BlackBerry (formerly Research in Motion or RIM) has released a new operating system and a brand new phone that has won praise from Apple fans such as New York Times’ David Pogue.
But despite the accolades, there is an undercurrent of dissent. It’s a great phone, but how can it unseat Apple and Google?
Microsoft did a great job with its Windows 8 phone, has launched its own app store and yet is struggling to put a dent in the sales figures of Apple and Android.
BlackBerry needs to focus on the apps most important to executives – the ones that run their business.
BlackBerry will also have a tough time building up an inventory fast enough and with sufficient quality to compete with the thousands of games, weather and stock updates and niche task apps on the other platforms.
BlackBerry’s best bet is to ignore the consumer market totally, at least in the short term.
The Canadian company needs to become again an indispensable tool for its core audience of corporate users. Instead of building yet another platform for Angry Birds, BlackBerry needs to focus on the apps most important to executives – the ones that run their business.
There is a huge opportunity for a smartphone and tablet manufacturer to become the mobile platform of choice for cloud business software. BlackBerry could be that player. Yes, Google has tied its cloud productivity suite Google Apps closely to its Android devices, but many Google Apps users prefer to stick with their iPhones and iPads. The same goes for Microsoft Office 365 users. The number of business apps and potential integration is much wider than this.
If BlackBerry integrated its operating system with Salesforce.com or SugarCRM it could become the default handset for enterprise sales executives the world over.
If BlackBerry integrated its phone call system with cloud-based telephony services such as Fonality or Ringio, businesses would never have to buy another PBX phone switch again.
If BlackBerry integrated near-field communications and electronic wallet with cloud accounting software, the smartphone would kill off the expense sheet.
Let Apple integrate iOS with Twitter and Facebook. The consumer market is flooded with options. But business is still waiting for the perfect smartphone. Will BlackBerry recognise and seize the opportunity?