It’s part of Blackberry’s marketing strategy — win back the diehard user, often known for its love of the physical keyboard that was part of all legacy BlackBerry devices. After all, it’s from this that the famous term “crackberry” was coined.
Fast forward to today’s market, and BlackBerry also knew it had to address the demand for the touchscreen UX. To that end, it debuted
the Z10 on Jan. 30.
While some enterprises and a handful of users have it in their hands, there is still no definitive word on when it will be available in the United States, but it's expected to be mid-March.
In several other countries, response has been “record” breaking by BlackBerry standards. On Wednesday, Feb. 6, President and CEO Thorsten Heins said, “In Canada, yesterday was the best day ever for the first day of a launch of a new BlackBerry smartphone. In fact, it was more than 50% better than any other launch day in our history in Canada. In the U.K., we have seen close to three times our best performance ever for the first week of sales for a BlackBerry smartphone.”
I Want My QWERTY!
One of the touted features of the Z10 is the new virtual keyboard. Vivek Bhardwaj, head of software portfolio for BlackBerry, said that the touch design deliberately mimics what is on the physical BlackBerry keyboard — with a white font on black keys. One of the goals of this new UX is to "drive a better touch-type culture." So, again this is aimed at the diehard user whose head is always down and fingers are always moving.
Still one of the biggest questions that came out of the launch — "when is the Q10 arrving?" The Q10 of course is the first keyboard device for the BlackBerry 10 platform. At launch, Heins had no definitive date for this either, but mentioned April.
In an interview with the Associated Press (AP) as reported by many AP news outlets, Heins alluded to a May or June release. At a Q&A after the launch, when pressed about release dates, he said that releases now depend on the carrier.
He noted that in the United States, this progression is more rigorous than in other areas of the world, but during the same Q&A session, he said the company is “respecting” the process. This was echoed in the interview with the AP.
Yankee Group Analyst Wally Swain commented
, “We think the Q10 is important for BlackBerry to connect the new operating system to its existing customer base and even some who switched but wanted a better user experience than BB7.”
With so many BlackBerry devotees hanging on to their old devices, despite the opportunity to upgrade to Apple or Android, will this further delay push them to another OS?