The Life and Multiple Claimed Deaths of BB10

Reports are coming in that there are “no new BB10 devices in the pipeline” Does that mean it’s over?

We can’t seem to go more than a few weeks without news that it is the end of BB10. It seems that many are all to quick to jump on the thought of the death of BB10. Today’s trigger for this news comes from a comment during CES today. While BlackBerry was speaking of the manufacturing agreement with TCL, it was stated that there were no new BlackBerry 10 devices in the pipeline.

Ubergizmo reports that while BlackBerry is “committed to BB10” this commitment merely¬†means that it is only going to provide security updates and patches. I have heard word that others are taking this to mean that BB10 is now a legacy operating system.

Let’s be honest. This is all just conjecture. These are opinions based on what these bloggers believe to be the case. What BlackBerry stated today at CES is not news. It’s nothing that anyone that has been keeping up with BlackBerry did not already know.

Back in April, I wrote a post clarifying information for those that were stating BlackBerry 10 was dead. It’s amazing how much time can pass, and yet I’m still having to write the same thing. At that point in time, John Chen, in a video interview let us know that there were no new BB10 devices in the pipeline, and yet stated BlackBerry’s commitment to BB10. At that time, he gave us a timeline, which stated that he would look at the possibility of future BB10 devices after the release of 10.3.4. For those that are keeping track, 10.3.3 is still fresh, with most of us still waiting to receive it. 10.3.4 is a future update which we are still planning on receiving. Is there shock that there are no BB10 phones in the pipeline? It shouldn’t be. John Chen told us there wouldn’t be at this point in development back in April of last year.

If we jump forward to December of last year, during out talk with Marty Beard, that commitment was further explained. It really comes down to supporting BlackBerry’s core business, the enterprise users in need of utmost security. Right now, those customers depend on BB10, and BlackBerry is committed to supporting them. As of now, that entails ensuring that their BB10 devices are at the forefront of security, and that is what the 10.3.3 and future 10.3.4 updates will do.

Does that mean it’s the end of BB10? Of course not. Once again, today’s news is not news at all, just a retelling of old news with the same old spin on it. Obviously, the next step when responding to conjecture, is to respond with conjecture.

First let’s define conjecture, so there can be no mistake of what I am doing. Conjecture is an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information. None of us outside of the leadership of BlackBerry have the full story, we are all in reality forming an opinion based on incomplete information. I however am basing my opinion on statements made by those in the leadership of BlackBerry.

Do I think BB10 is dead? Of course not. I don’t believe that decision has been made yet. We know that BlackBerry has very important customers that depend on BB10, and that they have every intention of supporting those customers. We also know that BlackBerry is still selling and supporting BB10 devices, that tells me that BB10 is obviously not dead. We know that the customers which BlackBerry is supporting, do not require an annual refresh of devices like the consumer class has come to expect. We know just how long those old Bold’s were still in use after the introduction of BB10. I imagine we still have a way to go before those customers come to BlackBerry asking for a new fleet of devices. We also know that these customers require reliable secure communications and not consumer apps, so BB10’s greatest limitation is not a limitation for these customers.

I hope beyond hope that BB10 makes a solid comeback in the coming years. I hope that these customers do come to BlackBerry and require a BB10 device with whatever modern specs there are at that day and time and that I will be able to purchase this device once it is made. Do I think that will happen? I’m not as sure now as I used to be.

BlackBerry has made amazing strides with android. Having first secured the OS in a way which no one thought possible, they released their first android device, the Priv. I picked up the Priv when it became available and I will be honest, it was just not the device for me. The phone was beautiful, and we all know it was secure, but it did not feel like BlackBerry. My way of doing things, which had been formed through years of use of first BBOS and then BB10 just not work on the phone that was more android than BlackBerry.

But that has changed.

After numerous updates to the BlackBerry apps and launcher, the Priv is now my primary device, and the only thing which I am missing from previous BlackBerry devices, is gestures. As someone that came from BBOS, using a BlackBerry without gestures is not a new concept to me. BlackBerry android may have been lacking in the beginning, but it is not now. I can now say safely, and without a shadow of doubt, that the BlackBerry Priv is my favorite BlackBerry device to date, and I have spent my morning longing over the upcoming BlackBerry DTEK70.

There is something missing from BlackBerry Android though, and that is the long list of security certifications which accompanies BB10. This is what I think is keeping BlackBerry committed to BB10. But let’s be realistic, John Chen stated back in April that “it depends on how much security we can pack into Android. If we can make Android phone as secure as Blackberry 10, which will be difficult, but if we can make it then the two lines will merge.” Marty Beard stated during our Blogcast that BlackBerry would be working towards those certifications with each new product they offered.

In my opinion, the future of BB10 lies in the future of BlackBerry Android. If BlackBerry Android can reach the level of security held by BB10, I can’t imagine there would be much of a future there. At the end of the day, the market has spoken about what OS is more popular, and we’ve watched as much better OS’s have fallen to android. BlackBerry and other OEM’s have not made the decision of what OS would be successful and what OS would not, that decision was made by the worldwide consumer base.

A few months ago, holding the Priv with it’s original software, I would have never imagined it was capable to make that phone feel like a BlackBerry, and never would have imagined BlackBerry would be able to secure it to the level of BB10. Now, I’ve seen what BlackBerry has done. There is no denying this phone is a BlackBerry through and through, and those that say it is not, are blinded by their love for BB10. Now I can’t help but think it’s only a matter of time before BlackBerry is able to secure it to the level of BB10. And when that occurs, I can’t imagine any but the most die-hard BB10 fans wouldn’t move over to BlackBerry android.

And sadly, I don’t think those high level enterprise customers are as dedicated to BB10 as many are here.


Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs. Former BlackBerry Elite. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.