Mixed Emotions Dominate Debut of New BlackBerry 10 Smartphones

It’s a make or break product launch for BlackBerry. The company formerly known as Research in Motion (RIM) is betting the farm on a comeback made possible by the new BlackBerry 10 smartphone line. On Wednesday morning at a global press event, the company showed off two new smartphones – BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10. And so far, the reactions have been mixed.

Without question, there is intrigue and tangible excitement from pockets of the mobile community. On the other hand, Wall Street wasn’t kind to BlackBerry on its big day. Shares of the Canadian-based smartphone giant fell more than 7% to a low of $14.41 today. And the reason is because some feel today’s BlackBerry event is too little, too late.

“Retaining existing customers is not enough,” Bill Rom, Managing Partner at 151 Advisors, tells Mobile Marketing Watch, “and RIM will have to entice back previous BlackBerry users who have moved on to other platforms.”

“In a world where agility and speed to market are essential, has BlackBerry demonstrated it is a player who can’t keep up, let alone think ahead?” Rom asks. “Will the masses that jumped ship be willing to give BlackBerry another chance? Plus now we are hearing rumors about the possibility of Lenovo buying RIM, what is next? We think it will be a close call and only time will tell.”

Howie Schwartz, CEO and Founder of Human Demand, says much of BlackBerry’s future turnaround will depend on the company’s ability to attract good developers and amazing apps for the BlackBerry platform.

“Developers have forgotten about Blackberry over the past 2 years,” Schwartz says, “to get back on the map they need a vibrant mobile advertising ecosystem as the majority of apps are free vs paid.”

Schwartz also believes that BlackBerry can attract mobile advertising in the B2B segments.

“As budgets move from desktop to mobile, most of the B2B advertisers haven’t made the leap and Blackberry’s audience can attract them,” he adds, noting that Blackberry needs to re-build relationships with the mobile exchanges / mediation players as Blackberry inventory is largely ignored.

Regardless of the outside reactions to BlackBerry’s new smartphones today, executives with the company appear genuinely hopeful for what the future may bring for BlackBerry.

“We have definitely been on a journey of transformation, a journey to not only transform our business and our brand, but one which I truly believe will transform mobile communications into true mobile computing,” BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said today. “It’s been almost one year exactly since I was handed the reins at Research In Motion, and it has been easily the most challenging year of my career to date. It has also been by far the most exhilarating and the most rewarding one.”

Are you optimistic about the future of BlackBerry? Please weigh in with a thought or comment below.