As I type this, a BlackBerry 2014 Global Roadmap is staring me in the face. It has solidified and confirmed my previous notion where I made the presumption BlackBerry had slowed its roll towards the high-end all-touch market.
Many BlackBerry fans said my previous assessment was very wrong. “What about the Ontario?! Or the device Chen said would ‘win over new customers’ in the CNET interview?!,” they clamored.
Unfortunately, it seems I was very right. BlackBerry currently has only four devices in its 2014 portfolio aligned with specific market opportunities: Affordable, Classic, Innovative, and Prestige.
The BlackBerry Z3 LTE ‘Manitoba’ set as Affordable, Q20 as Classic, Passport as Innovative, and the P’9983 ‘Khan’ as Prestige:
- Z3 LTE target market: “upgrade for feature phone and BBOS, and for enterprise fleet renewal.”
- Classic Q20 target market: “upgrade for BlackBerry QWERTY base and enterprise fleet renewal.”
- Passport target market: “Bring X-Pros back to BlackBerry and for business execs.”
- P’9983 target market: “…the expectations and purchase behaviors of the affluent and wealthy.”
BlackBerry has finally realized their overall target audience does not include users who want a high-end all-touch device. As I said before, I’ll say it again, “…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.”
While I am deeply saddened there won’t be a high-end all-touch device anytime soon, I completely understand and accept the reason. BlackBerry needs to focus on their core user base and regain profitability before they can attack the ‘be all’ smartphone market. With a limited portfolio comprised of devices specifically tuned to their actual target audience it will help steer the ship from sinking.
Once the aforementioned four devices seed throughout the world, we can gain a better understanding of BlackBerry’s continued direction. Perhaps, in 2015 BlackBerry will expand its focus and once again look to capture the high-end all-touch market.
Until then, users who are currently on the Z10 or Z30 and itching for a new device may find comfort in the Z3 LTE. Affordable moniker aside, the Z3 LTE is pegged to encompass similar specs as the Z30. If you’re just in the mood for change, the Z3 LTE might be right for you.