Research In Motion or RIM has officially announced its first new BlackBerry 10 devices: the Z10 and the Q10.

The Z10 is arguably the company’s first contemporary smartphone. It runs on the company’s new operating system BlackBerry 10 and the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the device will launch mid-March in the US.

The reviews of the new device have started coming in and it’s a little bit of a mixed bag.

The Z10 looks modern and the software has been refreshed to look a lot more contemporary – more akin to an Apple iPhone or the Samsung Galaxy S3.

RIMM also gave reporters a sneak peek at its new Q10 phone which looks like the hybrid we would expect (it has a keyboard on the phone) from the company that makes BlackBerry phones.

So this makes sense right? A totally redesigned OS, and different phone designs?

I am not really sure any of this makes any difference.

The fact of the matter is the company may have waited too long to develop this technology and this valiant effort may have come too late.

I believe this for a few reasons.

First, the brand is not cool and trendy anymore. The BlackBerry brand is associated with business people and the enterprise. I believe it will be hard to make the transition back to a more widely accepted brand.

Second of all, apart from the keyboard, it’s unclear what value the new phones bring that cannot be achieved with an iPhone or any Android device.

As Microsoft may be finding out, consumers need to quickly and clearly understand what value your offering provides. Ambiguity is never really a good sign.

Third, timing is everything. Microsoft has recently launched Windows 8 and its corresponding phone OS – Windows Phone 8. With the tremendous amount of resources Microsoft is able to bring to this fight, it’s hard to see RIM besting Microsoft in this arena.

Also, RIM only make phones. There is no compelling ecosystem you buy into when you buy a RIM smartphone. This is a significant disadvantage when waging war against Google, Apple and Microsoft.

And finally, the company is still doing odd things like hiring (and announcing) celebrity singer and pianist Alicia Keys to be its “creative director” on the day of its big launch.

The Verge put it best:

…because the iPhone was briefly cool, BlackBerry feels like it needs to be cool too, so it throws a bunch of money at a celebrity and hopes that having Alicia Keys come on stage will help them seem like rock stars instead of the awkward cover band they really are….The problem is, products don’t really need to be cool. They just need to work. And the harder you try to convince us they’re cool, the more we start to worry about whether they work.

Frankly, even though the technology in the phones seems to be very competitive (Storage, Memory, Processor, Screen and more), I still believe the company’s best days may be behind it.

I believe that RIM makes more sense as an acquisition target for Microsoft than as an independent company.

If the company is not acquired, I would hold and not invest any money in RIM for at least six months to one calendar year. It will probably take that long for us to see how this new OS and product launch turns out.

Something tells me however that we won’t have to wait that long.

About the Author

Onuora Amobi is the Founder and VP of Digital Marketing at Learn About The Web Inc. Onuora has more than a decade of information security, project management and management consulting experience. He has specialized in the management and deployment of large scale ERP client/server systems.

In addition to being a former Microsoft MVP and the founder and editor of, he is the CEO of a Pasadena based online marketing education startup - Learn About The Web Inc. ( and The Redmond Cloud (

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  • Vivek

    BB will surely fight with any Smart phone bcos that one is the evergreen classic mobile for official use & no one can beat them

    • Rex

      One more thing, If BB10 comes to Japan before Windows Phone 8, my already extremely low impression of MS Japan will drop to rediculously low levels.

      • Re

        Sorry, replied to the wrong post.

  • Rex

    To me, I think the fatal flaw for BB10 is that the current BES systems can not support it. This means that enterprises must buy licenses for the new system and likely run both systems concurrently on additional infrastructure. Enterprises thinking of jumping ship will see no reason not to do so, and die hard continuing enterprises will also likely not change directions. They need to reverse the trend, not just let it continue.
    For consumers, I dont see the draw here to buy as this is still an enterprise device, they have convinced no one that they are anything but that.

    • Richard Edge

      The current BES system is now BES 10 and it does support BB10, and iOS, and Android. Even out of the Box BB10 is more secure than any other device with BlackBerry Balance that gives you a completely separate work/person environment on the same device. Many businesses are now buying into BlackBerry for the additional MDM services as well.

      • Rex

        When I say current, I mean the system that most enterprises currently have in place. BES10 as far as I can see itself can not manage older BB devices. This means that yes, you can add a BES10 system in to manage the older BES systems, but you must add to the architecture, not replace it. This is key because it requires enterprises additional cost to implement BB10. And that is what I am talking about. Any time an Enterprise has to pay money, they will look at alternatives.
        Also remember the influence factor. When an Enterprise sends one of its employees to a customer with what is considered archaic technology, it sends a bad message. Blackberry now has this image. Can BB10 overcome this? That is the question that I do not have an answer to. But I can tell you it wont change over night.

  • Andrew Grush

    BB10 looks good but there is one problem: it doesn’t offer anything new. Windows Phone 8 gave us live tiles and other Windows-centric features. BB10 plays catchup to iOS and Android. It’s enough to probably keep current BB users from switching, but I can’t see many making the jump from their current platform. It is also missing Netflix, Hulu and many other key apps.

    Also– just for the record “RIM” doesn’t exist anymore. At their press event they officially ditched the name. The company is simply Blackberry now. 🙂

  • Robert Kegel

    BB10 has a lot of nice little things but nothing bit. I do like the onscreen keyboard and they way it handles predictive text thats probably the biggest thing. The learning keyboard is kind of nice too that tracks your fingers and in time learns where to put the keys so typing is more accurate. The rest is nice but nothing really great, they basically caught up with Android and Windows Phone and they passed apple in some respects (NFC and the onscreen keyboard technology). Windows Phone and Android have more things going for them though. This is still early so who knows. I think its a good start and for people who love Blackberries its worth it. I can see people who had Blackberries before and switched to the iphone or Android, MIGHT switch back to Blackberry.

    I think Nokia with the options it put into the Lumia 910 and even the 810 is much more compelling (more sensitive screen to use with gloves or finger nail, the camera technology, the sound technology, the Nokia apps. We’ll see though.