Breakfast news PR disaster aside, the launch of BlackBerry 10 (BB10) could not have gone better for BlackBerry, nee RIM.
The critical reception has been largely positive, with tech analysts and reporters heaping praise on an OS and devices that have clearly learned lessons from past failures.
This is an operating system built from the ground up and is more than capable of challenging the biggest smartphone players.
But while BlackBerry Hub, the ace Time Shift camera feature and an impressive selection of apps at launch are good for starters, the key challenge now is to turn this goodwill into sales.
To this end, releasing the BlackBerry Z10 immediately here the UK is a very smart move.
While the keyboard-packing Q10 isn’t expected for a couple of months, BlackBerry knows the clamour for a touchscreen device is likely to be greater and has ensured that the Z10 is good-to-go immediately.
This has been helped by delays to BB10, certainly, but it suggests that BlackBerry has learned the lessons from Microsoft’s Windows Phone failings a few years back.
Then, the Big M revealed its new OS and spent the best part of six months getting it to market, by which point Apple and Google has gazumped the OS.
BlackBerry is facing the challenge head on. Getting the Z10 out now, before new Android devices are revealed by HTC on February 19th and Mobile World Congress (MWC) kicks off a week later, should help give it a good first few critical weeks.
Spring, though, is when the real fight begins. Because once Samsung outs the Galaxy S4 and Apple starts feeding the rumour mill ahead of its next iPhone refresh, BlackBerry will have to be right on top of its marketing game to give the Z10 and Q10 maximum exposure.
It’s starting this weekend with a Super Bowl ad, but it’ll take more than that and a celebrity endorsement to get those sales into the millions. Apps will also need to be worked on constantly, something clearly not lost on BlackBerry.
Netflix and Instagram are apparently coming, but the quality and breadth of add-ons will have to increase exponentially in order to give it any kind of chance against Android and iOS. Failure to do so will cost the Z10 in the long term.
For now, the signs are good. Certainly BlackBerry looks in better shape than Windows Phone, the other critical smash that’s failed to trouble the top of the smartphone charts.
But this is a long process of rehabilitation. We’re unlikely to know the status of BlackBerry and how it’s doing in the wider sense until the end of 2013.