Sadly, after a long wait, it was an unmitigated failure. RIM… sorry, BlackBerry, needed something a little special as it launched the product that it believes will see it through the next decade – but what we got was more of the same. While we won’t know for sure what impact the launch of #BlackBerry10 will have on sales – my prediction is that it won’t be positive – here are some specifics about why the launch was a car crash for RIM.
It started late. The event was scheduled for a 10am ET start, but didn’t get going until 10.15. The video stream started at 10, but it was a series of interviews with the product development team and a haircut for Kevin Michaluk – otherwise known as Crackberry Kevin.
It was preluded by somebody having their ponytail cut off! I’ve done a few product launches in my time – and I’ve studied more than I can count – but it’s the first I’ve see where the main event involve somebody getting a hair cut! I’m guessing it will also be the last one I see.
It was presented by Thorsten Heins. It shouldn’t have been. Given the company announced Alicia Keys as Global Creative Director why not make the announcement before the main product announcements and have Ms. Keys do the launch?
It was held on the wrong date. Given the company has invested in an expensive Superbowl advert why hold the launch four days before? Especially when the US marketing effort doesn’t start until Sunday. BlackBerry should have held the event on Monday February 4th.
It was two-speed. Pedestrian and clunky presentation on stage, interspersed with high tempo video promos – there was no rhythm to the launch.
The products rose from the stage on a music stand. What was that all about? They’re pocket-sized… could Thorsten not have taken them out of his pocket? What was the music stand all about?
The livestream was a tight one shot. Which meant those not at the event missed what was on the screen behind.
The demos were too long and tried to show too many things. You also felt like you were eavesdropping on a private conversation between Thorsten and Vivek Bhardwaj.
The response in the room at the New York City launch was muted. BlackBerry clearly underestimated the lack of enthusiasm they’d get from attendees. They should have called Rent-A-Crowd in order to ensure a rapturous welcome for each announcement at the BlackBerry10 launch event.
No carrier support. There were a few carrier contributions in the preamble, but none on stage to support the launch. With US Carriers being critical to a BlackBerry revival, their absence was worrying.
No app developer support. They may not have been asked, but if they weren’t… why not?!
No hint at the marketing effort. RIM has invested in a commercial advert for this weekend’s Superbowl, but there was no hint of what we might expect. This was the perfect opportunity to get people buzzing about the spot BlackBerry will run. The marketing, according to reports, starts on Sunday – FOUR DAYS after the official #BlackBerry10 launch.
Alicia Keys. The way they built it up, I expected to hear that BlackBerry had poached Jonny Ive… or persuaded somebody like Norman Foster or James Dyson to come on board to help their product design efforts as Global Creative Director. Aside from the why… why announce it at the end? Why not have Ms. Keys do the presentation – she knows how to command an audience and there would have been hundreds of press images of her with the new devices. Sure, there were some taken after the event, but she didn’t touch one of the handsets during the launch. A huge mistake.
Keep Moving. Less than 30 seconds was spent on this. It sounded interesting and, presumably, will be a large part of the company’s marketing efforts. Why not at least show a preview or name some of the athletes involved. Could this be the Superbowl spot? [I had to Google ‘BB10 Keep Moving’ to find the video]
It just kind of fizzled out. There was no summary that told viewers they’d reached the end of the launch. The screen on the webcast just faded to black [or blue].
Based on the #BlackBerry10 launch, if the company avoids oblivion it’ll be more luck than judgement.