BlackBerry is back! Or so they’d like you to think.
With the U.S. launch of the [too?] long awaited BlackBerry 10 smartphones seemingly imminent, the company formerly known as Research in Motion will attempt to reverse its dwindling customer share and make an effort to complete with the Android, Apple, and Windows platforms to which mobile users have been gravitating.
While CEO Thorsten Heins remains optimistic about preliminary sales results in the UK and in Canada, will U.S. consumers embrace revamped BlackBerrys? In an attempt to answer this question, I first took a quick temperature on the new BlackBerry 10 smartphones compared to two of the current mobile heavy hitters, the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Apple iPhone 5. When asked to rate each of these products as “Hot” or “Not,” it’s evident that adults in general are pretty cool to the idea of the new BlackBerrys, with just 28% rating the BB10 models as “hot.” Meanwhile, the Galaxy S III (with 59%) and iPhone 5 (54%) are cooking with consumers.
But is this a fair comparison? These initial findings aren’t too surprising given the monolithic shares that Apple and Samsung maintain in the marketplace. The hypothesis: perhaps more consumers consider the Samsung and Apple smartphone models to be “hot” topics because a larger proportion of the population are aware of, have experienced, or may be using these devices compared to the BlackBerry fan base and its current market penetration.
To level the playing field, I reassessed these results and accounted for respective U.S. smartphone manufacturer market shares – via the latest report from comScore’s MobiLens™ service. The resulting “Excitement” Score (if you will) is pretty interesting; relative to its market share, BlackBerry 10 is just buzzing with excitement (score = 336), while the Galaxy S III follows (score = 196). The iPhone 5 -with Apple holding the largest market share – is looking rather lackluster with a score of 101. Now this isn’t necessarily bad news for Apple, but relative to its footprint, consumers aren’t finding much to get excited about…iPhone 6, anyone?
Takeaway: While its Z10 and Q10 launches may not take the smartphone market by storm this year, BlackBerry’s sizable Excitement Score seems to indicate a nice niche opportunity for the company. The key for BlackBerry will be to identify these potential customers, discover what influences their smartphone purchases, and create a marketing plan that speaks to this target market in meaningful way.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.