After an event yesterday at which the long-troubled Canadian mobile-phone maker Research in Motion renamed itself simply BlackBerry, some tech industry watchers are saying the company could make a comeback.
If it does, it would be a feat rivaled only by a Marissa Mayer-led Yahoo turnaround.
BlackBerry’s once-dominant operating system has seen its market share fall to just 4 percent globally. The company’s stock has fallen 90 percent since its peak in 2008.
Its been pointing to its next-gen operating system as its salvation. But as the launch of the OS was delayed, the claim was taken less and less seriously.
Until Wednesday, when BlackBerry launched its Z10 phone, running the BlackBerry10 OS. Previous cynics, notably New York Times tech writer David Pogue, have sung its praises. It has a sharper screen than iPhone’s retina display and offers users one-stop access to their different messaging formats, rather than siloing them by provider. It has hi-def cameras and speech recognition, and comes backed by a well-stocked app store.
App makers have invested in delivering apps for the new platform. LinkedIn is something of a natural fit, since BlackBerry has a core user base of professionals, and has retained more market share internationally than in the United States. LinkedIn’s BlackBerry app comes preloaded on the phones.
Foursquare launched an open-sourced BlackBerry app today.
The stock market wasn’t convinced that the Z10 would revive BlackBerry, but analysts thought the new products gave the company “a shot.”
Still, the battle, analysts say, is for third prize, below iOS and Android. But with the number of smart phones and tablets exploding, third place could be enough to support a business.