This is a little bit like Steely Dan winning a Grammy for Album of the Year in 2001, but Time Magazine has named the BlackBerry Z10 as the world’s best “fun-sized” smartphone that wasn’t made by Apple. What is a “fun-sized” smartphone and why is Time listing them? Well with the trend toward bigger devices, many people with small hands might be feeling left out of the fun because they still want a device that measures in at 4.3 inches or fewer. And since many people assume that the only smartphone that measures in at 4.3 inches or less these days is the iPhone 5s, Time has decided to exclude it in its list of the top smaller smartphones. More →
BlackBerry posted fiscal first quarter results that missed analysts’ estimates by a wide margin. The company’s surprise loss was obviously troubling, but even more so was the fact that BlackBerry 10 device shipments came in at 2.7 million units, missing consensus figures by a wide margin despite the fact that this was the Z10’s first full quarter of sales and the quarter in which the Q10 launched. Following the company’s results, Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek is now reporting that BlackBerry has slashed combined Z10 and Q10 orders to 1 million units per month, a 50% cut from the 2 million units BlackBerry had on order each month. In a note picked up by Barron’s, Misek says he’s not surprised by the cut at all, but rather is surprised that BlackBerry had previously “raised build plans at the end of May despite the worsening sell-through in the back of the month.” Misek still has a Buy rating on BlackBerry shares with an $18 price target.
AT&T and Best Buy have reportedly slashed the BlackBerry Z10’s price in an effort to bolster weak sales. The Wall Street Journal on Friday reported that beginning immediately, AT&T and nationwide retailer Best Buy have dropped the Z10’s price to just $49.99 on contract, down from its launch price of $199.99. The report also notes that Verizon Wireless is now offering the device for $99.99 on contract. While price drops are standard in the mobile market, a 75% cut so soon after a device launches is never a good sign and The Journal says that sales of the device have not been strong thus far. BlackBerry recently posted dismal Q2 results and said that it shipped 2.7 million BlackBerry 10 smartphones in the quarter, missing most estimates.
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins earned his paycheck on Tuesday while taking several tough questions from investors at his company’s annual shareholder meeting. One particularly pointed question came from a retail investor who called the United States launch of the flagship BlackBerry Z10 smartphone “a disaster” that undermined BlackBerry’s claims that it was on the comeback trail. More →
Shares of BlackBerry rallied on Thursday on reports that the company’s new smartphones are selling better than expected. Andy Perkins of Societe Generale said, per Barron’s, that his “checks” revealed that the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 sold better in the fiscal Q2 than Wall Street expected. The analyst estimates that BlackBerry will pull in $3.7 billion in sales with a profit of $0.06 per share, up from earlier estimates of $2.7 billion. Perkins forecasts that the Z10 sold more than 4 million units, however Q10 sales aren’t expected to be as high. He explained that despite positive reception, the Q10’s limited availability and recent release means sales were likely closer to a million units, which would give BlackBerry a grand total of more than 5 million BlackBerry 10 devices sold in the past quarter. The analyst upgraded BlackBerry from a “Sell” rating to a “Buy” with a target price of $17 per share, up from $13. BlackBerry’s stock closed 6.49% higher at $14.44 per share.
Pretty much on the same day as Digitimes reported that BlackBerry boosting its component orders, a directly opposite message was sent by Pacific Crest’s James Faucette. He sees an enormous gap between production and demand; combined sell-through of well below 500,000 Z10 and Q10 models with production remaining above 1.5 million units per month. If true, this would be one of the most massive discrepancies between demand and supply for a smartphone platform in recent years. More →
There has been a lot of speculation about the success of BlackBerry’s new BlackBerry 10 smartphones. Using a wide variety of methods, some analysts have claimed that sales of the new smartphones are going strong, while others say they are fairly weak. One thing that’s clear, though, is that BlackBerry’s newest devices seem to be hits in France. According to French wireless provider SFR, the BlackBerry Q10 is the best selling smartphone on its network. The handset is outselling the Galaxy S4, HTC One, Lumia 520 and even the iPhone 5. Furthermore, the BlackBerry Z10 is also outselling the iPhone 5, Sony Xperia Z and Galaxy S III. SFR has more than 21 million subscribers and is the second largest wireless provider in France. If similar trends are occurring on other networks, BlackBerry may finally have its first hit in quite some time.
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 →