If the Priv failed to get BlackBerry back, can the DTEK50?
BlackBerry is a funny little company. Once a juggernaut in the mobile space, it has since fallen from grace. Overwhelming numbers by Android and iOS pushed BlackBerry down into the dreaded “other” category on most pie charts. Many companies would have silently slipped tail between legs and slinked off, but not BlackBerry, and that’s actually one of the thing I admire about the company.
Overwhelming evidence suggests that BlackBerry has hit the canvas so many times, even LL Cool J is saying “Ain’t gonna Comeback”. But here comes Blackberry with another offering – the DTEK50 – with the hopes of selling handsets once more. Some may call it a fool’s errand. I think it’s potentially bold.
Play the game
BlackBerry has seemingly come to terms with the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” philosophy and started shipping Android on its handsets. First the Priv, and now the DTEK50 and both shipping with Android. Heck, BlackBerry’s marketing even calls Android a “feature” so that alone deserves a win. But while the Priv was high-end hardware, the DTEK50 is decidedly midrange. Even the name suggests something more “Home Shopping Network” rather than premium hardware. I think I bought a blender once called the DTEK50.
So, BlackBerry is targeting a midrange market, but there is a lot of competition in the midrange market, including the Idol 4 which bears a…ahem…striking resemblance to the DTEK50. Indeed, what is great news for phone buyers everywhere might turn out to be bad news for BlackBerry since there is almost more competition in the midrange category than there is in the flagship category.
Or maybe what is happening is that BlackBerry is building a healthy portfolio of Android devices so it can offer a full range of devices. Indeed, the Priv is still premium hardware and hardly out of date. No one is criticizing Samsung for having a wide range of offerings, why should we criticize BlackBerry? Even Apple has decided it needs to offer more variety to target a wider range of customers. BlackBerry is simply following suit.
And the price for the DTEK50 makes it extremely attractive. At $299, with a battery pack thrown in, BlackBerry is meeting price points that some other midrangers aren’t. And at that price point, don’t underestimate how much weight the BlackBerry name can bring. Indeed, recently, BlackBerrys have been decidedly premium devices. In the midrange arena, those who used to look up at BlackBerry handhelds now see them within reach.
Of course, now it’s up to BlackBerry to deliver on that name. BlackBerry is already bragging about the security on an Android phone, so it’s time to deliver on the goods. BlackBerry knows a thing or two about security, so on the face of things it shouldn’t be too much of a concern. However, BlackBerry is a bit out of its element in the Android space, this being just the second handset it had worked on here, so BlackBerry is going to need to bring it’s A+ game to the market.
But it all comes back to that price. A BlackBerry phone for under $300 with a gorgeous design and build that Alcatel has proven time and again. This is a beautiful marriage between the two companies and BlackBerry really needs to take advantage of this relationship and push hard on the DTEK50 and the next BlackBerry to come out – whenever that is. Because if it can’t, BlackBerry will have the rare distinction of having failed in two different markets on two different platforms and that is something that even the resilient BlackBerry might not be able to absorb.
What about you?
So now, we turn to you, our faithful debaters. Are you excited to see the DTEK50? Is a $300 BlackBerry attractive to you? Or is BlackBerry just an OEM that is making YAAP (Yet Another Android Phone)? Will the DTEK50 pave the way out of the darkness that BlackBerry finds itself in? Or is the market already so flooded with midrange offerings that BlackBerry won’t be able to stand out, let alone move forward.
This is not an easy question. The price tag alone should help BlackBerry succeed with this model. Midrange phones are getting better by the day and BlackBerry could be entering at just the right time to make an impact. Sound of below with what you think about this situation, and the DTEK50 itself, and let’s see if we can figure this out.