20 million BlackBerry 10 smartphones to ship in 2013: ABI Research

Telecom Lead America: Around 20 million BlackBerry 10 smartphones are expected to ship in 2013, according to ABI Research.

ABI Research senior analyst Aapo Markkanen said 2013 should be seen as relative success for both Microsoft and BlackBerry. For the end of the year, there will be 45 million Windows Phone handsets in use, with BlackBerry 10 holding an installed base of close to 20 million. Microsoft will have 5.5 million Windows-powered tablets.

Analysys Mason says the BlackBerry X10 and Q10 retail price will be too high for new smartphone users. X10 and Q10 are designed to capture existing smartphone users, not new ones.

The BlackBerry X10 and Q10 have all the ingredients to become successful smartphone models. However, good technology and design is only the first step, according to Analysys Mason Principal Analyst Ronan de Renesse and Research Analyst Patrick Rusby.

ABI Research says new features of BlackBerry 10 smartphones include new gesture-based OS navigation controls, multi-app operation, multi-language support, and the next generation virtual keyboard – along with previously announced enterprise-centric features of BlackBerry Balance (work/personal profiles); BlackBerry World for Work (enterprise app store) and BlackBerry Hub (unified inbox and contacts).

But RIM’s future will require winning favor with both consumers and enterprise decision makers.

“BlackBerry needs strong backing from IT administrators. But it also needs enough consumers and more specifically, employees to choose BB10 over Android, Apple, and Windows smartphones. The BYOD trend is having a big influence on enterprise mobilization strategies,” said ABI Research enterprise practice director Dan Shey.

BlackBerry is in a good position with enterprise but it is unknown if the multi-device support in the recently released BES10 can rival those of other MDM platforms. Consumer adoption is less predictable as it’s highly dependent on positive perception toward BB10’s usability, device performance, and application availability. Pricing and promotion will play a big role as well with consumers – again areas BlackBerry has less control of.

In the near term, BlackBerry will rely on an enterprise smartphone market that is still growing even in developed markets such as North America and Western Europe. Worldwide smartphone penetration at EOY 2012 among mobile business customers representing corporate liable and prosumer markets stands at 52 percent; among all employees it stands at 29 percent. BlackBerry smartphones currently hold a number 3 position in the enterprise market behind Android and Apple at number 1 and 2 respectively.

“M2M or the Internet of Things is the next frontier for mobile and wireless computing. BlackBerry’s QNX platform is a fantastic starting point for a stake in this market, but BlackBerry can’t fall behind in IoT as it did with touchscreen smartphones if it hopes to become a mobile computing platform company,” Shey added.

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