BlackBerry may struggle to achieve mass-market appeal, analysts say

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BlackBerry’s new operating system and devices are good enough to win back business customers, analysts say, but the company will still struggle to achieve mass market appeal

BlackBerry 10 has been well received by analysts, who say it provides the manufacturer with the “means to compete” with Apple and Samsung.

The new operating system was unveiled today at press conferences held simultaneously in London, Dubai, Toronto, Paris, Johannesburg and New York. As well as rebranding from RIM to BlackBerry and unveiling the new OS, the manufacturer unveiled two new handsets – the Z10 and Q10.

Ovum principal analyst Adam Leach said the devices will stand out from Android and Apple products, while Informa Telecoms and Media principal analyst Malik Saadi said the operating system is good enough to win back business users.

However, both said that BlackBerry still faces challenges in appealing to ordinary consumers.

Saadi said that as consumers are generally slow to adapt to new user experiences, they might find it hard to connect with the Z10’s interface.

Leach said that while BlackBerry 10 will attract short-term interest, “the company will struggle to appeal to a wider audience,” and will become a nice player in the smartphone market.

Analyst firm CCS Insight said the platform will appeal to BlackBerry’s existing fans but that it needs to prevent further erosion of revenues by ensuring its content offerings are on a par with the other manufacturers.

CCS Insight said BlackBerry 10 will provide the manufacturer with the “means to compete” but challenges remain.

Informa’s Saadi said that if BlackBerry sell less than 1 million devices with the new platform this year, its future will be at risk.

“Given the very fast growing smartphone market, BlackBerry should aim to sell at least 1 million units of the new device in its first quarter.

“Anything below this would call into question the company’s ability to execute its marketing strategy while anything above 3 million units would be a spectacular performance, which will undoubtedly resurrect both the consumers’ and the investors’ confidence in the BlackBerry brand,” Saadi said.

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