If all the reports are to believed regarding the success or failure of the Blackberry and Windows Phone 8 platforms, well you wouldn’t know what to believe quite frankly. That’s because information is coming in that tells a bunch of different stories and bits here and there. In the end, we are left to guess how well some of these devices are selling and whether they can sustain and ideally increase any measures of success in a market dominated by Android and Apple.
Let’s take a look at BlackBerry. Wall St. analysts have come forward with a variety of statements that predict some positive numbers in BlackBerry’s favor. Like shipments for the last quarter to be between 300,000 and 800,000. That number however is countered with a number of external indicators such as a loss of subscribers on the order of one million defectors. There was also a report of a mystery one million BlackBerry devices being shipped in a single order. It is likely that this represents the orders for a major carrier, and details have been scant. That proposition still means that the devices have to sell to the consumers, and BlackBerry is likely quite prepared to make a significant marketing push, and ideally be in a situation that the carriers push as well. BlackBerry’s Z10 product hasn’t officially hit the US market and we could see some significant movement.
On today’s NewsDesk broadcast, we discussed how there was a report that the UK’s Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG) deemed the platform insufficient for its minimal rating and what that potentially means for BlackBerry in lost revenue. The report focused on the failure of its “Balance” feature, designed to securely separate work and personal functions on the same handset. BlackBerry and the UK government both refute this in a statement released today by BlackBerry and pointed to changes in the CESG approval process as the issue. This is a close call for BlackBerry and this could have been quite disastrous for them. They also have a significant challenger in the alliance of Centrify and Samsung as a potent Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution, one would have to say with the weight of Samsung behind it, it is a behemoth of a challenge and a climb that BlackBerry is going to have to take on with their Enterprise Service 10.
Microsoft in the meantime continues on their path and doing the work they feel is right to build not only the ecosystem, but evolving the products already. There has been much ado about Windows RT lately. Nvidia’s CEO called the product disappointing. Samsung’s people made similar statements. There’s a number of reports that forecast poor sales in a number of areas. At the same time they continue to push the app ecosystem, as discussed today on the NewsDesk – a $100 dollar program to pull new developers into rolling some apps out. Also a blip of Windows Phone 8 news emerged that indicated Windows Phone 9 may be on the way. This fits in with the rapid and aggressive platform evolution cycles that many anticipated when Microsoft started on this path. It remains to be seen how Microsoft comes out on the other side of this saga, they have a lot of road on this front, and plenty of R&D to gain momentum rapidly. This is exactly what you’d need to succeed, be nimble, reinvent, keep pushing, get it right. My personal interaction with the community reads that a good deal of people really like the Surface RT, basically because of battery performance, and only find the apps to be on the wish list.
Till the End…
The bottom line is that this is one of the fascinating tech sectors right now because of all the competition and emerging news. Take a look at Samsung’s quick rise and success based on the Android proposition. They plan on changing that up with their own operating system in the early fall called Tizen that is planned to be a high-end platform and gives Samsung a better control of the end product. Amazon and Google still out there as well and could make some surprise waves. Needless to say for BlackBerry – they have gone all in leading up to this as a matter of survival and they don’t intend to drop off easily. The importance of Windows mobile success to Microsoft is well-known, and we should expect nothing less from Microsoft than to leverage their experience, relationships, and products as well as they know how. This mobile realm is the big leagues, where the big boys play and play to win – it’s the PC revolution all over again but in your pocket.