My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Blackberry launched Budget Q5 at their Annual Blackberry Live Conference - Possible no Contract US$199 makes Q5 the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Blackberry launched Budget Q5 at their Annual Blackberry Live Conference - Possible no Contract US$199 makes Q5 the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Today the surprises just keep rolling in from Blackberry Live 2013 at their Annual conference revolving around the World of Blackberry held very early this morning in Orlando Florida on Tuesday May 14th 2013 as stated in the article “BlackBerry offers BBM to iOS and Android devices”, published Tuesday, May 14, 2013 11:34 AM, The Jamaica Observer. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Hein headlined the show with support from Blackberry’s Global Creative Director, Alicia “Girl on Fire” Keys, bringing home the bacon.

Blackberry now boasts a total of 120,000 apps in their App Store as mentioned in the article “BlackBerry Live by the numbers: 120,000 apps available”, published May 14, 2013 6:59 AM PDT by Roger Cheng, CNET News.  They also used the opportunity to rattle off some war stats:

User Stats

1.      Number of BBM users: 60 million
2.      Number of apps available on BlackBerry World: 120,000
3.      Number of carrier approvals for Q10: 200
4.      Number of countries selling BlackBerry 10 devices: 14
5.      Number of BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 servers installed globally: 12,000

Retails Stats

1.      Number of people who have watched BlackBerry's Keep Moving videos: 22 million
2.      Number of retail outlets selling BlackBerry 10 devices: 50,000
3.      Number of trained sales representatives: 50,000
4.      Percentage of BlackBerry users who are women: 56%

The first surprise is the fact that Blackberry, like Nokia with the US$99 Nokia Asha 501 smartphone as described in my Geezam blog article entitled “US$99 Nokia Asha 501 debuts in India as Nokia throws down the gauntlet to Budget smartphone challengers”, is not taking the challenge to its Blackberry Empire by sub-US$199 smartphones in the US, UK and Developing World smartphone Markets  i.e. Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, lying down.

On Wednesday January 30th 2013, RIM (Research in Motion) became Blackberry and rebranded with the launch of the Blackberry Z10 and the Q10 smartphones as reported originally in my blog article entitled “RIM rebrands as Blackberry and Launches Blackberry Z10 and Q10 - Alicia Keys' Global Creative Director is a Girl on Fire for these Tallawah yet Beautiful Creatures”. But it proved a bit too price for Developing Markets, still swamped with older Blackberries thrown away by the Developed World and inherited by the Developing World.

Now some four (4) months later, Blackberry’s finally launched their own budget Blackberry, the much rumoured Q5, aimed squarely to compete against Samsung’s Tizen OS, Mozilla Foundation’s Firefox OS and Canonical’s Ubuntu OS in these very same markets early as July 2013 as stated in the article “BlackBerry Q5 debuts with budget buyers in mind”, published May 14, 2013 6:36 AM PDT by Roger Cheng, CNET News.

The Blackberry Q5 basically looks like the Blackberry Q10 sans the straight silver bands on the QWERTY Keyboard that defined groups of bigger keys. Its slender design profile is definitely being geared towards Millennials (ages 18-28), as like its competitors, it’ll be coming in multiple colours i.e. traditional matte black but also white, red and (oh yes!!!) pink.

No word on pricing, but if global trends are anything to go by as it relates to pricing of Smartphones in the Developing World, expect a no-contract straight purchase deal with prices below US$199 to US$99 as predicted my blog article entitled “Analyst IDC States First Quarter of 2013 Smartphones Shipments finally overtake Feature Phones - Sub-US$200 Iron Man 3 Smartphones for Developed World Markets”.

Look out for an article on the specs and features of the Blackberry Q5 on the Geezam blog!!

The Second surprise is that Blackberry Messenger, BBM for short, is coming to Apple’s iOS and Google Android OS Platforms for free as a downloadable App as stated in the article “BlackBerry Messenger expands to Android, iOS”, published May 14, 2013 8:00 AM PDT by Brian Bennett, CNET News.

This is very exciting news for fans of Blackberry who’d migrated away from Blackberry ecosystem in exasperation over the company’s lack of a smartphone option. By making BBM available for use on all smartphones, they’ve expanded the Social Network. Finally Blackberry is launching what’s basically the equivalent of Twitter for BBM called BBM Channels as stated in the article “BlackBerry takes on Twitter with BBM Channels”, published May 14, 2013 7:49 AM PDT by Roger Cheng, CNET News. 

Effectively it’s a service that’ll be akin to a regular Social Network and will allow users and companies alike to develop followings ……albeit I’d like to see that for myself.  I’m personally not so sure this anything more than an improved interface for BBM. Looks like another Geezam article in the mill……

No news on Tablets, as apparently BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Hein is still a tad upset over Tablets leading them off into the wilderness as stated in the article “BlackBerry CEO likes tablets, just not as they are”, published May 14, 2013 9:48 AM PDT by Roger Cheng, CNET News. Albeit his position softened somewhat, making concessions after being ridiculed over his comments about Tablets being dead in five years as stated in “BlackBerry CEO says tablets will be useless in five years”, published April 30, 2013 6:14 AM PDT by Roger Cheng, CNET News.

Truth be told, Tablets are the hot thing right now, killing off PC, Laptops and even Printers as concluded in my Geezam Blog article entitled “How the Apple iPad killed Ultrabooks, Printing and the Mouse as the World Rediscovers Tablets”. In fact 7” Tablets are now continuing the Legacy of the bigger 9.7” Tablet Market created by the Apple iPad back in 2010 as opined in my Geezam Blog article entitled “The Two Towers of Tablets, 7” Amazon Kindle Fire and 7.9” Apple iPad are the Global Tablet size of Choice”.

The Blackberry Z10 and Q10 have show up to the party a tad too late and waaaaay to expensive for mortal men in Developing World countries like Jamaica as opined in my blog article entitled “Telecom Provider LIME and Digicel to start selling the Blackberry Z10 on Tuesday April 23 2013 - No long lines as the Recession drags us into Oblivion”.

Now with three (3) smartphones in the mix, Blackberry’s long term Strategy becomes clear as crystal. Blackberry, like Nokia, is not taking the low Budget smartphone challenge lying down. Instead, they’re attacking all three (3) Markets:

1.      Blackberry Z10 – Developed World market on expensive two (2) year contract plans
2.      Blackberry Q10 - Developed World market on expensive two (2) year contract plans. Packing a QWERTY Keyboards for the Traditionalists who like Physical Keys
3.      Blackberry Q5 - Developing World Budget smartphone under US$100 Packing a QWERTY Keyboards for the Traditionalists who like Physical Keys

“Awesome” is all I can say to describe this sudden development.

These changes, however, are sure to reinvigorate BBM in a world that slowly going IM (Instant Messenger). The IM giant WhatsApp is king as globally people are doing less Texting as the proliferation o 3G and 4G LTE makes Instant Messaging the new “Thing” as noted in my blog article entitled “CTIA reports a 5% decline in US Texting as Instant Messaging ramps up - WhatsApp's now Top Gun as The Dead Zone leads Star Trek Into the Darkness”. So it’s clear that the Blackberry Q5 coming possible with no Contract, costs US$199, which making the Blackberry Q5 one of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (2013).

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