His plan is to make the new blackberry 10 operating system an integral part of tomorrow’s computing world. So the company’s smartphones could replace burner computers, connected cars, or even ride aboard with blackberry 10, he envisions for the future. The system will continue to evolve for years to come – a subtle hint that his company wants to be in the game for a long time to come.
Meanwhile, blackberry is still far from being over the hill. The first smartphones with the new system are just now gradually coming onto the market – in germany, the touchscreen model Z10 will initially be available from vodafone next week.
Blackberry has been going through a rough patch lately: the new operating system has been delayed again and again, and with the old model range, its share of the smartphone market has slumped to just 3.5 percent. Many market experts are still hesitant or even skeptical.
"If we don’t succeed in winning over consumers for the new blackberry 10 system, things will look bleak," says analyst annette zimmermann from market researcher gartner. Blackberry will then only be a niche player. However, she sees the battle of the platforms for the third place after google’s android and the iphone system ios not yet decided.
One reason, he says, is that microsoft’s windows phone system has not developed as strongly as expected, despite nokia’s new lumia smartphones. "Blackberry must now invest heavily in marketing in order to find its way back into people’s heads"."
"I had actually already written blackberry off," says nikolaus mohr from the management consultancy accenture. Now the new operating system and the new devices are interesting – "but whether that’s enough for new growth, the next 12 to 18 months will show. "At the same time, mohr sees an advantage for windows phone: "the market power and the marketing power of microsoft as well as the possibilities to transport the office world to other devices speak in favor of it."
Heins, who looks considerably more youthful than his 55 years, is not discouraged by the doubts: "i have a hell of a long breath."After all, he had to read constantly since his appointment to the chief position a year ago, blackberry was doomed. "There was a time when articles about us were illustrated with tombstones or coffins."
The best response is to regain trust with new products, says heins. And with the new operating system, the company now finally has something in its hands. "I always tell my people: the market launch of blackberry 10 was not the finish line, it was just the starting shot. Now the race is really on," says the former siemens manager, who is emphatically eager to fight. He points to formula 1 driver sebastian vettel, who was involved in an accident at the start of the last race of the season "and then just turned the wheel" and drove to his third world title. "That’s how it goes: you just don’t give up."