Back to black: will the launch of BB10 be enough to resurrect BlackBerry’s fortunes?

I’m interested to see whether Wednesday’s launch of the BB10 operating system will be enough to reclaim the previous industry giant’s status in the smartphone market.  It’s fought a battle for domination over the last few years – seeing fierce competition from Apple, Samsung and even Nokia as a threatening contender in recent months – that its latest efforts may not be enough to win.

What’s clear is that the marketing around the launch has been taken seriously by Research In Motion.  Judging by the huge anticipation surrounding the launch and subsequent surge in share price, coupled with its investment in an advertising slot at this Sunday’s Super Bowl, RIM is positioning this launch as a genuine reclaimer rather than a last ditch attempt to maintain relevance in a waning smartphone market where even the market leader is getting flack from the media over its iPhone 5 sales.

Yet will the BB10 relaunch be RIM’s phoenix, or will consumers be too busy playing with their iPhones and Samsungs to notice? Despite rumours of shiny new devices and features, analysts are being generally negative about BlackBerry, conceding that whilst it may have comeback potential, its unlikely to supersede its rivals.

Lack of apps, an infuriatingly slow operating system and annoying red lights will not be forgotten quickly by the millions of ex-BlackBerry users. If BlackBerry is looking to make a serious reclaim for its title, the new model will have to  offer something radically superior to the iPhone to achieve any real cut-through and win back its millions of deserters.

At best, BlackBerry could seek to enjoy a significantly enhanced market share thanks to a new product that keeps up with consumers’ desire to devour the latest life-changing technology. At worst, it’s perhaps too late for the previous industry giant to reinvent itself in the context of a smartphone market that has moved on far too much.

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