BlackBerry is not going to succeed by placating its QWERTY-loving loyalists. In fact, you could argue that’s what caused its downfall in the first place.
The U.S. arrival of the BlackBerry Q10 is delayed, according to the Associated Press. But who cares? With its physical keyboard, the Q10 will be a niche device with very little influence over BlackBerry’s long-term fortunes.
At last week’s BlackBerry 10 launch event, CEO Thorsten Heins said the Q10 would be available starting in April. This week, however, he said U.S. customers won’t be able to buy the device until mid-May or early June.
This delay is largely irrelevant. Depending on whose numbers you look at, BlackBerry’s U.S. market share is somewhere around 2% or 3%. These customers haven’t switched to an iPhone or Android in the past five years. What’s another couple of months? Even if all of these customers did up and leave BlackBerry, it wouldn’t matter.
If BlackBerry is to survive, it needs to win back some iPhone and Android users. The important thing here is that its fully touchscreen device, the BlackBerry Z10, remains on track for March availability stateside. (It’s already on sale in other parts of the world, where it seems to be off to a good start.)
Sure, as mobile expert Brian Katz pointed out on Twitter, the Q10 will win back some iPhone and Android users “who hate virtual [keyboards] but had no choice.” But again, these customers will be a drop in the bucket.
The Q10 is nothing more than a bone BlackBerry is throwing to its few remaining diehard fans. The Z10 will determine whether BlackBerry gets a second act or if its curtains close for good.