BlackBerry chief executive Thorsten Heins has taken a swipe at rival Apple's iPhone, claiming that its user interface is five years old and suggesting that it is in need of a refresh.
"Apple did a fantastic job in bringing touch devices to market. They did a fantastic job with the user interface; they are a design icon. There is a reason why they were so successful, and we actually have to admit this and respect that," Heins told The Australian Financial Review.
He went on to say: "History repeats itself again I guess ... the rate of innovation is so high in our industry that if you don't innovate at that speed you can be replaced pretty quickly. The user interface on the iPhone, with all due respect for what this invention was all about, is now five years old."
Heins said that the likes of Samsung, who released the Galaxy S4 last week, and other smartphone makers, have caught up with Apple. BlackBerry itself, he said, was better than the iPhone in its ability to multi-task, by running multiple apps at the same time, in a similar fashion to the way people use laptops.
The BlackBerry CEO said that his company would have 100,000 native apps available for its Z10 devices in time for the US launch of the phone later this week, while developers of apps such as Instagram and Netflix were being won over by the BlackBerry 10 operating system.
"We are working constantly on getting these important apps on board," he said.
The Canadian firm faces a battle to encourage users to switch from other mobile platforms - most notably Android and iOS - to its own, but Heins believes it is making great strides in this area without confirming which platforms BlackBerry was taking market share off, suggesting it varied region by region.
BlackBerry has declined to state how many new BlackBerry devices it has sold. BlackBerry UK and Ireland managing director Rob Orr recently rejected suggestions that poor sales were behind the surprise decision by some UK networks to slash prices for the firm's latest models after only four weeks on the market.
Orr insisted the devices were selling well but did not give Computing any figures, promising that such information would be available when the company's 2013 fiscal year ends on 28 March 2013.
Heins, meanwhile confirmed speculation that BB10 could be licensed to other device manufacturers in a similar way to Google's Android being licensed out to the likes of HTC and Samsung, stating that this was an option being actively considered. However, he said that the firm's current focus is on the global phone launches.
He also refuted claims that BB10 was a ‘do or die' moment for the company.
"In the context of the financial viability of the company that is where I shake my head sometimes and wonder what everyone is talking about. The company has no debt, I will report pretty good cash position by the end of March in my earnings call, so I think we did a really diligent job in, not just keeping the company afloat, but also bringing it back to health," he said.
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