By Patrick Avenell
The two new BlackBerry 10 smartphones, the full touch Z10 and the QWERTY keyboard Q10, will be released in Australia in early March on plans and outright from Optus and Telstra, and through the retail channel. Pricing has not yet been announced.
At an Australian briefing this morning in Sydney, BlackBerry Australia head Matthew Ball said the newly renamed is looking for a 55/45 skew of consumer and business users in Australia and to lock up the Number 3 spot in the OS rankings, behind Android and iOS and ahead of Windows Phone 8.
Ball continued to say that with BlackBerry 10, the company believes it can reclaim lost market share and beginning taking on the Number 2 operating system, rather than fighting off a reinvigorated attack from the Number 4.
Carolina Milanesi, the research VP of consumer technologies at Gartner, isn’t so sure. She told Current.com.au in an email from New York City that there was no pressing reason to revise Gartner’s prediction that BlackBerry will slip behind Windows Phone 8 globally by 2016.
“If it were as simple as getting the OS and the hardware right, our forecast would be conservative,” she said. “The reality is that even if they have the hardware, the software and the initial developers, they still battle with revamping their brand and [finding] the right balance between speaking to consumers and enterprises.”
In addition to launching BlackBerry 10, Research In Motion has changed its company name to BlackBerry. Its new NASDAQ ticker code will be BBRY. This was the biggest surprise at the launch, Milanesi said.
“The brand change was a long time coming but there were no rumours about it.”
The first market to receive the new BlackBerry devices will not be the United States or even BlackBerry’s native Canada. The United Kingdom, which has traditionally been a very strong territory for BlackBerry, will beginning receiving stock today. This is seen as an attempt to shore up a market that has started fracturing for BlackBerry.
“BlackBerry has to make up ground,” continued Milanesi. “I would expect that first from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where their brand has started to weaken after the US.
“It is no coincidence that the first market shipping is the UK.”
Thew new BlackBerry Q10, also available in black.
The new BlackBerry Z10, also available in white.