It was a more humble BlackBerry team that came to Auckland last week to launch the company’s new platform and smartphone, the Z10. “The arrogance is gone, the sense of entitlement is gone,” says Matthew Ball, managing director for BlackBerry in Australia and New Zealand.
Ball is fronting a new campaign to recapture market share for the company formerly known as Research in Motion.
“We are reinventing ourselves from the ground up, redesigning ourselves as an organisation, every process, every area of the business, the way we go to market.”
He says the company has listened to complaints about slow browsing speed and lack of apps.
Ball claims the BlackBerry Z10 is “the only device built from the ground up from mobile. It is not retrofitted from desktop to mobile.”
He says for the first time, the company is putting a “dedicated lead” in New Zealand, with the appointment of Jennifer Strange as head of NZ sales. Strange was formerly NZ telco and retail manager at Dell.
Dual persona smartphone
Jonathan Jackson, technical account manager, ANZ, says the BlackBerry devices of old were corporate driven.
He says lots of people with BlackBerry devices use it for enterprise or work and have other phones “to do fun stuff”. But the new platform, BlackBerry 10, has a “dual persona”, with the consumer side of the device and the enterprise workspace existing side by side.
BlackBerry’s Balance technology separates and secures work applications and data from personal content on BlackBerry devices.
“I don’t have to carry a laptop, I can do anything with my device,” says Jackson who delivered his PowerPoint presentation using a BlackBerry Z10.
The keyboard customises itself and learns where the user hits the keys on the keypad. It learns what words they frequently use and how they are being used, then offers these up so the user can type faster and more accurately.
“Our job is to be as transformative in the mobility space as we were 20 years ago in the paging space,” says Ball.
The next step is how to transform mobile computing beyond mobile phone or laptop and really take category leadership, says Ball.
“Our role is less about breaking new grounds globally. We have 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies. Our job is not necessarily to win new customers but retain those customers,” he says.
“CIOs need to make not only decisions that are best for them as a business but also what the employees want.”
“We have a job to do, it is a big job.”
Source: State of the Mobile Enterprise Q1 2013 (Appcelerator and IDC)
Aman Bajag, associate market analyst at IDC, says IDC figures on market share of shipments of devices into New Zealand show a decline for BlackBerry from five percent in 2011, to 2 percent in 2012.
Gartner, on the other hand, says through 2016, BlackBerry will achieve less than five percent worldwide smartphone market share.
Balancing the needs of the IT departments and the users is important to the success of the BlackBerry platform with the rise of BYOD, notes Gartner in a research report.
“There is no question that for BlackBerry to remain relevant in the market the bet is on winning users in the BYOD space, not just appealing to IT departments, and BlackBerry's management knows this,” according to the report written by Gartner analysts Carolina Milanesi, Roberta Cozza and Brian Blau.
They said it is no coincidence that the new platform lets users connect to Microsoft Exchange, and not just BlackBerry servers.
The latest State of the Mobile Enterprise report notes iOS and Android remain the top enterprise platforms. Apple’s iOS is the top choice, with 80.1 percent of respondents “very interested” in developing for the iPhone and 79 percent “very interested” in developing for the iPad tablets.
Meanwhile, 64.4 percent are “very interested” in developing platforms for Android phones and 52.4 percent for Android tablets. Ten percent said they were “very interested” in developing for the BlackBerry Phones and six percent for the BlackBerry Playbook (tablet). The survey was conducted by Appcelerator and IDC on November 15 to December 1, 2012.
The report also found platform preferences are “fairly consistent across developers and enterprises, despite slightly lower interest for Android and iOs among the enterprise developers.”