As BlackBerry's flagship Z10 smartphone becomes available in the US this week, it's just the beginning of a tough road that lays ahead for the struggling phone manufacturer.
Technology research firm Gartner has predicted that BlackBerry will achieve less than five per cent of worldwide smartphone market share through 2016. While BlackBerry 10 is a fresh, modern platform, market conditions will make it "extremely difficult" for the Waterloo, Ontario-based firm, formerly known as Research in Motion, to overtake iOS, Android, and Windows 8.
Moreover, while BlackBerry has historically been a strong enterprise brand, Gartner recommends that companies hold off investing in BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 as a mobile device management platform. Companies should wait for at least six months "until it is clear that BB10 has proven successful in the consumer market." In the meantime, enterprises should test out BlackBerry 10 products and get to know the platform and devices, whether or not they intend to support them.
"It is important to wait to make any moves toward full support of BB10 devices until the market makes a clear statement on BB10's success (or lack thereof)," Gartner said.
Whether or not BlackBerry 10 is a success in the consumer market now comes down to how effective BlackBerry's marketing is, Gartner said. The company is essentially going to have to convince consumers to choose the new BlackBerry platform over one they already know.
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins seems up for the challenge. The executive this week dismissed the iPhone as old news, saying he thinks users are ready for something new after looking at an essentially unchanged iPhone user interface for the past five years.