Blackberry Ltd. (remember them?) could be about to stage a welcome comeback, shaking up a smartphone market that has flat-lined over the past year.
Android or IOS? Apple or Samsung? Black white, or brown? I mean champagne, sorry. Predictable and dull.
Nobody can dispute that a smartphone is still a beautiful piece of technology, or that the combination of multimedia, app, map, face-time, push notification and email is so intoxicating that we spend half our lives glued to the warm, soft glow of their tiny pixellated little screens.
Let’s be honest, a tablet is just a big smartphone, or a normal sized smart phone. For giants. Who like to watch YouTube when they’re out and about. Or on the loo.
But these days, choosing your new smartphone is about as exciting as choosing your new gas provider.
Perhaps the industry is still reeling from the loss of its talisman, Steve Jobs. Or perhaps, like newly-weds returning from a fortnight’s frolicking in Mykonos and Kefalonia, we have come to the conclusion that change and innovation is for other folks, and it’s best to simply be content with the devil we know, every day, for the rest of our lives.
So begins a lengthy process of navel-gazing – with no change on the horizon we resort to bickering, rehashing the same old arguments, safe in the knowledge that as long as we have each other, our competitors vanquished, we can both behave as badly as each other.
This seems to be what has happened to Apple and Samsung, as can be evidenced by the slew of law suits that each has brought against the other. You stole my operating system! Well I wouldn’t have had to if you didn’t keep nicking my markets, and what about that voice recognition software, haven’t seen those blueprints in a while, where are you hiding them!
Meanwhile the garden is overgrowing and Nana has been sat in the same orthopaedic chair for the last six months. Without moving.
But lo, who is this frail form picking itself up from the gutter where it has been lying, bloodied and bruised, reeking of hopeless failure, yet slipping on a pair of tight jeans and nifty singlet.
Yes folks, it’s our old friend the Blackberry. We thought it was down and out, but like the shy one at some orgy, it’s finally back on the rise!
Our favourite old buddy, with its cheeky instant messaging software that not even the most roughhouse government can decipher. Those little plastic keys, beloved of statesman and teen alike.
The Blackberry, looking like something the US army may not discover how to use for another decade yet, pinging its message back across the old airwaves as if it has never been away!
The old Crackberry! Does it show videos? Who knows? Can it do facetime? Probably not? What does it have that the others haven’t?
Well, since you ask, a 56% stock rally over last 6 months, a $1.25 billion cash injection from erstwhile buyer Fairfax Group, and an outstanding new CEO, John Chen, who once said: “sometimes dating is the right way to go, and sometimes you gotta get married. We are at one of those moments, my friend,”
Uh-oh – is there room in this game for three in a bed?
Samsung is the largest smartphone provider with 28.8% of global smartphone sales in the last quarter of 2013; Apple picked up 18% to remain in second place
Today a court in California rejected Apple’s request to ban 20 plus Samsung smartphones and tablets due to breach of patent law, explaining “Apple has not met its burden of proving the requisite causal nexus to establish irreparable harm”. Bizarrely, all of the Samsung products in question were withdrawn from general sale several months ago and replaced with newer models, which do not breach patent law.
Incoming Blackberry CEO John Chen has taken the decision to sell a large swathe of Blackberry’s Canadian real estate to raise funds, and has not ruled out selling the instant messaging business. Facebook recently acquired instant messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion USD
Blackberry’s market value currently stands at $5.3 billion USD.