Everyone is talking about the latest from BlackBerry, the new OS and the Z10. Props to BB for those two new products, they are a big step forward and hopefully they’ll continue to sell well for the company. However today I’d like to talk about an entirely different product that doesn’t exist yet and needs to exist in order for BB to dig itself out of the hole it dug for itself these past 3 years.
The youth are the key to deeper market penetration for the BB10 platform. Young people don’t have phones and at an age of anywhere between 10-16 they often get their first phones. Usually a hand me down from Mom and Dad at least or a new economical phone at most, from their they are keen on getting the brass ring which is a smartphone. Now this is a generalization, so be kind about my above statements, I had to make something general to allow the following to make more sense.
BlackBerry needs to bring out a BlackBerry Touch non-cell phone like device that competes with Apples iPod Touch. How I came up with this opinion is two fold 1) I watched my nieces and nephews jump for joy as they all got iPod Touches these past two Christmases. 2) I keep thinking of how BlackBerry can largely work around the issue that many people will need to switch from an iPhone or Android to a BlackBerry in order to grow into the existing market.
It was as I was sitting down this year, watching my little nieces and nephews playing with their little iPod Touches at Christmas that I realized, if BB wants to get them on their product in 2-4 years, they’ll need to get them using their own music/game platform. All these kids are using the iMessage tool or the video messaging feature that Apple provides and none of them will ever want to break with that deep integration when they get a phone. In fact when my one niece and nephew came to purchase their first phone, both got a regular phone, just because they couldn’t afford an iPhone yet and therefore continue to use the Wifi in their school and at home rather than upgrade to another platform e.g. cheaper Androids.
It seems to me, they need to launch a version of the Z10 that doesn’t include a radio for cell phones and they need to tell the guys who are considering whether to build ‘gaming’ apps for their new BB10 that they will have this product out by Christmas and they will therefore have access to a much bigger market for their games, not just executives – which are the traditional stronghold of BB and will likely be a big part of the early success of the product.
What do you think? Do you think a ‘Touch’ like from 4.2inches to 9.7/10.1 inches of slate is a good path forward?