On the global stage, BlackBerry is still hurting — for the first time ever, Microsoft’s Windows Phone market share topped BlackBerry in the first quarter this year to take the No.3 spot in the smartphone platform war. We’re still very early on in BlackBerry’s comeback attempt though, and progress is being made in some key markets. Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt points to BlackBerry’s home turf in Canada as one of the markets where the vendor has seen good early response to its new BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 smartphones, and BlackBerry’s progress thus far has been impressive according to his figures. More →
BlackBerry announced on Tuesday that its flagship BlackBerry 10 smartphone, the Z10, will be updated to the latest version of its next-generation operating system. The announcement came during the vendor’s BlackBerry Live conference, and BlackBerry 10.1 availability for the Z10 will be determined by carriers that offer the phone. Key features listed by Blackberry are as follows: More →
Kevin Smithen of Macquarie Capital has become more optimistic about BlackBerry’s future, Barron’s reported. The analyst believes the QWERTY-equipped BlackBerry Q10 could be a bigger seller than the company’s first BlackBerry 10 smartphone, the BlackBerry Z10. Smithen notes that the Q10 will appeal to enterprise customers, who account for 13.4 million of the company’s total subscriber base. He estimates that as a whole the company will ship 4.3 million BlackBerry 10 devices in May but only 2.7 million in August, although he added that the “August estimate could prove to be conservative based on stronger enterprise demand for the Q10.” Smithen reiterated his Neutral rating on shares of BlackBerry with a price target of $17.
As BlackBerry begins rolling out its second BlackBerry 10 smartphone, the struggling vendor will at least have some good momentum to build on coming out of April. According to market watcher Net Applications, BlackBerry gained usage share in April after losing share in each of the two prior months. While BlackBerry only accounts for a minuscule portion of global mobile usage — 1.51% in April, less than Symbian’s 1.73% — it’s at least moving in the right direction, up from the low of 1.39% it hit in February. IOS shed about 1.5 points in April to fall to a still-dominant 59.04% according to Net Applications, while Android smartphones and tablets gained more than a point to climb to 26.02%.
BlackBerry executives were furious last week when they accused Detwiler Fenton analyst Jeff Johnston of making “materially false and misleading” claims about returns of the BlackBerry Z10 outnumbering total sales. Barron’s points out that BlackBerry got some key help late last week when Verizon issued a statement affirming that “after 14 days, quality performance [of the BlackBerry Z10] has been in line with other smartphone launches.” This backs up a statement made by BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins, who said that “sales of the BlackBerry Z10 are meeting expectations and the data we have collected from our retail and carrier partners demonstrates that customers are satisfied with their devices.”
U.S. BlackBerry Z10 sales said to have ‘started poorly’ with ‘returns now exceeding sales’ [updated]
While we’ve heard encouraging reports on BlackBerry Z10 sales from other countries, here in the United States the picture looks decidedly gloomier. With one major wireless carrier providing next to no marketing push, sales of BlackBerry’s (BBRY) flagship phone in the U.S. have apparently gotten off to a very slow start and are showing few signs of picking up anytime soon. Per The Wall Street Journal, two analysts on Thursday added to reports of slow early U.S. sales and painted a very dire picture of BlackBerry’s future prospects in the American smartphone market. More →
BlackBerry’s (BBRY) Z10 launch got off to a shaky start last week amid widespread reports that AT&T (T) retail outlets were doing little to promote the device to customers and that many of its staff members were unprepared to answer questions about the device. The good news for BlackBerry is that Verizon (VZ) seems to have significantly stepped up its game because Barron’s reports that employees at a Verizon flagship store in Manhattan were able to give knowledgeable explanations about BlackBerry’s Hub and Balance features as key differentiators from other devices. Barron’s also says that while “the store was not filled with BlackBerry promotional materials… there was a brightly lit, large sign above a row of smartphones that showed the image of the Z10.” In all, it sounds like Verizon is making more of a push to make the Z10 successful than its top rival has made so far.
BlackBerry (BBRY) included an Android emulator in its BlackBerry 10 operating system that allows developers to easily port their applications from Android to BlackBerry. The decision to include such a tool paid off for the company, which launched its new platform with more than 70,000 apps. BlackBerry recently announced that its app store is now home to more than 100,000 BlackBerry 10 applications, and it has been revealed that only 20% are ported from Android. While the operating system is still missing key apps such as Instagram and Netflix (NFLX), for the most part BlackBerry has been able to attract developers to its still unproven platform. More →
Earlier this month, BlackBerry (BBRY) confirmed that an undisclosed partner agreed to purchase one million new BlackBerry 10 smartphones. According to AllThingsD, the purchase, which was the single largest in BlackBerry’s history, came from an electronics distributor known as Brightstar. Research firm Detwiler Fenton notes that the company handles most of Verizon’s (VZ) big-box retail distribution, and the partnership gives the carrier less risk if BlackBerry 10 fails to appeal to consumers because it can offload unsold inventory onto the third-party distributor. Verizon usually distributes devices it believes will be popular among consumers by itself, rather than relying on a third-party. This is not the case for BlackBerry 10, though. More →
BlackBerry (BBRY) had a very short time to enjoy the spotlight this winter before the Galaxy S 4 tap danced onto the scene and now it seems that the company’s momentum has slowed in the wake of Samsung’s launch extravaganza earlier this month. Barron’s points us to a new research note from Citigroup analyst Jim Suva, who says that BlackBerry Z10 sales have “dramatically slowed” after an initial “honeymoon” and that carriers “have already shifted promotions to other products (Samsung) and moved the Z10 to less favorable in store locations.” More →
To get a sense of demand for the BlackBerry (BBRY) Z10 on its launch weekend, I visited three AT&T (T) stores on Saturday afternoon between 52nd Street and 96th Street. Some of the standard questions I sprinkled between small talk were: “Do you have the new BlackBerry Z10? How is it doing, have you sold many units? What are the best features of the Z10?” More →
If the BlackBerry (BBRY) Z10 succeeds in the United States, it won’t be because of anything AT&T (T) has done to help. Per StreetInsider, Goldman Sachs on Monday released a new note that described a “disappointing” launch for BlackBerry’s flagship smartphone in the United States and said that there was a “surprising lack of marketing support and poor positioning of the product” in several retail outlets, including AT&T stores, Best Buy (BBY) and Radio Shack. Goldman’s note backs up another report we heard last week about AT&T stores in New York and San Francisco that didn’t feature any displays or marketing materials for the Z10 on its launch day. This reported lack of marketing support and slow launch weekend have led the previously bullish Goldman to cut its price target for BlackBerry shares to $17 while downgrading them from Buy to Neutral.
BlackBerry (BBRY) launched its first BlackBerry 10 smartphone in early February and while there’s no question that the struggling vendor managed a major coup, industry watchers are still mixed as far as overall sales estimates go. Some bears suggest fiscal fourth-quarter BlackBerry Z10 shipments only totalled 300,000 units, but others believe the handset did much better. In fact, Evercore Partners analyst Mark McKechnie raised his shipment estimates for the February quarter in a note sent to clients on Friday. More →