Same-same but Different: Not the Blackberry we used to know

Blackberry’s Senior VP of Global Device Sales Alex Thurber, underlines the Blackberry proposition in three words – security, privacy and choice.

Never mind that Blackberry is shifting away from making hardware and disappointing hardcore fans who have known and come to love the company’s quality device-making, Thurber echoes what his CEO has said before about putting the ‘smart’ in smartphones.

“We are moving away from designing and running on our hardware… and will partner with firms around the world to use their hardware and our software,” said Thurber.

Alex Thurber

Alex Thurber

In fact, their most recent device launch, the Dtek 60 is a TCL-made phone, with Blackberry software built into it, and it doesn’t just stop with TCL, as there are other licensees as well.

Thurber admitted that fans say they love everything about Blackberry security, but they want to be able to access more apps. “So, we are moving to the Android (operating system), after making it as secure as it’s expected to be.

“We are calling it our Android, with adjustments made to hardware and software,” Thurber explained.

Using a hardened Linux kernel, Blackberry has also professed commitment to releasing patches on time to security updates.

What else is different?

Blackberry has always had a strong relationship with telcos, initially leveraging them as a key go-to-market channel. This has changed over the years as Blackberry devices eventually can be gotten through non-telco channels.

With hardware being produced by licensees now, would the degrees of separation between Blackberry and telcos increase? Thurber denies this and said, “I don’t see the relationship change much. We continue to have a strong relationship, and speak daily to telco counterparts as we transition (away from hardware).”

In fact, Blackberry now making devices via a licensing model allows them to expand their total addressable market with a variety of price points.

Converging target audience

Blackberry still continues to invest in a Blackberry operating system or BB 10.3.3. It’s legendary security features are very much still in demand by the public sector and regulated industries.

As a result, two markets for Blackberry seem to have emerged. This may not be the case for very long however as Thurber observed many BB10 customers are looking at Blackberry Android solutions.

“We also spend time explaining the Android roadmap and letting them know it’s becoming just as secure (as BB10).

“So, customers have come from different sides but they continue to merge,” Thurber concluded.


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