Research In Motion on Monday began teasing its newest smartphone today by showing a vague picture of the back of one of its new BlackBerry 10 devices on its website. There is not much to see. Looks like a rubberized back panel with maybe a power button on top and volume control on the sides. Really, it is not much to get excited about.
Or is it?
Is BlackBerry Sentiment About To Turn?
As the long-delayed BlackBerry 10 readies for its launch announcement on January 30th, sentiment may be starting to turn for the beleaguered Research In Motion. Wall Street analysts have given a yellow light to RIM’s stock rating (as opposed to the bright red light it has been facing for several years) and what we've seen of BlackBerry 10 so far do not automatically tell us that the operating system will be a dud. People might even be starting to care about BlackBerry again - and caring about BlackBerry has not been particularly popular for the last three years or so.
For instance, the BlackBerry 10 phone teaser picture has seen a variety of press coverage, both from the popular tech blogs and even some in the mainstream media. Yes almost every new mobile device garners some press attention, but successfully adding its forthcoming BlackBerry 10 smartphones back into the conversation is a big win for BlackBerry.
One reason is that RIM has simply not released anything worth a damn since (loose approximation) the BlackBerry Bold 9000. If anything, RIM created bit of a morbid curiosity around BlackBerry 10 by going on a world developer tour to show off the “Alpha” version of its new operating system. And then there's the fact that the new line of BlackBerry smartphones has already been delayed several times before RIM finally pledged to annnounce the new phones in January. Everybody loves a good train wreck, and in the mobile industry there has been no bigger derailment then RIM's fall from grace.
Android, Not iPhone, Killed BlackBerry
Since RIM started its rapid decline, the smartphone world has turned into a virtual duopoly between Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone. Many point to the iPhone as the harbinger of RIM’s downfall, but BlackBerry's real killer has been Android. Nearly 75% of global smartphone shipments in the third quarter of 2012 were Android, leaving little room for its rivals.
Oddly, this may work in RIM’s favor. The BlackBerry 10's long-delayed launch may avoid the overcrowded holiday device launch season . RIM has situated the BlackBerry 10 launch to fall directly between the two biggest mobile conferences of the year - right after the Consumer Electronics Show in mid-January and right before Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. For a moment, at least, RIM will have the stage all to itself.
RIM’s job now is to build as much anticipation as possible. Today, we got the backside of a new BlackBerry 10 device. Next, we might get a peek at the bezel. It is a predictable form of viral marketing but, in it's really about all RIM has going right now.
So is it time to start getting excited for BlackBerry 10? Or is Research In Motion just playing the hype cycle game? Take the poll below and let us know what you think: