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BlackBerry suffering from sins of the past

By Aaron Rudger | June 28, 2013

CATEGORIES: Mobile Quality

A recent headline in the Financial News was a big drop in the share price of BlackBerry / Research In Motion. The company’s stock dropped nearly 28% after missing their expected earnings. Rather than dive into the new itself, we decided to review how the news stories rendered on BlackBerry devices. After logging into Keynote’s Test Center Developer, we acquired a BlackBerry Z10, pulled up the browser and went to popular Financial News sites starting with YahooFinance.

The BlackBerry story downloaded the YahooFinance quickly and displayed content rather well. The copy is clear and easy to read, and we were able to easily scroll through the page.

Z10 BlackBerry story on YahooFinance

We clicked on a story link and put the device in horizontal mode. The device responded quickly and the next story too was easy to read.

Z10 Horizontal analyst story

So what about other news sites? The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg pages provided the same good user experience.

Z10 Horizontal Bloomberg

Bloomberg

Z10 Horizontal WSJ Front Page

Wall Street Journal

So why would they be having so much trouble when they’ve developed a smartphone that performs so admirably? The answer partly lies in the details of the story.

Z10 40pct WSJ

Only 40% of the phones shipped were BlackBerry 10 devices. That means that 60% of new users and the overwhelming majority of their subscriber base were visiting these same sites using older models. Consequently we decided to look at the same sites with a BlackBerry Torch 4G. Here is what we saw:

BB Torch 4G YahooFinance home

YahooFinance Home on BlackBerry Torch 4G

BB Torch 4G BlackBerry story on YahooFinance

YahooFinance Story on BlackBerry Torch 4G

BB Torch 4G Home Bloomberg

Bloomberg Home

BB Torch 4G Horizontal WSJ Front Page

Wall Street Journal in Landscape Mode

What’s lost in these screenshots is how painfully slow the pages were to load.

BlackBerry / RIM is losing customers and it isn’t because they haven’t come up with a good product, but because their older smartphones still used by millions missed the mark very badly when it comes to user experience. And if 60% of the devices they continue to ship fail to match the quality of the BlackBerry 10 series, they can expect to see more attrition and similar news headlines (assuming that they’re reading them on a newer device).

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