News Column

BlackBerry scoops design awards

July 8, 2014

Bonnie Tubbs

BlackBerry's flagship five-inch Z30 smartphone is one of the three devices that received an accolade for product design.

BlackBerry may be deemed moribund in the smartphone arena, but the Canadian company continues to fight, on a front chockfull of formidable challengers including Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Huawei, Sony, HTC and comeback contender Alcatel One Touch.

Eighteen months since the launch of its revamped operating system, BlackBerry 10, the company has won Red Dot awards ( for the design of three of its since-launched devices the "phablet-like" Z30, high-end hybrid Q10 and the mid-level hybrid Q5.

This comes less than a week after the company unveiled its latest BlackBerry 10 device (../?id=135849:BlackBerry-launches-Z3-in-SA), the low-cost Z3, for the South African market. The Z3 follows the local launch of the Z10, Q10, Q5 and the Z30. The new flagship BlackBerry 10 smartphone, the Q20, is yet to be announced for SA.

Earlier this year, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said his team had engineered a new strategy to stabilise the company and restore customer confidence in BlackBerry.

Brian Paschke, senior industrial designer, portfolio direction at BlackBerry, says the company strives for industrial design that is "simple and intuitive in functionality", while maintaining elements customers have come to know it by, like its iconic qwerty keyboard.

This year, the Red Dot Award's international, 40-member expert panel evaluated 4815 entries from 53 countries. Winners were selected based on the quality and innovative strength of each product.

The winners of this year's Red Dot Awards will be recognised in Essen, Germany, at the Red Dot gala event tonight.

posted a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss (../index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=135489) in the wake of the smartphone maker's turnaround efforts.

While the news fuelled hopes that Chen who has been at the helm of BlackBerry since November could deliver on his pledge to return the company to steady profit, local industry observers said it was still a far cry from being the BlackBerry the world once knew.

World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck points out that the company is largely being kept afloat by software. "[BlackBerry's] software proposition keeps improving from an offering point of view. In fact, the company has been on an upward trajectory since Thorsten Heinz took the reins. What we are seeing now is his legacy and strategic approach in the software area, with BBM, security and its software platform QNX."

Tech analyst Liron Segev, from, compares BlackBerry to Nokia saying mass market trends tend to come in two-year cycles. "Look at how Nokia was seen at one stage as a dying company compared to where it is now, a big brand that has been gobbled up by Microsoft."

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Source: ITWeb

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