Gartner Skeptical On BlackBerry Comeback

The Z10 is about to debut in the U.S., but BlackBerry will struggle to reclaim as much as 5% of the smartphone market, analysts say.

Eric Zeman, Contributor

March 20, 2013

3 Min Read

BlackBerry 10: Visual Tour Of Smartphones, OS

BlackBerry 10: Visual Tour Of Smartphones, OS

BlackBerry 10: Visual Tour Of Smartphones, OS(click image for larger view and for slideshow)

The BlackBerry Z10 hits AT&T stores this week and Verizon Wireless stores next week. BlackBerry is excited about its re-launch in the U.S. market, and even has a bash in New York City planned for Thursday night. BlackBerry's enthusiasm, however, hasn't done much to improve its chances of staging a real comeback.

Analysts are weighing in not only on the Z10 itself, but also on BlackBerry's enterprise products. One firm is waving the yellow, cautionary flag.

"Although BB10 presents a modernized new platform based on touch technology, market conditions will make it extremely difficult for BlackBerry to rise above iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8 platforms," said Gartner. The analyst firm doesn't think the Z10 and Q10 will help BlackBerry build much market share. By 2016, Gartner believes BlackBerry will have regained less than 5% of the smartphone market. Android and iOS combined hold about 90% of the market.

[ BlackBerry executives have a lot to say. Read BlackBerry CEO: Apple iPhone Getting Old. ]

Much of BlackBerry's success with consumers moving forward will hinge on marketing dollars and how effectively BlackBerry uses them. It will be going head-to-head with Apple and Samsung, both of which are investing piles of cash in marketing campaigns. In 2012, Samsung spent more than $400 million marketing its smartphones and tablets.

If BlackBerry 10 doesn't survive in the consumer market, it won't make it in the enterprise market, either.

Thinking about deploying BlackBerry Enterprise Server 10 to help manage your fleet of devices? Wait, said Gartner. The company thinks businesses should give BES 10 at least six months in the market to gauge its success or failure before making any significant investment in the mobile device management tool.

Speaking of which, Gartner allows that BES 10 is the best tool to use when it comes to managing BlackBerry 10 devices, but points out that it makes compromises in order to also manage Android and iOS devices. In particular, Gartner chides BlackBerry for not opening management API support to other mobile device management tools (think ActiveSync, et al.). Companies that have adopted a BYOD model, in particular, should hold off on BES 10.

In yet another warning sign, BlackBerry 10 has yet to meet the U.K. government's security needs. Though BB10 handsets are on their way toward certification with the U.K.'s Communications Electronics Security Group, changes in the approval process have lengthened the time needed to win that approval. BlackBerry points out that BB10 has already met the necessary requirements for government use in the U.S. and Germany, and it expects the same will eventually be true in the U.K.

The Z10 can be picked up for $199 at AT&T beginning March 22, and from Verizon Wireless beginning March 28. It will also soon be available from T-Mobile USA.

About the Author(s)

Eric Zeman


Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies.

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