Sorry, but there’s no other way to say this. 2016 was a watershed year where it became difficult to believe anything I read. Politicians lie, and scientists make mistakes, but we could always count on Apple to advance the state of the art.
And so Apple has. By a few inches. I think the Cupertino, CA pipeline is clogged up and might need a digital enema because not much has arrived from our famous and favorite Mac and iPhone maker. What’s coming in 2017 only the future knows and Doctor Who, who should know, isn’t telling but is in dire need of a new companion, but perhaps less so than Nokia and BlackBerry are in dire need of paying customers.
The Death Of Brands
A brand might be a company or a product’s most important and valuable resource or asset. Go down the list of major brands– Coke, McDonald’s, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Sony, Apple– and you will see tens of millions of mostly happy customers (or, in the case of Samsung, a few with singed eyebrows, burn marks, and the need for a new sofa or carpet) because they trust the brand.
But brands can die. Here are two on life support. Nokia and BlackBerry, both alive, yes, but neither brand carries the panache of yesteryear. Ross Rubin says both are to become 2017’s hot new smartphone brands.
The one-time market leaders saw their fortunes fall as they dawdled in responding to the iPhone. But the brands will get a new lease on life next year with the help of Android, licensees and Chinese manufacturing.
A new lease on life? You mean like Motorola? Or, maybe Windows Phone? But zombie-like life nevertheless.
(Nokia and BlackBerry) were also among the last companies to adopt a new operating system strategy in the wake of operating systems optimized for capacitive touchscreens. Nokia ultimately adopted Windows Phone and Blackberry released Blackberry 10.
Yeah, how’d that work out?
Nokia is back in business and BlackBerry sold the brand to the TCL company in China and if and when new smartphone models appear in 2017 they will arrive with Android Inside and compete with a growing list of Android smartphone makers who don’t make any money selling smartphones.
Ross himself points out the issues these resurrected brands encounter.
Blackberry’s security software is a clear differentiator, albeit one that has relatively limited appeal outside of regulated industries. Perhaps those long-abandoned Playbook owners may even see a new Blackberry-branded tablet.
Uh huh. Sure. It could happen. Oh, by the way, in early June pigs will fly like drones and deliver much awaited new Android smartphones which will be differentiated from the market how?
It’s all but impossible for either the new stewards of the Blackberry and Nokia brands to return the status of those brands to the heights they once occupied, particularly as high-end smartphone sales are declining in saturated markets…
Maybe an investor in such companies should ask, “Why?” But then, people believe what politicians say and cast their votes accordingly. People also believe technology company executives when they say their latest gizmo gadget is amazing, great, incredible, best, absolute jewel, the world’s thinnest, the fastest, the most advanced, the finest, awesome, when what the device really is mostly mirrors and performs much like last year when the same superlatives were used in the original product presentation.
In 2016, we Apple ecosystem members were treated to an entirely new iPhone; the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Next year, just days away, somewhere deeper into 2017, what’s new will be named Nokia and BlackBerry, and Apple’s customers will be able to choose from an iPhone 7s or 7s Plus or a new SE or maybe even an anniversary iPhone 8 model with micro-bezel but thinner, lighter, faster, and even smaller than last year’s model.
Oh, and Apple will make another metric insert-expletive-here load of profits and Nokia and BlackBerry and pretty much every other smartphone maker on planet earth will not.
Because brands might be well known and maybe evoke a few memories of the past, but today they must also deliver something better and that’s increasingly difficult to do.