The BlackBerry Q10 is just arriving in the market, but a new poll from TechRepublic indicates that 64% of former BlackBerry fans who have converted to iPhone or Android in recent years are tempted by the Q10 to make the switch back.
Reports of strong demand for the Q10 have circulated in recent weeks. A new report this morning showed BlackBerry regaining lost market share in Canada. Several commenters to the TechRepublic poll supported that narrative.
TechRepublic user Vijitc, a multinational CIO, wrote in the comments:
"BlackBerry woes made me switch to [Galaxy S3] last summer. Did not expect BlackBerry to make a come back. Like Android as a tablet. I have Nexus 7. But as a business phone the Galaxy does not cut it. Will definitely return to Q10 and will keep Nexus 7 tethered to Q10 hot spot for video apps."
The TechRepublic poll was run this week during BlackBerry Live 2013 when interest and exposure naturally peaked for BlackBerry. This is a self-selected poll so the numbers likely skew a little high for people interested in this topic, but the percentage was still higher than expected. With over 1,300 participants among TechRepublic's audience of IT professionals and business managers, this poll had plenty of responses to make it statistically significant.
The other question that TechRepublic asked was if the Q10 was enough to keep current BlackBerry users in the fold and avoid a future jump to Android or iOS. The response was even more emphatic in BlackBerry's favor there, as 76% said it was.
TechRepublic commenter PurpleSkys, a Canadian business manager, wrote:
"I personally prefer they little keyboard... Keep in mind, BlackBerry has had touch for a while now. My Torch is a touch and it's a few years old. And the new BB Z10 is all touch... I'm waiting for my next upgrade with our service provider to get the new Q10."
There were also plenty of commenters who didn't plan to switch back or were on the fence. TechRepublic member Croiona, an IT department head in Great Britain, wrote:
"I moved from a Nokia E71 to an HTC Desire and then to a BB Bold. The only reason I switched to BB was because it had a touch screen but retained a conventional keypad. I hated the touch-screen typing on the HTC and wanted to have the best of both worlds. I'm not a touch typist, but I find a conventional keypad allows me to type much faster and more accurately. I'm now faced with the dilema of whether to switch back to an Android with a better sized screen and a wider range of apps, but have to suffer the touch screen typing, or stay with BB and hope it starts to catch up with all the apps available elsewhere."
I know a lot of business professionals who were long-time BlackBerry users that are now on Android and iPhone and almost all of them say that the biggest thing they miss is the hardware keyboard. Most of them comment that they write fewer and shorter emails on their phones now that they have devices with touch keyboards. For those that are tempted to go back, I'm sure they'll have to wrestle with the app trade-off that Croiona mentioned.
Nevertheless, the fact that these IT and business professionals are even considering a BlackBerry again is a win for the company. We'll watch to see if consideration can turn to into momentum for the Q10 over the remainder of 2013 as the first wave of these users have wireless contracts that come up for renewal.