BlackBerry is hoping for market success with the Q10 (hands-on) and Z10 (review) handsets by offering consumers the choice between a physical QWERTY keyboard with 3.1-inch display and a full-sized 4.2-inch touch-screen device, respectively, but the fragmentation of BB10 could be the company’s undoing according to a note from Neil Shah at Strategy Analytics.
By offering a choice to consumers between the Z10 or Q10, BlackBerry is fragmenting the platform, especially when it comes to apps. For example, a game designed for the Z10 won’t work on the Q10 until it’s been reconfigured for the handset’s screen, which is not only smaller but also shaped differently.
“A simple app store search revealed the gap in terms of apps which are available for Z10 but not yet for Q10,” writes Shah. “Also, Skype app was first announced for Q10 and then for Z10 separately which is not encouraging signs for the BlackBerry developers.”
BlackBerry’s success depends largely on developers who create apps that keep smartphone users engaged, and if BB10 can’t pull that off the company may be doomed. Offering consumers a choice between QWERTY and straight touch-screen was a smart move, but it might just backfire if the company can’t overcome this self-imposed fragmentation.