It has been stated that newly announced Blackberry Passport is the innovation that Blacberry needs, to stay alive. I think this is correct to a degree, they may need to do something like this in order to stay in the public eye. It is too bad, as their “copy-cat” BB10 devices are actually really good, and innovate as much as they copy… but people don’t seem to get it, and don’t seem to want to try.
The older blackberries (OS7 and older), while great productivity machines, were no where near as sexy or as functional as the iPhone or Android phones. So many people associate that older Blackberry experience with ‘the Blackberry experience’. While some prefer the old BB OS, most came to realise how much better the iPone and Android experience were. This is why Blackberry created BB10.
BB10 is a nice mix of Android and iOS IMHO. It has a very uniformly designed UI/UX like iOS, yet much less restrictive (i.e., Z30 has USB master mode, can connect to my bluetooth OSBDII scanner, connect to keyboard, NFC, HDMI, game controllers, etc none of which my iPhone could do). Android improves every year, but I still find the UI/UX clunky. Just bought a GS4 for my dad, and I was Googling how to do stuff and I only got rid of my One X 7 months ago!
The main problem I see is that people speak negatively about blackberry because of an experience they had witha pre-BB10 device. They assume that 10 is just an incremental upgrade, and don’t understand that it was a complete re-write (not even in the same language; java vs C/C++). I have owned an iPhone, HCT One X, and Z30 in the last 1.5 years. The Z30 without question my favourite.
The ‘app gap’ is a bit of an issue, but android apps for the most part run fine. They aren’t as nice as the native apps, but they do ‘fill the gap’. Partnering with the Amazon Android/Music/Video store was a good move, but I do hope that native apps keep coming, as TAT ( http://www.tat.se/ ) has created a really nice UI framework for native apps. I also suspect that running Android apps on BB10 will feel more ‘native’ which upcoming releases of BB10.
Another chronic problem Blackberry is having, is sales reps. They are so biased towards the phone of their choice, no one really gets objective guidance from them. The teen girl who sold my Dad his Galaxy 4 told him “You don’t want to restrict yourself with bad battery life, and the limitations of iOS, so get an Android phone.” What?! Dad is coming from a 5 year old flip phone, that could barely do texting, I am pretty sure iOS would not constrain what he wants to do on a phone! I also highly doubt he would have battery issues given his usage pattern. Another rep said “Well you don’t want a blackberry, unless you are a just going to use it for email and texting, or you just need to have keyboard with buttons.” Uhmmm well, for one, that isn’t true, and secondly your body language suggests you would think less of us, if he did choose the Blackberry. Another sales guy said that “Androids were basically just for hackers”. (You get the point, sales people are just slightly above monkeys on the intelligence scale.) I think we are at a point where you really can’t lose with Android, iOS, BB10, or WP8, so I just let him make his own decision and bit my tongue.
I wish people wouldn’t be so narrow minded when making their decisions.