Tuesday, October 14, 2008

BlackBerry storming the enterprise?

I have been following all the announcements of smartphones these days. Even Motorola came out with a touchscreen phone today...

The most interesting (actually, probably the only interesting...) has been the BlackBerry Storm. Clearly, I have a particular affection for RIM. I like the company and the focus on R&D. I like the way they addressed one single problem (mobile email) and nailed it from start to finish. I like the stronghold they have in the enterprise and their business model (the recurring part of it, in particular).

However, they have been struggling lately. They tried the move towards consumers (hey, if you have a pink phone, you are going for consumers, no questions). But they have not been that successful. It is a brand issue, in my opinion. And a fashion one.

The technology might be good but the brand is not there. It is an enterprise brand. Not a consumer brand. Consumers perceive BlackBerry as uncool. It is tough to change it. RIM is trying with advertising, getting in bed with Fabebook and MySpace, but it is tough tough tough. You do not become Steve Jobs overnight. And it costs a lot of money, with margin going down fast.

My take on RIM making into the consumer space? Tough...

Where can they shine? In the enterprise. They still have 98% of the enterprise to capture. They are entrenched. They have to make sure nobody gets in. Like the iPhone. Or the Android phones. Or the Windows Mobile ones. Or Nokia.

I feel the Storm is a smart move in this direction. You have to give enterprise people a little of coolness (music, pictures, some social networking), being strong on your basic values (email), and improve on the competition.

I mean, do something better than the iPhone. Not copycat.

I haven't tried the device but the #1 complain by enterprise users (NOT consumers) on the iPhone is the lack of a keyboard. Adding a sliding keyboard is a bad idea, in my opinion (I just do not like the feel, the added size and the usability of it). Making the touchscreen give you a tactile feedback, instead, is a brilliant idea. If it works as they say (why not?), it could be an home run in the enterprise.

Not with consumers. Give up on that and focus on your core (look at Nokia trying to do the exact opposite and fail in the consumer space...).

Below you find a video of the BlackBerry Storm for Vodafone.

Unalbe to show flash video