The race to garner a lion’s share of the federal workforce market is heating up. BlackBerry use among federal managers dropped 77 percent between August 2009 and September 2011, while iPhone use nearly tripled during that period.
BlackBerry executives are hoping that the introduction of seminal new products will revive interest in their brand, which has lost market share to rivals Apple and Samsung. Leading the way is the BlackBerry 10 operating system, unveiled last week. Those same executives realize that the hardware isn’t what can potentially save the Canadian company — it needs apps and software that will lure back customers.
BlackBerry claims it already has 70,000 apps in its store, including Facebook, Skype, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Twitter, What’s App, a bunch of games (like “Angry Birds”), and news apps. It does not, however, have Instagram, showing it might have a problem drawing the coolest, newest apps.
BBM: Another hallmark of BlackBerry got a face-lift, too. The once-popular messaging service now has video chat, voice calls, and screen sharing, basically making it a tougher competitor to Apple.
BlackBerry’s new phones are the Z10 and Q10.
The Z10 is the company’s first full-feature touch smartphone, which looks classy and sleek on the outside and is competitive inside. It has all the standard features of phones these days, including two cameras. The OS has people excited, though, because of its gesture controls. It’ll be available in mid-March.
The Q10 still has that beloved keyboard, which nonetheless forced BlackBerry into offering a much smaller screen than the Z10. It, too, runs on the new OS and will be available in April.
Meanwhile, following a three-month iPhone trial, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) is in the process of replacing BlackBerrys with Apple iPhones because the former could no longer meet the law enforcement agency’s needs.
Now the agency’s iPhones are set up for “selective wiping” if a device is misplaced or stolen, meaning that ICE can erase all government data on the phones remotely but preserve employee apps and other personal files.
Other agencies are shedding BlackBerrys to buy Apple and Android-based smartphones that offer a greater choice of phone features, according to Government Executive Media Group research.