BlackBerry is expecting big things from its QWERTY-equipped BlackBerry Q10 smartphone. Not everyone is optimistic about the handset’s future, however. Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Shah noted that the Q10 brings fragmentation to the BlackBerry platform “in terms of applications development and availability of apps across different form-factors.” The analyst explained that developers are forced to “specially tweak” their BlackBerry 10 apps that were originally designed for the Z10 to be compatible with the Q10’s 3.1-inch, 720 x 720-pixel display.
“BlackBerry will have to find ways to resolve this issue and make sure that the development process is painless, uniform and QWERTY BB10 devices are not deprived of apps which are available on full-touchscreen BB10 devices or vice-versa,” Shah said.
The analyst also questioned BlackBerry’s pricing strategy. The Q10 is offered for $600 off contract or $200 when signing a new two-year agreement with Verizon or AT&T, putting the smartphone up against “premium-tier” competitors like the HTC One, Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5.
While BlackBerry is clearly targeting a niche market of users who still prefer a physical keyboard, Shah believes the company must reevaluate the Q10’s pricing and fix app compatibility if it wants the device to succeed.