The new BlackBerry (BBRY) Z10 and Q10 phones are out and there are many mixed feelings. In general, those who have had a chance to try the phones are ecstatic, but analysts who missed the stock's ride to $18 are stubbornly pessimistic about the company's prospects. Irrespective if the new phones will be a success with the masses or not, I think the Z10 is going to be an enterprise success anyway one dices and slices it.
In the comment section of an article I read several days ago, one commentator explained why he can't wait to buy the BlackBerry Z10 when it comes out. He said that in the government agency he works for (didn't disclose which one), it was mandatory to have a BlackBerry for official business (for security reasons), but that he also has an Apple (AAPL) iPhone for personal use.
While the iPhone (he explained) is a real cool phone and so on, he's gotten tired of carrying two phones around. And since the new BB Z10 has two persona, it means he can now use the Z10 for all official business as well as his personal calls, without carrying two phones. It is also interesting the explanation he offered for having two phones to begin with, since he could have used his BlackBerry device for personal calls also. The explanation was that his official BlackBerry device was outdated. It was "uncool" he said to carry around a device of yesteryear and something that many consider a dinosaur. But since the Z10 is a late generation phone device, he would have no problem being seen with it anywhere he goes.
I am sure that there are many companies that also mandate the use of older BlackBerry devices, and I am also sure many people carry around two phones in the office. Which leads me to believe that many people in government and the enterprise will update to BlackBerry, initially at least, not to carry two phones around.
Especially as far as BlackBerry Balance, I have been read many reviews from IT managers over the weekend that can't wait to test this feature out. For those who don't understand the importance of this feature, it is probably the single most important enterprise feature that companies will focus on. IT managers with a single stroke will be able to update apps, calendars and other corporate information with one stroke across all corporate phones on the network. And the best part that IT managers like, is the ability to swipe a phone clean when someone leaves the company. My take on this is that even companies who don't use the BlackBerry at the moment, will at least give it a try to test this feature out. This is a new revelation in the smart phone space and something that I believe is truly underestimated for now.
Many reviewers gave BlackBerry Hub great reviews. BlackBerry HUB is a central repository for e-mail, text, social updates and more. With HUB, people don't need to open up different applications to see their Linked-in messages, emails or tweets, because they are all there on one screen. This feature might not offer the maximum social experience, but if you are someone like me who basically wants to see his messages and doesn't want to open apps constantly, then the Z10 is for you. It is needless to say how important this feature is to people in the enterprise who are constantly on the go.
The Gesture-based Navigation System of the Z10 is also another feature that will sell well in enterprise world. While people in the corporate world are people just like you and me, they nevertheless prefer to have a device that is easy and fast to use, than a device that has all the latest gizmos. Gizmos are important also, but it is not the main reason enterprise customers buy a smart phone.
Video chat is built into the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service. I mean is this the ultimate corporate communication method or what? I have seen many people use this tool and literally the reviews were great. Again, this is by default the ultimate enterprise communication feature and many enterprise users will buy a Z10 phone exclusively for this feature.
Phillip Redman from Gartner also thinks the new BlackBerry devices will be a success. He writes:
The new BB10 offers the best UX on the market-not perfect, but certainly a rival to the iPhone 5, with even greater performance. The question is: will the market take it? So I'll go on record here saying that it will. Now I don't expect it to surpass iOS or Android sales, but I think this device has great comeback potential. And the fact that enterprises can support it using Exchange Active Synch offers a low impact solution if they don't upgrade to the BES10.
The key words are "great comeback potential".
So since I think BlackBerry will be an enterprise success, that means someone else will lose. My preliminary reading is that the big loser, as far as enterprise customers, will be Apple's iPhone. Nokia (NOK) simply does not have a foothold in this space yet and Android is all over the place to even make a difference.
But because Apple today is the premier enterprise phone (in terms of numbers), the iPhone will be the biggest loser. While I don't believe that the BlackBerry Z10 or Q10 will become as popular or profitable as the iPhone, and the market-share BlackBerry will gain will probably be too little for Apple to notice, it will be a bid deal for BlackBerry to survive and for the stock price to appreciate substantially even from today's levels
Please remember my investment theme for BlackBerry from the very beginning. BlackBerry does not need to be the next Apple in order for shareholders to make money. All BlackBerry needs to do is capture a small piece of the market and solidify itself in the enterprise space for now. And far as I can tell, this task will be accomplished.