A day after BlackBerry (BBRY) CEO Thorsten Heins said that the company wasn’t going to produce another tablet until it had figured out how to make it more than “just another tablet,” a senior executive said that a sequel to BlackBerry’s Playbook tablet is already in the works. Mike Al Mefleh, a BlackBerry director of product management, claimed in an interview with Emirates 24|7 at the Dubai BlackBerry User’s Forum that the company will release six new BlackBerry devices in 2013, in addition to a new Playbook. The executive didn’t reveal a release timeframe, however sources speaking to Emirates 24|7 suggest the device, which may sport a 10-inch display, could launch by the end of the second quarter. BlackBerry is also expected to update the original Playbook to the BlackBerry 10 operating system later this year.
It doesn’t matter how many heartfelt ballads BlackBerry (BBRY) executives sing — the company still faces a long road ahead if it hopes to regain its status as a major power in the mobile industry. Gartner this week projected that BlackBerry won’t reach a 5% share of the global smartphone market until 2016 at the earliest, which only underscores how difficult it will be for the company to significantly expand while mobile giants Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (005930) dominate the competitive landscape. What’s more, Gartner doesn’t think reaching a 5% market share is even a guarantee, as it recommends that companies hold off on investing in BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 as a mobile device management platform “until the market makes a clear statement on BB10’s success (or lack thereof).” So while BlackBerry 10 has reportedly gotten off to a fairly encouraging start so far, there are still a lot of pitfalls that could trip the company up in the coming months.
As we’ve said many times before, BlackBerry 10 has an app problem. And now PCMag has taken the time to figure out just how big this problem is and has found that BlackBerry’s (BBRY) new platform offers only 34% of the 102 most popular apps available for iOS and Android. By contrast, PCMag found that Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Phone 8 currently offers 63% of the most popular iOS and Android apps, giving its app ecosystem a significant advantage over BlackBerry’s. PCMag’s study counts both native platform apps and “functional equivalents,” so it’s likely that the publication counted all the Android apps that have been ported over to the BlackBerry 10 store in recent months.
We’ve seen a number of promising signs for BlackBerry (BBRY) lately and now Goldman Sachs analyst Simona Jankowski has delivered one of the more bullish projections for the company that we’ve heard in recent weeks. Per Barron’s, Jankowski projects BlackBerry has sold 500,000 BlackBerry 10 smartphones over the past quarter and will sell between 2 million to 3 million per quarter for the rest of 2013. This doesn’t mean the company is poised to become profitable again this year, of course, and Jankowski still projects the company to report a quarterly loss of $0.23 per share later this month. However, she does think that BlackBerry will roar back to profitability in 2014, when she expects the company will post revenues of $13.53 billion and a profit of $0.12 per share.
Continuing our run of good news for BlackBerry (BBRY), the company on Wednesday announced that an unnamed “established partner” has agreed to buy 1 million new BlackBerry 10 smartphones, an order that it says is the “the largest ever single purchase order in BlackBerry’s history.” BlackBerry scored another big customer win with the German government earlier this month and has also been successful in picking off some Android and iOS users with its new BlackBerry Z10 smartphone. We’ll hopefully know a lot more about the company’s BlackBerry 10 sales when it reports its quarterly earnings on March 28th. BlackBerry’s full press release is posted below. More →
We’ve known for a while that carriers have been itching for a chance to ditch smartphone subsidies, but Verizon (VZ) CFO Fran Shammo now expects that smartphone subsidies will decrease naturally over the next two to three years with no added cost to consumers. FierceWireless reports that Shammo on Monday told the the Deutsche Bank 2013 Media, Internet & Telecom Conference that emerging smartphone platforms such as Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10 will lead to increased competition in the market and bring lower priced phones, which will in turn lead to reduced subsidy costs for carriers. More →
In what could be major blow to BlackBerry’s (BBRY) new operating system, a Netflix (NFLX) spokesperson has confirmed to AllThingsD that it has no plans for a BlackBerry 10 app. BlackBerry previously revealed that it was “in talks” with both Netflix and a variety of other companies to bring popular applications to its mobile platform. Netflix has now confirmed, however, that it has no plans of developing a native or port version of its video streaming app for the BlackBerry 10 operating system. Sources speaking to AllThingsD claim the company has little incentive to develop for the platform and its small user base, suggesting that maintaining the app would outweigh any potential benefits garnered from it.
