Canada’s Research in Motion today unveiled its survival plan geared to adoption of Blackberry as its new corporate name, recruitment of singer Alicia Keys as “global creative director” and the launch of a new all-touch Z-10 smartphone.
Why the once-dominant smartphone company is betting its future on the Blackberry name is beyond me. There’s not much equity left in the Blackberry brand.
That moniker is an albatross, representing the market share loss disaster of the past. Why not a forward-looking name such as SonofSamsung Inc.? How about Goggle Corp.? Or AnotherApple Co.?
The revamped Blackberry says Keys’ role is to “inspire the future” of the company. The singer is among the millions of people who dumped Blackberry after seeing hipper phones in her gym. She now claims to be a true believer.
In the Keys alliance, Blackberry is following the footsteps of instant camera company Polaroid, which trotted out Lady Gaga as its creative director. Polaroid introduced Gaga, who no longer reps the company, at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2011. The diva sold eight million copies of her debut album. Polaroid would have been happy with sales a fraction of that amount.
Good luck, Alicia.
As for the Z-10, Walt Mossberg, Wall Street Journal consumer technology guru, tested it for a week. He delivered his verdict today, calling it a “work in progress.”
That's hardly a ringing affirmation for a "bet the company product."
Mossberg admitted the new phone and its BB10 software represent a radical reinvention of the BlackBerry. “The hardware is decent and the user interface is logical and generally easy to use. I believe it has a chance of getting RIM back into the game, if the company can attract a lot more apps,” concluded Mossberg.
Keys has her work cut out.