Samsung already has ensured that Super Bowl XLVII will become, among other things, a grand stage for a smartphone-advertising battle. The hottest brand in handhelds confirmed that it'll be a TV-commercial participant in the Big Game for the second time, joining newbie Research in Motion and its BlackBerry brand.
Samsung Mobile said that it plans to release a teaser this week, and BlackBerry has indicated it will reveal its first Super Bowl commercial on Wednesday.
RIM on Wednesday also will be revealing something even more important than its Super Bowl ad: the new BlackBerry 10 smartphone models and operating system. Their release and marketing represent something of a Hail Mary for the brand that essentially created and once dominated the smartphone market but whose share has sunk relentlessly (now down into the single digits) as Apple, Samsung and Google have gobbled up new users.
Since the importance of this BlackBerry debut cannot be overstated, BlackBerry company CEO Thorsten Heins, has been trying to leave nothing to chance. In addition to what Heins has described as exhausting, groundbreaking work to ensure the new device moves the ball in the marketplace, RIM has lined up buzz-creating music and video partners like Disney and Sony and Warner, and has scored an agreement for BlackBerry 10 to be supported by MLB.com's At Bat app for Major League Baseball's 2013 season.
The key, analysts say, is whether for BlackBerry's new hardware and software will provide enough of a new consumer-oriented hook to bored or frustrated individual users of Apple, Samsung or Nokia phones while fortifying its significant hold on major corporate customers whose mass issuance of BlackBerry devices several years ago gave RIM its initial grip on the fledgling smartphone market.
"If they can manage to regain trust from the companies who have been clients, they can survive, profitably, just by staying small and focused," Francisco Jeronimo, smartphone analyst at IDC, told The Guardian.
There are opportunities in the still-expanding smartphone market. Nokia has continued to decline, and the iPhone for the first time as consumers react to compratively high prices for Apple's iconic device. The growing global market may represent Blackberry's biggest chance for a rebound, given its users in the U.S. are down from a peak of nearly 22 million in September 2010 to just 9 million users now. That shrinkage occurred as U.S. smartphone ownership doubled over the same period to 123 million users, according to ComScore.