By Adam Doud | May 15, 2013 7:00 AM
“Is anybody out there?
Does anybody wonder?
Those words, so deftly harmonized by Joe Elliot, he of the shiny golden locks, pretty much sum up what’s been going on in the world of Blackberry of late. Is Blackberry still alive? Well, they kicked off it’s annual event yesterday, this year called unironically “Blackberry Live” and brought with it a few announcements of note.
First and foremost, Blackberry has finally gotten their very own Centro. The Q5 was announced yesterday, a low-mid range phone designed for “emerging markets” (Read: no one in a modern market would be caught dead with one). It sports a full qwerty keyboard, a 3.1 inch screen, and a list of lower end specs and is generally unexciting. Except that it comes in pink. Seriously.
Next, Blackberry revealed that their popular messaging service BBM was going multi-platform, specifically to iOS and Android. This is a bold move on Blackberry’s part, in that while it does satisfy a long-demanded customer’s desire, it also pulls a major differentiating carpet out from under them. Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?
We also learned that Alicia Keyes amazingly still has a job. We still haven’t seen any business cards of hers with “Global Creative Director” on them, but they seem to be sticking to their story. My money’s still on the fact that she’s using an iPhone on the daily, but we’ll leave off of her for now, only because the Alicia Keyes “thing” is so 5 months ago. Oh yeah, she said something about Blackberry putting up a scholarship for something, but we were all too busy slapping our foreheads to hear her.
A History Of Wha?
Blackberry hasn’t done a whole lot right in recent years. First there was the dueling CEO’s (insert banjo riff here), then there was the Blackberry messenger outage, the release of a tablet with no email support, the two year silence during which most people forgot they were alive and the re-emergence still insisting that today’s society needs a physical keyboard.
Finally, the CEO of Blackberry (a mobile device company) was quoted as saying not long ago that tablets (mobile devices) will be extinct within 5 years. There will be no use for them. We tried to come up with an apt description of this statement, but our lawyers won’t let us use anything more than delusional. So we’re going to go with delusional.
All this leads me to believe that Blackberry is still under the impression that people still care. Some people do, sure. But for the most part, Def Leppard’s got the jist of it. There is nobody out there. And it’s mostly Blackberry’s own fault.
They really are fighting an uphill battle here, and they’re counting on the masses to help them out. The problem is, while Blackberry was taking their two-year power nap, the masses all moved on. Android and Apple have taken over the mobile space, leaving virtually no room in the market for a smartphone, even a returning champion like Blackberry.
It’s Not All Bad…
In fairness, the Blackberry Z10 is about the smartest thing Blackberry has done of late. They managed to realize that there was something to this whole screen real estate/virtual keyboard thing. Even the staunchest physical keyboard supporter would be hard pressed to go back to a tiny screen if it came with a keyboard. And this is coming, by the way, from one of the staunchest physical keyboard defenders. I’ve adapted, and so has most everyone else. The physical keyboard just doesn’t put butts in the seats any more, as pointed out by our own Taylor Martin.
It’s early, Blackberry fans. Don’t start the comment hammering until I’m able to point out that Blackberry has managed to sell roughly 2.5 to 3 million units since their January release. Relatively impressive numbers, though some sources point out that return rates are actually exceeding sales in some areas ). That’s likely a bit of an overblown or sensationalist statistic, but it’s fair to assume that some units have been returned, given our own lackluster review of the unit and the operating system.
Overall, the buzz of Blackberry just isn’t there. People just aren’t talking about it. At least not in our circles. And when it is talked about, it’s often as a punchline.
Blackberry clearly has some work to do. They’re only one day into their three-day conference, so maybe there is more exciting news to come. We here sure hope so, because if not, Blackberry’s two-year nap may turn into a coma until life support is finally pulled.
Cuz’ baby I’m not….f-f-f-foolin’.