BlackBerry is Back!

In case we haven't officially said it yet, BlackBerry is back. It's game on in Waterloo. The company that many left for dead is very much alive. One month into the commercial launch of BlackBerry 10, I think they've proven at least that much.

What's happening with BlackBerry is a lot like the girl who dates her high school sweetheart. He's a bit chubby and a bad dresser, but he's great at conversation. Eventually a new kid comes along. He dresses better, looks better and steals her heart for the moment. But after a while, something just isn't quite right. The girl isn't able to communicate with the new guy like she used to communicate with her old chubby boyfriend.

Summer holidays come and go, and the girl goes back to school in September. To her surprise, the once-chubby kid has been working out, and he's dressing a lot better. Yet he's the same sweet guy that communicates with her so well. Her heart is captured again, and she's back to her first love.

BlackBerry has been working out for nearly 3 years while the QNX-powered BlackBerry 10 platform has been painstakingly put together. And one month into the launch, we're seeing good evidence that people are loving it.

Not everyone is loving it, mind you. There are a mix of reviews out there, and quite often you see people who write something along the lines of, "Why would anyone want a BlackBerry Z10 when it isn't that different from an Android or iPhone?" The logic works both ways, folks. Why would anyone want an Android or iPhone when the Z10 does the same things? Of course the Z10 is the once chubby but newly fit kid who's great at conversation. Peek and flow, and the BlackBerry Hub make it easy to talk.

For every reviewer who says people won't want the Z10 because of some supposed lack of differentiation, there are obviously orders of magnitude more people making the switch. Just look at this story from Fierce Wireless which references BlackBerry EVP of Global Sales Rick Costanzo. While not providing exact figures, Costanzo said, "We're actually getting roughly speaking about a third coming in from outside the BlackBerry community". He went on to clarify that this figure is consistent among the 50 markets the Z10 has launched in so far. Other sources, who normally would not be bullish on such stats, have further confirmed it.

I have to say ... that is HUGELY significant news folks. Just think about it. Six months ago we had people saying BlackBerry 10 wouldn't even make it out of the gate. The company would die. They had no chance. Then the launch happened. Lots of people loved the device, while some thought it wasn't a big enough deal. So while not everyone was sold on the potential of the Z10 and the BlackBerry 10 platform, people pretty much stopped writing about the death of BlackBerry. Instead we heard statements like, "Oh well BlackBerry 10 will really just appeal to the 79 million people who have stuck with the platform this far. It's not going to win people back".

Sounds like Rick Costanzo would beg to differ. And assuming they actually have some kind of quasi-reliable method of getting these numbers, how can we argue with facts? People are coming back to BlackBerry. That's a huge deal.

This is still a race. But six months ago people said the race was over. They said BlackBerry 10 would be dead on arrival. Today the situation looks vastly different. BlackBerry has made it out of the starting blocks. They're in the race, and they're looking like a serious contender for the bronze medal at this point in the global race. In more specialized races like enterprise mobility they've still got a shot at the gold.

It feels good to say it. BlackBerry is back.