Purchasing a smartphone is a simple affair for the everyday buyers. All they have to do is pick the fanciest of the devices, get expert advice from their friends and select a reasonable enough call rate schedule.
However, for mobile maker Research In Motion, the hardware is the least of their troubles as they get ready to launch their latest offer: the BlackBerry 10 OS in the beginning of next year.
So what has got the RIM CEO Thorsten Heins’ knickers in a twist? Why, developers of course!
Thorsten addressed them at the Research In Motion’s biggest yearly meeting of BlackBerry developers, the BlackBerry Jam Americas. It was possibly his last chance to win them over. The BlackBerry 10 World Tour went around more than 30 cities in the face of a rapidly shrinking market share. Research analysis by Bloomberg has predicted a fall of 41% in BlackBerry’s sales in the latest fiscal quarter in comparison to its last year’s figures. The tour aimed to raise the number of coders on its buyer’s list from the present figure of about 44,000 to around 50,000.
If the developers are lured by BlackBerry 10′s projected promising future and manage to create wondrous applications that by themselves attract consumers, RIM’s prospects will prove to be marginally brighter if not glorious. However, if the coders flock to Google’s Android and Apples’ IOS, BlackBerry will be rendered the equivalent of a virtual wasteland unable to utilize the best of hardware at its disposal.
This year, RIM must engage in hard selling its smartphone to developers who will create multi-variety innovative applications. They must follow the footsteps of Apple and Google, the former having an App Store with 700,000 titles. So, even if the latest phone is not very appealing, users have no alternative but to stick with their apps because they have invested a lot of resources in them. The story is the same with Google’s Play app store which also has more than 500,000 titles. Stores like these bond the users to their respective platforms.
This strategy has interestingly not been used by Apple or Google with the intention of creating brand loyalty. Microsoft, with its Windows range of programs has been there and done that, decades ago!
More than giving pep talks to potential coders, Heins and his crew must get ready to prepare a network of carriers all the way from the company head to the engineers and the sales personnel at the shop floor who support Blackberry and push its products to customers instead of siding with competitors.
The Jam ended on 25th of last month, in time for the company to report losses for their recent quarterly result. As RIM has predicted a poor performance, investors are likely to get all worked up. The only choice that remains with the BlackBerry maker is to put its trust in the stereotypical, casually dressed techie to save the day.
One can only wait for the beginning of next year to see if they were successful.
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