As a BlackBerry fan and user, I have evolved to become an anomaly within the userbase. No longer do I use a BlackBerry for the physical keyboard.
Instead, I have an all-touch focus. It’s of my firm belief that I can type faster and more accurately on the BlackBerry 10 virtual keyboard than any physical BlackBerry keyboard. In fact, this was evidenced in a keyboard battle video I did last year.
However, there does not appear to be as many BlackBerry users like myself. All-touch device users within BlackBerry seem to be viewed as a niche market, which is why I believe BlackBerry is beginning to ignore the high-end all-touch device market.
But wait, there is this rumored ‘BlackBerry Ontario‘ and purportedly a 1080p device?! True. Although, recent reports have lent credence to the notion that BlackBerry has cancelled the Ontario and a few other projects.
The recent BlackBerry 10.3 leak included many unreleased BlackBerry codenames, details, and other specs. The OS 10.3.0.140 build was packaged on February 9th, but BlackBerry apparently canceled the Ontario project the next day.
This makes perfect sense. BlackBerry 10 does not have a grandiose sell-through. In the Year-End and Fourth Quarter Fiscal 2014 Results it was revealed that BlackBerry sales have tumbled by 64%. Out of 3.4 million BlackBerrys sold in the fiscal fourth quarter, only 1.1 million were BlackBerry 10 — a trend we’ve seen quarter over quarter.
As previously reported, BlackBerry 7 devices are selling better. This is why BlackBerry CEO John Chen announced yesterday the company’s plan to continue the lifecycle of BlackBerry OS and Bold portfolio, should there remain a demand.
BlackBerry has iterated multiple times that the company intends to have an enterprise focus. For the first time, BlackBerry plans to push an all-touch device into enterprises and emerging markets with the BlackBerry Z3, which will release in late April 2014.
Though, do not be fooled that the Z3 means BlackBerry has their hearts sold on all-touch devices. In a recent interview with Reuters, BlackBerry CEO John Chen unveiled the company plans three “high-end” physical keyboard devices within the next 18 months.
No where in the interview does Chen even hint at another all-touch device, besides the upcoming low-end Z3. If BlackBerry has a high-end all-touch device planned, wouldn’t Chen have hinted towards it in conjunction with the physical keyboard device plans?
For me, the writing is on the wall… and in the balance sheet. BlackBerry isn’t seeing results from BlackBerry 10, let alone an all-touch BlackBerry 10 smartphone. A device like the BlackBerry Z10 caused BlackBerry a massive writedown of about $934 million.
The BlackBerry Z30 hasn’t helped either. Why would BlackBerry, who’s bruised and bleeding from overstock of devices no one wants, plan on building yet another high-end all-touch device? So it too can sit on store shelves, waiting for a slash on its price point?
Chen has cryptically confirmed to CNET that the company was building a device to “win over new customers,” though very few details about it were shared. The device Chen is referring to most likely is the ‘BlackBerry Windermere‘, which is rumored to have a touch-sensitive physical keyboard.
Not once has Chen even hinted at a new all-touch device, other than the low-end Z3. This is why I do not foresee a new high-end all-touch BlackBerry device launching in 2014. The likelihood of BlackBerry promulgating its attempt to garner future all-touch users appears bleak. High-end all-touch BlackBerry devices may simply remain extinct, until BlackBerry returns to profitability by FY 2016.