by David Gracey

BlackBerry parent company Research in Motion (RIM) recently introduced the latest iteration of their flagship smartphone.  The Z10 is based on a completely redesigned operating system called BB10, which is much faster and streamlined for today’s mobile user.  The Z10 sheds the physical keyboard, long associated with the BlackBerry devices, for an onscreen keyboard similar to other leading smartphones.  It is entering a crowded market.  Is it worth considering upgrading to the new phone?  Here’s a look at how it stacks up to the competition.

RIM Z10
The new Z10 is a sleek phone.  It has an extremely fast processor, responsive touch screen, slightly larger display and has ditched the popular physical keyboard, opting instead for the on-screen keyboard that Apple made popular.  Many die hard BlackBerry fans will flock to the Z10 and be very happy with it.  But a company with shrinking market share can be tough to successfully manage.

Once the leader in the cell phone market, RIM’s market share has plummeted in the past 5 years.  Here are three reasons why I think BlackBerry’s market share will continue to shrink and the phone will be relegated to a niche player in the smartphone world:

Support: As an IT consulting company, we can tell you first hand that BlackBerries have always been much harder to support in a business environment than other phones.  They require a dedicated server, “BES”, to provide the service which creates a complicated additional layer to support in order for the phones to get emails delivered to them.  Other smartphones simply don’t need this additional layer.   The cost for training the IT staff to support BES is an additional consideration.

Apps: Although a solid phone, the Z10 is too late to the smartphone party.  One of the biggest reasons people select phones is for the apps.  Google and Apple phones have a library of 10X the number of apps:  70,000 apps for BlackBerry versus over 700,000 (and climbing) for Google/Apple devices.  That’s a tough statistic to overcome.

Keyboard: One of the main reasons for BlackBerry user loyalty has been the tough transition for some folks to switch from the physical keyboard to the onscreen keyboard.  The Z10 gets rid of the physical keyboard.  The Z10’s lack of a physical keyboard removes one of the reasons many people stuck with RIM for so many years.

The Z10 is a great phone  but with the requirement of BlackBerry Server, it’s not a good choice for business.

Apple iPhone 5
My son, Alex, won the war of attrition in our family for an upgraded phone.  He told me “everyone in my class has an iPhone” so I picked up his yearbook and found at least 10 kids who didn’t have iPhones before I even got to the C’s.  But we agreed that if his grades were good that we’d get him an iPhone.  Of course, he’d get my 4s while I got the 5 (I run an IT company after all).  So in early January I got the 5.  It’s thinner, a bit lighter and has a slightly larger screen.  There is not a lot of difference in functionality but why mess with a good thing?  I’ve had iPhones for about 5 years now and been very happy with all of them.  Although the apps make the experience great, the reliability of the email and sync with my Outlook is what make the phone invaluable to me.  (Here’s a link to a prior iPhone 5 review we did http://network1consulting.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/tuesday-tip-the-iphone-5-whats-new-and-what-apple-missed/)

Samsung Galaxy
This is one of the best-selling smartphones on the market.  It’s a solid phone which is built on Google’s Android operating system, which runs more smartphones around the world than any other operating system.  The Galaxy is an innovative phone that has some great features:  larger screen, great cameras and a nifty bump feature that allows for quick picture and data sharing between phones.

So although the Z10 is a great, new phone from RIM, the competition from Samsung and Apple products are too far ahead for RIM to catch up.  So it’s time for all you BlackBerry users to consider switching over to the dark side.  Your IT department will thank you for making their life (and yours) easier.

Network 1 Consulting is a 15-year-old, IT Support company in Atlanta, GA.  We become – or augment – the IT department for professional services companies: law firms, medical practices and financial services firms.  Our IT experts can fix computers – but what our clients really value is the industry-specific best practices we bring to their firm.  This is especially important with technology, along with regulations and cyber threats, changing so rapidly.  We take a proactive approach to helping our clients use technology to gain and keep their competitive advantage.

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