Can the Motion revive Blackberry?

Yesterday, at the GITEX Technology Week in Dubai, TCL Communication’s BlackBerry mobile brand unveiled its BlackBerry smartphone with the global first launch of BlackBerry Motion. It is also the first BlackBerry device to launch in the Middle East with Dual SIM.

But will the new device help the BlackBerry brand make a comeback in 2017?

Mike Al-Mefleh, Middle East Regional Director for BlackBerry Mobile thinks so.

“BlackBerry Motion marketing will address on-the-go, professional customers. People that need a device that keeps up with their busy lifestyles, and that is always in Motion,” Mike told GMR.

The BlackBerry Motion is launching first in the Middle East and will be available in the second half of October for AED 1699 in the UAE and SAR 1699 in Saudi Arabia.

“Motion completes our BlackBerry smartphone lineup under TCL Communication, composed now of both keyboard and full-touch devices in the Middle East. We look forward to rolling out additional devices to add to our portfolio in 2018,” he added.

This is the second BlackBerry phone to roll out in recent months. Last month, TCL Communication unveiled a new version of BlackBerry KEYone with the introduction of the BlackBerry KEYone Black Edition.

BlackBerry, the Canadian firm, once the dominant mobile phone player, lost out to its rival smartphone players mainly iPhone and Samsung. And there were various reasons for that. One of the most obvious was the failure to adapt itself at a time when smartphone technology was undergoing rapid innovation, such as touch screen and large screens (as against BlackBerry’s fixed QWERTY plastic keyboards with a little scroll ball). While the company did try to catch up with the launch of BlackBerry 10, but by then it was too late.

Other reasons why Blackberry failed were its no-so-easy-to-use operating system, impressive hardware, lack of innovation, inferior apps, poor software integration with Google’s cloud services, and expensive devices.

The Canadian firm has now transformed itself from mobile device handset maker to system infrastructure software provider focused on unified endpoint management, security, and IoT solutions.

The Chinese firm TCL Communication, which purchased the BlackBerry mobile hardware company in 2016 designs, manufactures and markets the phone, while the Canadian firm focuses on the software.

BlackBerry also switched to the populist Android operating system in an effort to regain past glories. But will all these efforts to win back its lost smartphone customer base bear fruits? It’s anybody’s guess.

– By Sunil Kumar Singh