BlackBerry, the Ontario based cellphone manufacturer and Technology Company previously known as Research in Motion, which has endured its share of struggles, has introduced two new phones along with some enhancements to the Messenger Service that promises better security and management of mobile devices. The company displayed its Q20 mobile phone at the mobile Congress held in Barcelona, and unlike some of its competitors, the phone retains some of the classic features of QWERTY keypad, and tracking pad to replace the touchscreen that populates current models. At the same time that Blackberry goes old school for the new phone, they have also introduced a cheaper version of a smartphone that retails for $200.
The company has also introduced a pricing model, consisting only of two tiers for its Enterprise Service and Mobile Device Management software customers. The service known, as BES 10 will be offered to present customers at no charge, and the upgraded version BES 12 is expected to be launched by the end of 2014.
The decision to go retro or old school with the new phone is an interesting one, as Version 12 of the BES is expected to provide enhancements that include better self-service features, in addition to supporting Window 8, and improved capabilities for managing services at the enterprise level. The company has also introduced a new application suite called eBBM for the venerated messenger application service, which can be expected later this year. In what may initially appear to be a turn in fortune for the company, Blackberry has announced two major new customers for the BES service and there are unconfirmed rumors that there may be a third automotive manufacturer which may be about to become a customer.
The Airbus Group and the Daimler AG group has upgraded to the BES 10, and it appears that the Ford Motor Company is about to replace the Windows Operating system with the Blackberry QNX. This can be a major coup for the company, as the Windows Embedded System is used extensively in the Ford’s Sync in-vehicle system. The Sync system powers the infotainment system of Fords’ vehicles, and provided support for voice navigation, Bluetooth, USB connections, and a tactile touchscreen interface. But it appears to have been plagued with poor performance since the introduction in 2008, and users became dissatisfied.
BlackBerry’s new flagship phone, the Q20 is reminiscent of the old days of the cell phone and features memorable Send, Back Menu and End buttons, and is if to strike a defiant posture against Apple, all conventions are disregarded. BlackBerry’s CEO John Chen says that the phone simply reflects the desires of the customers.
The response from analysts appears to be mixed, while investors appear to appreciate the efforts to turn the company around. For the third quarter, the company recorded a loss of $4.4 billion and it sales of the smartphone market appear miniscule, when compared to others. It is hoped that a loyal customer base and an interesting decision for Blackberry to go old-school for the new phone, despite the challenges faced, it demonstrates a commitment to provide needed service to those that matter.
Written By Dale Davidson