BlackBerry has been releasing a spate of bad news recently, with dipping sales leading to crashing share prices. Their flagship BB10 operating system was supposed to be the company’s saviour, but in truth it has been no such thing. However, BlackBerry bosses have remained upbeat about their BB10 OS, and they are coyly confident that their latest flagship could be the saviour. This new flagship – called the A10 – is being focussed around gamers and developers.
This new focus is quite different to the company’s legacy, which grew on the back of business users. However, according to tech news website BGR, who are citing multiple unnamed sources, made the claim on Wednesday that the A10 will have a “big focus on power and gaming.” In order to appeal to this market, the phone will need significant spec, and as such is being billed as “the most powerful, capable BlackBerry” to date.
In order to work for gamers, the BlackBerry A10 will feature a large 5 inch AMOLED display. This will be powered by 2GB of RAM and a dual-core processor, which BlackBerry feel is the highest spec they can provide with overly sacrificing the phones battery life. Therefore, there will be no quad core, but in truth this may be because the BB10 software was only designed for a dual-chip system. Therefore, this could be another example of how BB10 was not future-proofed enough and was somewhat rushed on its way to market, both of which has limited its effectiveness and thus uptake.
It seems that BlackBerry are looking to the smart phone market leaders, Samsung, for design inspiration. The bigger screen size, leading to a significantly larger unit size than we have previously seen from BlackBerry and the design is generally said to ‘closely resemble’ the Galaxy S4. Therefore, this can be seen as BlackBerry’s shot across the bows at Apple and Samsung.
Maybe the problem here for BlackBerry will be their somewhat weak relationship with developers. Unlike say Apple, who have the biggest developer community on their iOS platform, BlackBerry are seriously lacking in this regard. Their app stores have historically being amongst the poorest in terms of representation from diverse apps. For the BB10 OS to carry a lot of good games, not to mention wider apps, this will need to change fast.
The BlackBerry will launch in November, smack bang in the middle of one of the hottest smart phone launch quarters in history. The new iPhone and a serious of Android phones are also due within a couple of months of this A10 launch. None of this is set to make the go to market any easier for BlackBerry, but a lot will depend on the effectiveness of Apple’s launch of the new iPhone. Reports continue to indicate that the new iPhone will launch in September, which will give it a 1-2 month run on the BlackBerry A10. If that launch is underwhelming, as the iPhone 4S and to an extent iPhone 5 launches were seen to be, then the door could open more for the BB10 and the A10 systems.