 10; will developers and consumers bite?

Carriers are eager to see a challenge to the growing dominance of iOS and Android, but success or failure will, according to one analyst, come down to developers and customers.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion RIM will this week reveal its earnings for the fiscal third quarter, and while expectations are subdued, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon - the form of the new BlackBerry 10 platform. Can a revamped platform help turn the company around?

According to Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu, optimism connected to BlackBerry 10 has been has been growing in recent weeks, and this has helped shares more than double from their 52-week low.

Driving this optimism are the cellphone carriers, who, according to Wu, are becoming "increasingly leery of the growing dominance of iOS and Android and have been looking for a viable third or potentially fourth platform." That platform, the carriers hope, could be either BlackBerry 10 and/or Windows 8. With that in mind, they are hedging their bets by giving BlackBerry 10 some moral support.

But serious questions remain, not just about that BlackBerry 10 will offer users, but whether there's a space in the market for BlackBerry. Wu questions whether there's a need for a third or fourth mobile operating system touch-based platform.

Developer support and customer adoption of BlackBerry has, as Wu points out in a research note, so far been "lukewarm," and this could derail any hopes the carriers might have of being able to nurture a competitor to the twin juggernauts of iOS and Android.

The key, according to Wu, is not just the number of apps in a particular app store, but the symbiotic relationship between developers making money from the apps, and customers who buy and use them.

2013 could be the make or break year for BlackBerry.

Editorial standards