Phone Arena carries a news item about the likelihood that BlackBerry will cut production by 10% this quarter. It is no news that the new BlackBerry OS 10 smartphones are not selling as much as was expected. It isn’t surprising either. With the retail prices that the Canadian company put on those new devices at launch, there was no way those devices were going to be a runaway hit.
In my opinion, BlackBerry needs to stop trying to ape Apple’s premium product model. With a little bit of hindsight, it is obvious to anyone who reads that it is the low-end and mid-range that catapulted the BlackBerry brand into a global force. This silly attempt to ignore those levels in pricing won’t do. BlackBerry needs to review their strategy and cut selling prices.
I have played a bit with all of the new BB10 smartphones – the Z10, Q10, and Q5. They are solid devices. But they won’t be hits at the cost of N66,000 and N92,000 and N60,000 respectively. I have said this before and will say it again. There are those who have attempted to excuse the prices. The market is speaking loudly. The numbers don’t lie. Imagine what an OS10 smartphone costing N25,000 or N30,000 will do to the market. Boom! What BlackBerry needs is an 8520 remake. Or a 9220/9320 remake. Put OS10 in either of those babies!
Look at what happened with Windows Phone: Microsoft and partners started out by pushing high-end devices, and it got them zilch. It was a dumb move. It wasn’t until Nokia woke up and began to push more affordable models that Windows Phone sales took off. The Lumia 520 is the fastest selling Windows Phone smartphone on the planet. It is the same pattern with Android – the price points that BlackBerry is ignoring now are the ones that made Android dominance possible. Okay, go back way back to the days when Symbian was king: same model. BlackBerry is not Apple. Both may be fruits, but the former should not be delusional about their position.
What BlackBerry should have done was put out one hero or flagship model (the Z10) and make it cost an arm and a leg for those who need the feeling of exclusivity, then push out one low-end and one mid-tier device costing say N30,000 and N45,000 respectively. Boom!
Please don’t tell me that BlackBerry is still addressing the low end with new devices running older OS7. That is bullshit (pardon my French). No one wants to live in the past. Very much the same way that I called Nokia out for still shipping those dumb Windows Phone 7 smartphones when something much better was available, I think it is cow dung for BlackBerry to still be shipping OS7 devices when OS10 is available. I know the logistics. I know. Still… when push comes to shove, you have to do what you have to do. But then, like I have said before, perhaps OS10 is not as optimised for low-power resources as we would have hoped. In which case, we might as well pronounce BlackBerry’s demise upfront. BlackBerry became huge on the wings of the low-end market. If OS10 is unable to play in the low-end market, this fight is over.
Dear BlackBerry, cut the prices of your OS10 phones, or give us affordable OS10 phones, and please stop sending those devices running OS7 to consumers. Somehow, your consumers know the difference and expect better.
Read the full news item on Phone Arena: Analyst: BlackBerry to cut production by 10%.