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The Boy Genius Report: What is BlackBerry thinking?

Updated May 15th, 2013 9:40AM EDT
BlackBerry Strategy Analysis

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At the company’s BlackBerry Live conference on Tuesday, BlackBerry announced what could be interpreted as zero positive news for the company. First, there’s the BlackBerry Q5 mid-range QWERTY handset that runs BlackBerry 10. Pricing was conveniently not announced. Industry watchers are chiming in saying that BlackBerry really needs to hit a $250 price point at full retail in order to compete in Asia and other similar markets. Let me spoil it for you.

There is no chance BlackBerry is selling the BlackBerry Q5 for $250 full retail. I would be shocked, completely blown away, if that phone came in under $350 before subsidies. And let’s be honest here — in a day and age where consumers who can only afford a $200 smartphone are finally able to enjoy a large full-touch handsets with Android apps and a good all-around experience, they’re not going to choose a tiny screen with cheap plastic buttons, no quality apps, no true push email… and elect to pay more for it. Never.

The only other announcement was that BlackBerry was finally, finally bringing BlackBerry Messenger to the iOS and Android platforms, with full cross-platform compatibility. Besides showcasing another extremely tragic case of how BlackBerry has completely missed the mobile messaging explosion over the last three years — when BlackBerry possibly could have starved WhatsApp and Kik when they first came onto the scene — BlackBerry is now bringing the only unique service offering the company has left to other platforms in order to try to compete with other messaging services.

Remember, this is a company that could not figure out how to get BlackBerry Messenger working with its first tablet, and one that still can’t figure out how to make BlackBerry Messenger work across multiple devices on the same account like Apple was able to do from day one.

Tuesday’s event shows how BlackBerry still doesn’t get it: Misleading statements about how many more messages on BlackBerry Messenger are being sent than competing services, misleading statements about application numbers, misleading statements about revenue per developer being higher than another platform, a mid-range plastic keyboard phone that will likely be too expensive, and the upcoming loss of the only lock-in BlackBerry still offered ends our coverage of today’s events.

BlackBerry shares were trading down more than 4% following BlackBerry’s keynote.

The Boy Genius Report is a periodic column written by BGR founder Jonathan S. Geller. It offers insights and opinions on various products, companies and trends across the consumer electronics business and beyond.

Jonathan S. Geller
Jonathan Geller Founder, President & Editor-in-chief

Jonathan S. Geller founded Boy Genius Report, now known as BGR, in 2006. It became the biggest mobile news destination in the world by the end of 2009, and BGR was acquired by leading digital media company PMC in April 2010.

Jonathan is President of BGR Media, LLC., and Editor-in-chief of the BGR website.

What started as a side project at the age of 16, quickly transpired into 24-hour days and nights of sharing exclusive and breaking news about the mobile communications industry. BGR now reaches up to 100 million readers a month through the website, syndication partners, and additional channels.