BlackBerry, the once-great smartphone maker that became victim No. 1 of Apple's iPhone, revealed two devices running on the firm's new operating system, BlackBerry 10, on Wednesday. It's nice that a struggling company try to finally pull itself up by its bootstraps after so many delays. Unfortunately, the build-up and the ceremony itself reeked of desperation.
For BlackBerry, a resurgence will have to overcome writing that has long been on the walls. From 6,000 layoffs in June 2012 to declining interest in the the company's signature phones, BlackBerry has their work cut out for them. But that's fine, everybody loves a good comeback story, right?
If Wednesday's launch was any indication, it will need to be quite the comeback.
Let us count the ways the presentation and build-up were a miss:
At the BlackBerry 10 launch event, CEO Thorsten Heins introduced singer Alicia Keys as the company's new global creative director. Sure, Keys is a familiar and likable face to hawk your product -- but how has writing "Girl On Fire" prepared her for a creative director role? Adding to the awkward is that she's a prolific Twitter user from her iPhone and Instagram's quite a bit, a program which isn't available on BlackBerry's new operating system yet. She claimed at the event that she'd been lured back into the BlackBerry fold by the new phones.
Kevin Michaluk, owner of the premier BlackBerry fansite and blog "CrackBerry" had promised to not cut his hair until the release of BlackBerry 10. Considering there were a few delays along the way, Michaluk had a nice batch of lettuce going. Though a nice gesture of his dedication, the reaction in house was timid. Pageviews for Crackberry.com have seen a steady dip.
In an effort to build hype for the announcement of BlackBerry's new operating system and phones, the company released this video one day before the launch. The video involved a cable controlled jump with Alec Saunders, BlackBerry's VP of developer relations, and BlackBerry exec Marty Mallick. During the jump Mallick lets out a barely enthusiastic "BlackBerry 10 ruleeesssss!" The video only had 6,000 views prior to the launch event.
During the BlackBerry 10 launch event, it was revealed that Research In Motion or RIM, BlackBerry's creator, would be changing its name to...BlackBerry. More than anything this seems to signal that the BlackBerry is all or nothing for what was formerly RIM -- they have nothing to fall back on.
Many Twitter users were quick to point out the launch of BlackBerry 10 to another doomed launch, that of the the Palm Pre for Palm. The company announced the new phone and OS in January 2009, only to be scooped up by Hewlett Packard in April 2010.