blackberry logo 246-You/Flickr

Everyone thought Research In Motion was done for, and rightly so. RIM has been the leading choice for businesses all over the globe for many years. It was the brand that had market strongholds that were once thought impenetrable. And no one had ever imagined that iOS and Android would spell its doom. But they did.

For a season, they were gone. Absent. Irrelevant. Ostracized by the very market they had once built. For the first time, Blackberry had to ask hard questions that led to harder answers. But they never gave up. They made no excuses about burning platforms nor settled for a “third best” ecosystem. It paid off.

Enter the new Blackberry.

Developer attention and market excitement

Although the new Blackberry phones will run some Android Gingerbread apps from launch, that should not deter anyone from trying out these new devices. In the last year, Android has made huge strides in terms of app quality, and it’s a fact that these apps are making money in ways even Apple can’t.

Spurred by Blackberry’s new interface and many innovations, one can see a change of heart among developers. Plus, the market reaction seems surprisingly positive. Although one could spot a healthy dose of cynicism in many reviews, it’s no doubt that Blackberry is back in the spotlight.

Blackberry will overtake Nokia

The market share that Blackberry once possessed was quickly gobbled up by Android and iOS, while Nokia had a share of the leftovers. With their first generation of new devices, Blackberry will not be a threat to Android and iOS, at least not in the next one or two years.

However, I am pretty confident in Blackberry’s enterprise prowess; they will quickly swarm over Nokia. Feeling the threat, Nokia didn’t have any kind words to greet Blackberry with. Instead, they welcomed Blackberry with a cowardly pre-emptive intimidation strategy.

blackberry z10

Blackberry is bad news for everyone except Samsung and Apple

As far as competing operating systems are concerned, there’s no reason to worry, that is, if you’re Samsung or Apple. That said, Blackberry’s return into the field should alarm the likes of HTC, Sony, LG, ASUS, and perhaps Motorola.

Earlier in this article, we established why Nokia dislikes Blackberry’s return. Should Android manufacturers worry? Not all of them will be affected. HTC, Motorola, and ASUS have, in their own way, achieved a level of innovation that will keep them afloat.

LG and Sony have shown signs of a comeback, with devices like the Nexus 4 and the Xperia Z being received with enthusiasm. But will it be enough to get them through the rough patch?

Develop once, earn twice 

The new Blackberry devices support Android apps, with Ice Cream Sandwich support down the road. This means, that, for the first time, Android developers can easily repackage their apps for the Blackberry platform.

Multi-platform support has always been a challenge for app developers. Should this strategy be successful, it will give Blackberry a huge boost. Naturally, there are a lot of probles at play, like:

  • Will it be possible to buy an app once, and have it run on two ecosystems?
  • Will Google Apps get a strong footing on Blackberry like Google Maps had on iOS?
  • Just how easy is it to port Android apps to Blackberry devices?

Instead of seeing Blackberry as a competitor, Google should work with Blackberry to get the Play Store and other Google services on Blackberry OS. After that, take a commission from paid apps downloaded on Blackberry OS. I know this sounds absolutely crazy. But think about it. Google gets to improve their services on Blackberry and further secures its ecosystem as the preferable one.

This may mean that Blackberry would have to pay Google for every paid app they sell, but at least they wouldn’t have to do all the work building a new ecosystem.

Only time will tell

Blackberry has made some sort of a comeback. Previous efforts have failed them, but unlike the PlayBook, the new phones will have a measure of success. If you noticed (I did), Blackberry’s latest phones got more positive reviews compared to Nokia’s first Windows Phones. That says a lot about Blackberry.

It also reinforces the fact that Nokia hasn’t really succeeded in providing enough differentiation within the Windows ecosystem to get consumers to switch to their products. Even if it takes three years before Blackberry find its place in the new smartphone world, the perspective is intimidating enough to worry Nokia.

As a lover of mobile tech, I am personally excited about Blackberry’s return, and from the look of it, I believe that, within the next 6 to 12 months, Blackberry will surpass Nokia. I’m just waiting for the dogfight to begin.

  • hmmm.
    Thats a sort of a theory, this is.

    There are other questions opened. Like why use a blackberrys android apps if you can just use android.
    And more importantly – what is the general benefit to blackberry?

    • Filip Justin

      I’ll tell you, there is no point in having a Blackberry right now. It’s because of the rivals’ apps and the adoption by users.

      • Disagree. LOTS of great reasons. Take a look at the device and the UX. There’s innovation all over it. Been using one for 4 months. LOVE it.

  • gemini

    I don’t think blackberry has returned though,
    not many people excited with recent bb z10 & q10 announcement.
    in fact most might already forget it by now :D

    but they still have chance. let’s see in next 3-6 months if they can deliver some good bb10 phone.

  • Luis Reynaldo Corcino

    While i like the direction the BB10 is going, i don’t like how they are using Andriod Apps on their OS. What happens if for some reason, Google decides that all apps posted on the Playstore, couldn’t be repacked for BB10? Or changing an API or another component, making it impossible to port apps…they will be doomed. I don’t know if just feel like Android is being taken advantage of or something, but i seriously don’t like that idea. It sucks. They are recognizing that they can’t create a great app store for their OS, and are just using the all the effort and marketing investment that Google have already used to motivate developers to develop apps on their platform. IMO, Google should make a way to make it illegal to port apps to BB10. Yeah, kind ot square thinking, but Google is just being taken advantage of, which i don’t really like.

    • There’s no problem here.

      Google open sourced the Dalvik VM, so BlackBerry was free to use it. Google is not being taken advange of. They know EXACTLY what they’re doing. Remember, they make their money from advertising. :-)

      Also, your comment about “They are recognizing that they can’t create a great app store for their OS…” doesn’t make any sense. BlackBerry World (our app store), is awesome. Numerous independent analysts have found it to be the most profitable mobile marketplace for app developers. Over half the apps are written mostly in C and C++, then comes web technologies (NOTE: not stupid “mobile web apps” like you see on other platforms, but real apps written using Javascript, HTML5, and CSS), and then comes AIR apps and Android Apps.

  • Ivan Budiutama

    the plus point is BBM as the integral part of community if you are Indonesian, most of the times Indonesian will consider Blackberry is a must. But again BBM is available on older Blackberry model, you might as well get the older model, considering the price gap. Other than that, it is a “not too bad but not too great” phone that is very expensive, might as well getting a high end Android for similar price, Nexus 4 might be a good choice.

  • stefano leva

    I believe we’ll see more attention coming to BlackBerry when the Q10 will be launched. Nokia, Sony, HTC and LG are surely going to suffer BB as well as they are gping to suffer the Kindle Phone when Amazon will bring it to the market.

  • Interesting that you are predicting Blackberry to overtake Nokia’s market share.

    • Exactly. I don’t see how Nokia could innovate further in terms of software, since it will be somewhat restricted in a sense.
      They might do so in the hardware, but they haven’t really done that either.