For one of the most successful smartphone manufacturers on the market, it must be infinitely frustrating to know that Blackberrys are selling more and more, but Apple’s iPhone still has that indefinable something that keeps consumers drooling and panting over the chic little handset. Though RIM has a good strong hold on the business realm, there are 3 really simple ways that it can maintain control of corporate clients and also gain that sex appeal the iPhone flaunts like Britney Spears on her first album.
1. Don’t sell out and abandon the tactile keyboard. Sure, the iPhone keyboard is all the rage, but as an owner of a full qwerty keyboard, my largest problem with adopting the iPhone is that I simply cant resolve giving up the nice firm touch of rubber buttons in favor of a glass screen. I’m not the only one that feels that way.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Mike Lazaridis, one of two CEOs at RIM, said in regards to the iPhone’s glass surface, ““I couldn’t type on it and I still can’t type on it, and a lot of my friends can’t type on it.” You aren’t alone with your friends, Mike.
For the power emailers and power texters in the world, there really is just nothing that can top the tactile feedback of a full keyboard. Keep the keyboard, it is a positive difference between the iPhone and the Blackberry.
2. Take notes on the iPhone GUI and steal a bit where appropriate. The number one thing that is so attractive about the iPhone (and Apple software in general) is the simplicity coupled with functionality. The Blackberry OS isn’t bad. Its just not anything like Apple’s.
Blackberry Pearls are selling even with non-corporate customers very well. However, a shift in the OS could boost those sales even more. Right now, Windows Mobile isn’t very much of a viable threat, but Google is debuting Android on phones soon, and Apple has the iPhone OS. Both of those phone OSes have the sleek and simple thing going for them. RIM needs to try something similar.
3. Low price points always win the day with the vast majority of consumers. As it stands right now, RIM already has more devices at more competitive and lower prices than the iPhone. Though the iPhone is cool, a lot of people just don’t want to drop a lot of money on a device like a phone that can get lost, stolen, broken, etc. An uber expensive phone is like a really high end watch or pair of sunglasses. They’re a luxury, but many times, just because of the day to day troubles, its smarter to get the less expensive, more easily replaced device.
If RIM starts trying to give Blackberrys an edge in the other areas like GUI and applications, having its own kind of persona at a lower price than the iPhone will mean Blackberrys will be hot, just like the iPhone, just different.
Really, the iPhone is just hype. When it comes to making a purchase in stores, consumers want those things like simplicity and the “fun factor,” but that doesn’t have to come from Apple. If RIM can start copying those good concepts the iPhone now has and offer devices at a lower price, RIM should never have to worry about paying the bills come the end of the month.