BlackBerry 10: Company Says It Will Teach People How to Use New Phones

There's a learning curve to BlackBerry's new phones.

ByJoanna Stern
January 30, 2013, 1:16 PM

Jan. 30, 2013 — -- One of the things we mentioned in our review of the BlackBerry Z10, the first handheld to run the new BlackBerry 10 operating system, was that people had trouble figuring out how to use the phone on their own.

People have to be taught how to get to the Messaging Hub, how to close or minimize apps by swiping upwards, and even how to get into the actual phone. BlackBerry's Chief Marketing Officer, Frank Boulben, says this will be something the company addresses in its first wave of advertising and marketing.

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"Everything we are going to do marketing-wise will put the product experience at its core," Boulben told ABC News in an interview. "You will see in all the marketing materials the product experience being featured and the key gestures." Boulben said that BlackBerry (no longer called RIM) will launch massive advertising and marketing campaigns in key markets. It will air a commercial during the Super Bowl, Boulben said.

The phone itself, when you start it up, takes the user through a tutorial showing how to swipe upward to minimize apps, how to swipe up and over to get to the Hub and more.

"Secondly, we will have videos on our website and throughout the Web showcasing how each particular feature works," Boulben told us.

Finally, he said, education will happen in the stores and at the point of sale. "With all the carriers we are engaging in extensive training with their call sales teams and their retail sales force so customers will face staff who are properly trained and can show them the key gestures."

FULL REVIEW: BlackBerry Z10

BlackBerry also maintains that the people who will buy these phones want to learn new ways of interacting with their devices. "The audience we are targeting, many of them have the appetitive to learn to find out about the new interface. It's not a barrier for them, it's an attraction to discover something new," said Boulben.

Microsoft faced a similar challenge when it launched Windows 8. The company aired ads showing some of the touch gestures. However, for BlackBerry, adoption of this software is crucial. It has lost most of its market share in the U.S. to Apple's iPhone and Google's Android phones.

BlackBerry's new Z10 phone will launch in the U.S. at AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile in mid-March. BlackBerry expects it to cost $199 on contract. Its version with a keyboard -- the Q10 -- will launch later this spring.

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