For years, it has been Samsung vs. Apple. Both Samsung and Apple lead the global smartphone market today. But could BlackBerry’s, albeit late, entrance into the Android market threaten Samsung’s top position? Could we see BlackBerry, the former darling of the Middle East region, competing with Apple and reigning supreme?
BlackBerry bursts (late) onto Android scene
Consumers’ preference for Android finally prompted BlackBerry to launch the BlackBerry Motion this month. This all-touch, Android-supported smartphone is hoping to wrestle a piece of the Android pie from Samsung, HTC, Huawei and others.
“BlackBerry has introduced smartphones that use the Android Operating System to the global market, in which 80 percent of users rely on Android smartphones,” Mike Al-Mefleh, Middle East Regional Director for BlackBerry Mobile told AMEinfo.
But is it too little too late? Can BlackBerry really take a piece of the Android pie?
BlackBerry certainly has some strength that it can capitalize on.
BlackBerry claims to have the world’s most secure Android smartphone. The firm has built in additional security at every level of hardware production, as well as adding full data encryption of all content. That encryption prevents thieves from gaining access to personal details, such as photos, banking information, emails and contacts.
Whether it is used for business, personal or private reasons, some people just need to know that they have the most secure phone.
“BlackBerry has an extensive legacy of integrating security and privacy into all its products. “We focus on building mobile devices that embed security into the hardware itself,” said Mefleh.
“We do not rely on applications to give security to our smartphones. Security in BlackBerry is injected in every step of manufacturing,” he added.
BlackBerry Motion may also be able to compete with its affordable pricing ($460), compared to other smartphones offering similar features. For instance, both BlackBerry Motion and Samsung Note 8 operate on Android 7.1. They both have a 12MP camera and an 8 MP front camera. Samsung Note 8’s processor is Octa Core 2350 MHz compared to Octa Core 2000 MHz for BlackBerry, while BlackBerry has a bigger battery of 4000mAh compared to 3300mAh for Samsung Note 8.
While Samsung Note 8 offers some better features at a much higher price, BlackBerry Motion has some good features and, in some cases, has specifications that are similar to those of Note 8, for a remarkably lower price.
So, BlackBerry Motion may be able to build on some of its features to gain a chunk of the Android market.
If BlackBerry can find a place in the Android pie, can it ever compete with Apple?
It certainly depends on users’ preferences between Android and iOS systems. It may be hard for people using iPhone to switch to BlackBerry, since they are used to iOS which is completely different than Android.
However, some people may want to make the switch, if they like the features of BlackBerry, especially that the price difference is remarkable between the two smartphones.
To gain an insight on what may happen with the release of the new BlackBerry Motion, AMEinfo previously spoke to three business people using iPhone and asked if they were ready to pick up a BlackBerry.
“It depends on the new features and the price of the phone,” says Ahmad Choukeir, Managing Director at Compass Power Solutions, who also adds that it would be hard to switch from iPhone back to BlackBerry.
For Choukeir, the iPhone is more user-friendly. “I am more familiar with the iPhone and have not tried BlackBerry in a very long time. I do not know much about it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zeid Kobeissi, Electrical Manager at VACC Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, believes that BlackBerry is very effective when it comes to sending emails and making voice calls.
“But it is not user-friendly like the iPhone,” he adds. “Also, the Apple Store used in iPhones is richer and has a wider variety of applications.”
Samer Hajjar, Regional Director at Aramex, says that he is ready to shift to BlackBerry from iPhone, depending on features and prices, because he mostly likes the BBM features.
“The price is definitely better with the launch at $460, compared to an average $1,000 for a new iPhone,” he said.
BlackBerry vs. Apple: The stat test
Statistics portal Statista reveals that, in the first quarter of 2017, 86.1 percent of all smartphones sold to end users were phones with the Android Operating System, while only 13.7 per cent used iOS.
This certainly works to the advantage of BlackBerry.
“Using Android on BlackBerry allows users to have access to hundreds of thousands of applications on Google Play,” said Mefleh.
BlackBerry Motion also introduced some new features to its system, such as the dual SIM, which already exists in other smartphones in the market, but this is the first time that BlackBerry offer it.
Other features include anti-scratch resistance, water and dust resistance, 5.5 inch display, 12 MP camera, 4GB RAM and 32 GB storage with a slot for SD card, which can be expanded to up to 2 TB.
The two features in the BlackBerry Motion that are absent from the newly launched iPhone X are the waterproof handset and the Home button.
The Home button has been completely replaced in iPhone X. The large touch screen, combined with the new iOS 11 software, enables users to simply swipe up from the foot of the screen at any time to return to the Home screen.
Moreover, iPhone X is launched at $1,000 and will be available in either 64GB or 256GB. Its camera has a dual-lens 12-megapixel rear camera with a 7-megapixel front camera.
Apple says that the high-performance cores provide a 25-percent speed increase and a 70 percent boost from the four performance cores.
The iPhone X’s has a 2,716mAh battery, which surely works to BlackBerry’s advantage with a battery of 4,000 mAh, lasting up to 26 hours.
If BlackBerry guarantees security, offers a good price, looks good and can compete on the hardware level, it may be able to strengthen its market position. However, it is still too soon to tell that, since the phone was launched just a few days ago.