One of Blackberry’s latest ads shows off the Q10 smartphone and keyboard, calling it “a smarter way to type.” But in the world of smartphones, where processing speeds and display resolution are the usual benchmark of a phone, a keyboard seems like an dated feature to highlight.
But the keyboard may be one of the signs that Blackberry is giving up on the consumer electronics market.
Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategies, said that he sees this shift in marketing as the company rebranding itself as the ultimate business communication device. “Blackberry really isn’t able to compete in consumer experience [with the iPhone and Android devices] in terms of raw specs or their app stores,” he told ABC News. “Based on what they’re advertising and marketing, they’re trying to hone in on the business customer.”
Blackberry CEO John Chen seems to agree, saying that ideal North American customer isn’t you or me, but business and industry. “They will be the banks, the insurance companies, the health care, [and] the governments, state and federal,” he said in an interview with the website Crackberry. He adds that owning an iOS or Android device and owning a Blackberry aren’t mutually exclusive.
Though the company is leading with the keyboard, Moorhead suspects that it does have other things to talk about. “In my belief, it’s part of a campaign, so they’ll touch on different things at different times,” he said. “They’ll announce in the future the security aspects or the ability to separate company data from personal data, but it’s about the keyboard for now.”
A spokeswoman for Blackberry said that the Q10’s keyboard is what sets it apart from its other products, but that there is more to the device. “We will continue to develop the BlackBerry 10 Operating System with ongoing updates into 2014,” she said.