Well, itâ€™s finally happened. The Motorola Q has a firm release date, and itâ€™s coming out so soon that consumers and tech junkies alike can almost smell it. We thought now would be a good time to take a hard look at how big of a competitor Motorolaâ€™s sleek PDA will be for RIM.
On the enterprise side of BlackBerry sales, RIM has nothing to fear from the Q. As nice as it is to run Windows on your Q through Windows Mobile 5.0 (although some would argue even that), RIMâ€™s bread and butter lies in the security and flexibility offered to business through its BlackBerry Enterprise Server, which is superior to the Microsoft Enterprise Server solution available to Q users. Enterprises who deal with high-security information (and what information isnâ€™t nowadays?) will also not choose to give their employees a device with a digital camera and Bluetooth connectivity.
The real blow that the Q could strike to RIM will be in markets theyâ€™re looking to expand into. Itâ€™s no secret that RIM is readying a consumer-centric BlackBerry, with (hopefully) many of the wiz-bang multimedia features of the Q. However, as strong a brand as the BlackBerry is, itâ€™s not a cool brand. Well, it can be cool (otherwise weâ€™d have to change the name of our website), but only to the Apprentice/West Wing crowd: business professionals and government workers (letâ€™s not even get started about those crazy stock market guys).
Motorolaâ€™s RAZR brand, on the other side of the mobile coin, is cool â€“ to practically everyone. Itâ€™s the iPod of cell phones (sorry, ROKR) and Motorola will parlay their hip image branding onto the Q (its nickname is the RAZRberry for a reason). Everyone who likes the RAZR, but wants a little more from their smartphone (like say, better multimedia features and a full QWERTY keyboard for instance) is going to eat the Q up. Paris Hilton and Dave Chapelle are going to have one the first week itâ€™s out, guaranteed (probably shipped to them gratis, if Motorola is smart). While this probably doesnâ€™t mean much to the fine readers of BlackBerry Cool, it does mean something to John Q. Public and teenagers with hefty disposable incomes.
Aesthetics and functionality will also play a factor in the average consumerâ€™s choice of the Q over the BlackBerry. No matter how RIMâ€™s new device stacks up to the Q in terms of hardware (all indications point towards them being on at least equal footing), there is no possible way it will look as slick as Motorolaâ€™s offering (although we have to give RIM credit: the 8700 BlackBerry is a big step in the right direction). In contrast to the enterprise market, casual consumers will far more disposed towards using Windows Mobile (something that theyâ€™re essentially already familiar with) than RIMâ€™s oftentimes counterintuitive OS. Factor in a similar price point and itâ€™s no contest who wins this battle.
While itâ€™s unclear how big of a focus RIMâ€™s â€˜lifestyleâ€™ line will be in their future plans, it is certain that theyâ€™re in for a tough battle either way against the Motorola Q.