CANADIAN mobile manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) hopes to revive its ailing fortunes with the launch of its latest handset, the Blackberry 10 today.
The once dominant brand, known to users by the affectionate sobriquet ‘Crackberry’, has seen its market share fall dramatically in the face of competitors such as Apple and Samsung.
Apple sold 47.8 million iPhones while 63 million Samsung smartphones were purchased in the last quarter. RIM sold less than 12 million handsets in comparison.
Gareth Beavis, phones editor at online publication TechRadar, believes that the company misinterpreted consumer needs but could bounce back thanks to the new Blackberry device.
“In the last seven years, we’ve seen the smartphone rise up from something that people thought was just for businessmen to something that everybody owns,” he said.
“What RIM never really did was capture the person on the street who just wanted a smartphone to do everything. It captured the youth market, it got the business market, but eventually there were alternatives to that on Apple and from Samsung and it really kind of fell away.”
Problems with handsets and a service outage in 2011 has done much to tarnish the brand’s reputation with consumers.
Many critics who have already seen the new handset believe it is on par with iPhone, Android and Windows phones, describing it as a ‘positive step for the company.’
It is widely anticipated to be entirely touchscreen, dispensing with the company’s traditional preference for both screen and keyboard.
The Blackberry 10 will also have a new message hub where users can access social media and text messaging in one place rather than through individual apps.
The company’s share price has doubled since September to the £11 mark though this is significantly down from its market high of June 2008 where RIM traded above £89.