BlackBerry coup confirmed: iPhone, Android users make up half of Z10 sales in Canada, one-third in UK
BlackBerry (BBRY) is at the start of a very long haul as the struggling smartphone maker attempts to stage a comeback for the ages. Early sales of the company’s first next-generation BlackBerry 10 smartphone appeared strong, but a series of subsequent claims suggested limited supply was responsible for many of the BlackBerry Z10 stock-outs being reported in the United Kingdom and Canada. We now know Z10 sales to date are likely nothing to scoff at, however — BlackBerry’s Z10 is outselling the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S III at a major Canadian retailer — and BGR has confirmed an even more important indicator of BlackBerry’s early success: Half of BlackBerry Z10 sales in Canada and one-third of UK sales have been made to users coming from other platforms. More →
After insisting that BlackBerry (BBRY) shares would rebound throughout 2011 and 2012 as the stock plummeted, Macquarie Capital Markets cut its price target earlier this month to $11 with a Neutral rating. This marked the first time the firm has advised investors that BlackBerry shares will likely continue to fall; Macquarie remained optimistic the whole way down over the past two years, as illustrated in the chart below. While the firm does see some positive notes for BlackBerry in the coming months, it said in a recent research note that BlackBerry shares will be trading on sentiment rather than long-term fundamentals following next month’s launches, after which the stock will likely continue to slide. More →
Industry watchers are still mixed on whether or not BlackBerry (BBRY) can pull off the incredible comeback it is currently attempting. Some big firms are seeing signs of life while others maintain their position that BlackBerry is a sinking ship. Count Connecticut-based equity research firm MKM Partners in the latter category. In a recent note to clients, MKM analyst Michael Genovese cut his outlook on BlackBerry shares and said there is now a 90% chance BlackBerry 10 will flop. More →
The bad news for BlackBerry (BBRY) fans: The BlackBerry 10 Skype app is an Android port and not a native app. The good news: Skype has told CrackBerry that it is “closely collaborating with BlackBerry” to make sure that the ported app runs smoothly on the new platform. Among other things, Skype says it plans to “open up some of the integration points available to native apps in the OS so that they can also be used by the Skype application” and thus “allow Skype users to see notifications, to start the app from the Hub, and to see their Skype contacts in the native phone book.” Although BlackBerry’s first BlackBerry 10 device is reportedly off to a hot start so far in terms of sales, the company is still finding it hard to get some key apps natively onto its platform. CrackBerry’s Bla1ze, for one, comments that he’d “just rather see Skype go native” since “Skype isn’t hurting for any development money and creating a native BlackBerry 10 app isn’t hard.”
One of the unique features of the BlackBerry PlayBook and BlackBerry 10 operating system is the ability to run Android apps. This is achieved through the company’s “Runtime for Android apps” program, however it isn’t perfect. For one, the runtime environment is based on the two-year old Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system and not a recent version, but BlackBerry (BBRY) on Monday announced that it plans to eventually update the Android runtime environment to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, CrackBerry reported. This will allow Android developers to port their Android 4.0+ apps to the BlackBerry 10 platform, however the company didn’t give a specific time frame as to when the update will be complete.
The best news BlackBerry could possibly get: 50% of BB10 pre-registration in Canada may have come from iPhone, Android users
BlackBerry (BBRY) laid all its cards on the table last week as it unveiled its new BlackBerry 10 platform and the two next-generation smartphones that will carry it through the first half of the year. BlackBerry fans were blown away, but as we discussed in a feature last week, the real challenge for the struggling smartphone vendor will be wooing users away from leading smartphone platforms. Early reviews were not convinced that the BlackBerry Z10 would gain much ground in this regard, however a recent research note from CIBC suggests BlackBerry may already be off to a phenomenal start. More →