New BlackBerry 10 operating system being unveiled at RIM event Wednesday
The company must appease its corporate base while winning over Android and iOS users
This could be the company's last opportunity to cling to its No. 3 spot in the smartphone market
The makers of BlackBerry devices, Research in Motion, are gearing up for a fight they can’t afford to lose.
On Wednesday at a press event in New York, the company will finally unveil its new smartphone operating system, BlackBerry 10, and a pair of new handsets – one with a physical keyboard and another that’s all touchscreen.
But are there enough BlackBerry fans left out there to embrace a new kind of smartphone from a company that has fallen woefully behind the competition, both in sales and innovation? Many BlackBerry users in the United States are stuck with the device because it is issued by their employer, which has led to a cumbersome trend of people carrying two devices: a work phone and a personal one.
To succeed, RIM must persuade diehard BlackBerry fans to upgrade to something radically new. BlackBerry also must woo corporations by emphasizing security and support features while distinguishing itself from the leading smartphone platforms, iOS and Android, and the other new kid, Windows Phone 8.
“They need to get everything absolutely right, from the design of the hardware to the UI (user interface) of the hardware to the number of applications to the price of the applications,” said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Gartner.