Remember Nokia and BlackBerry devices? If you’re older than 21, you probably do—they were huge players at one point. To the youngsters, they seem like manufacturers who came late to the party. Whey they don’t realize is we actually owe a lot to these smartphone manufacturers of yesteryear.
Do you like your encrypted messenger?
Better get out your thank you cards and send a few to Blackberry. They had Blackberry Messenger back when people were using Yahoo messenger and AIM. Yeah, that’s a long time ago. Think of it like Whatsapp’s pre-pre-pre-alpha version. Or the first one-to-one or group messenger that didn’t suck.
How many times a day do you check email on your phone?
Blackberry and Palm were the leaders with this. Way back when, you had your Blackberry for email and the web and you had your phone. If you were in banking and didn’t have a Blackberry, you were a bank teller, not a mover and a shaker.
This is the sort of innovation that propelled Blackberry to the forefront of the smartphone market. They stayed with their secure, tried and true system when everyone else when to app driven systems. Until the iPhone made changes to be able to secure its OS, the Blackberry was the go-to for Government officials because of the security it provided.
In a day and age where hacking is a daily occurrence, security should be on the minds of everyone, but it isn’t.
Nokia, on the other hand, was the most popular phone manufacturer in the world. They were the BMW 318i of phones. No matter where you went, anywhere in the world, there was always someone with one.
They worked flawlessly. Everywhere.
And they had that really cool Snake game.
They thought they could never lose. However, these brands are receiving another shot at life with the Android OS.
Will that be enough to jumpstart their market share?
Can the strengths of BlackBerry and Nokia be coupled with Android for redemption?
What new offerings will they brandish to set them apart in a crowded market?
Many new Nokia device details are available to tease us. They are taking the marketing and pre-registration road set up by manufacturers like Apple and Samsung. There has already been a lot of speculation about the new BlackBerry Mercury too. It is due to be officially unveiled at the MWC (Mobile World Congress) this month (Feb 2017).
Below are a few of the strong points the two forefathers of smartphoning are bringing to the table.
1. BlackBerry’s Long-Held Strength—A Secure OS
Like I mentioned, the reason BlackBerry devices were so popular for business use back in the day was their secure operating system. They made military software for tanks and other stuff too, so that has to mean something.
Android’s brand could actually gain an advantage by knowing how to use military level security in a mobile OS. While you can take steps to ensure that your smartphone is as secure as any smartphone with a connection to the Internet can be, it’s not exactly what Android is known for. BlackBerry’s site states that “Licensing the BlackBerry software experience allows us to provide secure, connected, and inherently mobile solutions.”
BlackBerry earned some right to brag about the security of its software. The brand did very well in the recent Gartner’s High Security Mobility Management Study. BlackBerry intends to continue this aspect of its strategy. This could prove mutually beneficial for BlackBerry and Android, a brand that (whether fairly or unfairly) Apple has managed to erode some confidence in when it comes to security.
Alternatively, BlackBerry placed too much emphasis before on its secure OS, and not enough on the support of app developers, which Android has.
2. Nokia 6 Design
Nokia has a few tricks up its sleeve with this phone. Perhaps that’s why it appealed to 1.4 million registrants during a flash sale in China. It has a lot of features that do what Nokia has always done well—excel at design. Take for instance its 5.5-inch bold bright screen protected by 2.5D Gorilla Glass—remember how indestructible Nokias were?
The sound should be decent on this phone, in large part due to Dolby Atmos and dual amplifiers. The camera is comprised of a 6MP Phase Detection Autofocus rear camera with f/2.0 aperture and an 8MP front camera. Battery life shouldn’t be too bad at 3000 mAh.
The Nokia 6 will run Android 7.0 Nougat with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 SoC and 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage.
Hopefully, it will be ultra-durable and get reception places other phones can’t. These were two of the strong points that made Nokia a top contender.
3. BlackBerry’s Physical Keyboard
I confess that doing any significant amount of typing on a touchscreen is not my preference. I don’t care if it means I’m old-fashioned. The BlackBerry Mercury will have a classic physical QWERTY keyboard when it comes out. The BlackBerry Neon and Argon have already been released with no physical keyboard.
The BlackBerry Priv was released with both Android and a physical keyboard option but fell flat on its face. One reason might be that it underestimated how difficult it would be to make inroads in a premium market with a high price tag.
There was simply no appetite among prospective buyers, especially when this market is already so dominated by Apple and Samsung. It appears BlackBerry’s current and upcoming bid for less expensive devices is far more practical.
It’ll be a hard sell for Blackberry to the wireless carriers. They lost their clout and can’t just barge back in like they own the place. With the old Blackberry devices, there was an additional service you had to have. It was the connection to the Blackberry server. This encrypted connection was what gave you the security.
While the road back to greatness for these once great manufacturers is a steep one, they are committed to putting out a great product. They just need to find their niche.
The average person doesn’t think about their phone security two times in a week so perching Blackberry on a pedestal based on a secure OS might not be the best option.
The same goes with Nokia. While a sturdy build is important, it’s also expected. If you drop your $700 phone and it shatters like an iPhone screen, you’re going to be super mad and bash them every chance you get.
Nokia needs to come up with something great. Will they be the leaders in VR? How about the best phone to integrate with IoT devices like your refrigerator? Only time will tell.
Do you have experience with either manufacturer? What are your expectations for them and the phones they are bringing out? Let us know in the comments.