When it comes to dominating the mobile market, staying on top can often be more difficult than getting there, and no company knows this better than BlackBerry.
Largely hailed as the first smartphone pioneer, the company has worked for the last decade to maintain a major share of the market. With the release of its BlackBerry 10 phones this year, shareholders and the company’s developers alike had hoped to gain a better foothold in the market. The reason? Part of BlackBerry’s challenge with mobile market share has been the advent of the touch screen. With big competitors like Apple, Samsung and Google, who brought mobile users a host of Android-based products, many mobile customers made the switch from the keyboard to the touch screen. All of this has meant that BlackBerry has had to go back to the drawing board to reinvent their technology.
Hopes were high with unveiling of the BlackBerry Z10 because of its touchscreen design. The phone was released in the UK in January with subsequent releases in other countries. Although the company did move 2.7 million units in the most recent quarter, BlackBerry had projected to sell 3.6 million. Overall sales of BlackBerry phones fell short by 700,000, and the company’s subscriber totals fell 4 million over the course of the quarter.
But the challenge isn’t all in the design. The price points of expensive smart phones is a contributing factor to slow sales in areas like South America where users appreciate a range of functionality and cost. BlackBerry has also run into problems in the South Asian market where other mobile phone providers have beat them to the punch, offering midrange products that more consumers can afford.
In spite of disappointing quarter earnings, there’s still room for yet another comeback. Earlier this year, BlackBerry stock recovered from the lowest point it had reached in nearly a decade. And newly appointed CEO Thorsten Heins rallied BlackBerry supporters with new changes that resulted in 43.4 billion Philippine pesos (1 billion USD) in savings.
In addition, buyers interested in stocks may lead the way for consumers to flock back to the brand, considering the big picture. BlackBerry still has an arsenal of patents and software that could help the company make a turnaround, and soon. Not to mention, its brand recognition is one of the most valuable assets it has.
So what’s next for BlackBerry? It can be hard to tell, especially in light of this week’s news. Even analysts had higher expectations for the performance of the Z10. However, the next few business quarters could prove to be positive for the original smartphone maker.
Heins made news after the earnings for the previous quarter were released by reminding market watchers that the company is still carrying out a “major transformation”. Amongst the coming changes are plans to make BlackBerry messenger available to all mobile users, regardless of what phone they have. The company also has plans to release new products, although it is keeping details tightly under wraps for now.