Blackberry refresh what made it famous
More news this week on Blackberry's refocusing on its core of business users. CEO John Chen announced how it will be remember and refresh what made it famous from a product standpoint.
As reported in The Times, Chen "Has returned the struggling company to its roots with the launch of a new smartphone in the style of its popular keyboard-centric models of yesteryear." Chen even went as far as calling the new phone "The BlackBerry Classic’", along the lines of Coke's anchor Classic version, although the official name is the Q20. The new handset, due for launch before the end of 2014, will restore not only the keyboard but also the trackpad for scrolling through emails.
This move suggests Blackberry has stopped trying to copy the touchscreens of Apple and Samsung, as was unsuccessfully tried with the Z10. This did away with the famous keyboard, alienating Blackberry fans who didn't want to tap messages onto touchscreens.
As I posted here, the Q20 is part of the company coming to its senses, and giving up on the "brand ego trip" of trying to become a sexy consumer brand. As The Times says, "The Q20 chimes with Mr Chen’s plan to return the company to its roots. He has all-but thrown out the previous management’s attempts to become a glamorous consumer brand – reflected in its decision to appoint singer Alicia Keys as its creative director – to return to its roots as a business phone provider."
Yes, you read the bit about having hired and now fired singer Alicia Keys as creative director. Talk about forgetting what made you famous. What has Ms Keys got to do with a robust, secure messaging device for corporate road warriors?! Look how uncomfortable she looks below trying to look a bit business-y in her suit.
In conclusion, its good to see Blackberry at last remembering and refreshing what made it famous. My money is on the Q20 being part of a brand back on track. Time to but some shares now?!