As is being reported, RIM’s Blackberry is losing crucial market share, plummeting to fifth place among active cell phone suppliers. Which leaves me to wonder, is this free fall any surprise at all?
In truth, and I imagine I am not alone in this speculation, the Blackberry conjures up ancient technology to me. Once the impressive model for the business worker to “stay connected,” RIM technology is about as interesting today as the Palm Pilot did several years ago. Blackberry was once the “it” phone. Now, just like the aforementioned Palm Pilot, it may soon be without any significance at all.
What can Blackberry do to increase market share?
1. Reduce the number of phones: If you visit the Blackberry website, you find a list of six different smartphones. Each of these smartphones has about 4-5 variations. Which leads to about 25-30 different phones when all is said and done. Maybe this is the first problem? Too many options may not be all that wise for Blackberry. I consistently reference Apple, but what works for iPhone is that the 3GS, 4 and 4S are all variations of the singular iPhone. These are not entirely different pieces, but they are all part of the simple and unified iPhone umbrella. Blackberry, however, has six entirely different phone models with seemingly endless variations. Why not simply master one phone and revise it with significant improvements just as Apple does? That surely seems to work.
2. More touch screens: People want touch screens. Why? Because these days a touch screen is intuitive and they bring the user into the experience. When I had a Blackberry years ago, and from the models I have seen on its site, current models function mostly with a small and clunky “scroll and select” interface. Which is really boring if you ask me. If you are marketing technology, you must be current, hip, sleek and smart. I don’t think any of these adjectives can be equated with Blackberry.
3. Make it simple: Likewise, when I was a Blackberry owner, I never had any idea how to set any component of my device correctly. Setting up email was unnervingly difficult, reaching the internet application and even searching on the internet was archaic and lacking any technological joy. Ease of use is paramount.
Adjusting these components may give the brand new life. But what truly must happen with Blackberry is that it must take on a new meaning in the marketplace. Ultimately, to get back to prominence, it must make a change, its brand must take on new meaning and prove again that it is the smartphone for the business savvy customer.