BlackBerry 10, the new OS that is poised to raise BlackBerry to the height it once enjoyed is now in the hands of consumers. In the launch in Lagos on Thursday March 7th 2013, Waldi Wepener mentioned that BlackBerry 10 is positioned to put BlackBerry at the top.
With Android and iOS taking the lead globally, BlackBerry still enjoy lots of sales in Nigeria and some emerging markets like Kenya, South Africa and Indonesia.
In a one on one interaction with Waldi Wepener, I asked him a few questions about BlackBerry’s plans with the new OS and how optimistic they are as regards the future.
OTEKBITS: Why the need for a new BlackBerry OS? What’s your unique value proposition?
Waldi: BlackBerry 10 is a fantastic OS and we need to make sure that we set ourselves up for mobile computing. We have built BlackBerry 10 with the intention of making it future proof, so that in the next 10 years it will still be useful. BlackBerry 10 is built on QNX that is found in some cars as their operating system and some space shuttles. This is to let you know the quality that we are building on. This will help us to be able to tackle the next global generation of smartphones.
The possibilities are endless. BlackBerry 10 has made available to us the tools that will help us to be in control of destiny.
OTEKBITS: During the BlackBerry 10 launch, I remember hearing that there is commitment from notable apps makers that they will make their apps ready and available on BlackBerry 10. I have had the BlackBerry Z10 for a few days now and there is no Whatsapp, Skype, Instagram and some other cool apps. Why is this so?
Waldi: We are working to make more apps available in the BlackBerry World and also make local applications availables. It is important to note that BlackBerry launched with the most apps at 70,000 apps. This is the most app in the history of smartphones that have ever launched in a first generation OS. We continue to work with developers to ensure that we make more and more apps available on the BlackBerry 10, locally and internationally. We don’t have any concrete date to give you now as to when the apps that you asked will be available. But we are going to keep you posted.
[At the launch, Z10 users were assured that apps like Whatsapp and skype would be available from the second week of March, 2013. ]
OTEKBITS: Many BlackBerry users that I have interacted with are pro physical QWERTY keyboard. It is either QWERTY or nothing. Z10 is cool, but folks want Q10. When can they walk to a store and get the BlackBerry Q10 in Nigeria?
Waldi: From the second quarter of 2013, it will be possible for people to walk into stores in Nigeria and buy the BlackBerry Q10. We have been working at hitting as many segments in the market as possible and we believe that it is very important to have a fantastic all touch experience which is why the Z10 has gone to the Market. We know that we have die-hard physical QWERTY fans and that is why the Z10 is being brought to the market.
[For those who intend to wait for BlackBerry Q10 before they experience what Blackberry 10 has to offer, there you have it. Look out for the Q10 in Nigerian stores from May 2013. Late Q2 will be a time you can begin to see the Q10 to be available]
OTEKBITS: BIS has been the catch. I know people who left BlackBerry only to return quickly to enjoy the cheap data offering. This BIS offering is gone on BlackBerry 10. Do you think users in Nigeria will still migrate to BB10 knowing that they won’t be enjoying the BIS plans as they are available now?
Waldi: The DNA of the BlackBerry 10 is different from what we have in BB OS 7, this is the reason why our value proposition has changed. However, as we have done with BB OS 7, we are going to ensure that we have a similar approach with Blackberry 10. Our partner operators have special packages like the one on the BB OS 7 (BlackBerry Social and BlackBerry complete plans and the BlackBerry Enterprise service). On the BlackBerry 10 there will be the BB Maxi, Midi and the entry level plans. This is to make sure we have proposition that can fit different levels of the market.
In my opinion, I would say BlackBerry has come prepared. However, the market does not work that way. How the smartphone market is won is not just about quality products, there are other dynamics that are involved. I have seen HTC phones that look and perform better than Samsung phones. In the market, Samsung sells more and it is way up the ladder than HTC.
With SLOT, one of the leading phone dealers in Nigeria, claiming that BlackBerry Z10 has been the best-selling phone in their stores in the last two weeks, something I also witnessed myself when I went to the store to get a BlackBerry for a friend and we were forced to buy an iPhone as all the Z10 were sold out.
The question is, is BlackBerry back and better? Are they poised to take back the future ?