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 →
The wait for a fresh new BlackBerry (BBRY) smartphone to launch in the United States has been absolutely grueling for diehard fans, but it’s finally over. Beginning Friday, BlackBerry’s first next-generation BlackBerry 10 smartphone is available from AT&T (T) online and in stores for $199.99 with a new two-year agreement. BGR reviewed the BlackBerry Z10 in January and called it a huge improvement over the stale BlackBerry 7 OS in many ways, but BlackBerry still has a long way to go to catch up with market leaders. Following Friday’s launch at AT&T, the BlackBerry Z10 will be available from T-Mobile beginning March 27th and from Verizon (VZ) starting March 28th.
BlackBerry (BBRY) is in need of a hit in the United States, but it seems that early preorder volumes for the BlackBerry Z10 on American wireless carriers have been below expectations so far. Barron’s points us to a new note from Detwiler Fenton & Co. analyst Jeff Johnston, who says that preorders for the Z10 “have been light and well below expectations” on carriers he’s checked in with so far. Johnston says that Z10 faces a consumer awareness problem in the U.S., which has only been exacerbated by other recent high-profile launches such as the recent Galaxy S 4 and the HTC (2498) One. More →
Wall Street believes that BlackBerry (BBRY) will ship between 300,000 and 800,000 new BlackBerry Z10 smartphones during the February quarter. This is the most widely discussed number for BlackBerry’s fiscal fourth quarter, but it’s far from the most important metric. Since the Z10 was not shipping to the U.S. market and was available only in select countries for a fraction of the quarter, the Z10 shipment figure is going to be open to interpretation. Instead, the firm’s total subscriber base is the number that is going to be highly relevant. This is because in the August quarter, BlackBerry added 2 million net subscribers and in the November quarter, the company lost 1 million subscribers. Late autumn appeared to mark a dramatic turning point. The subscriber growth in emerging markets slowed down so much that it no longer was able to offset the base erosion in the U.S. and the U.K. More →
BlackBerry’s (BBRY) new flagship Z10 smartphone has seemingly been well-received in a number of markets, and the latest round of launches has been no different. Following a note from Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek suggesting the BlackBerry Z10 sold out across numerous retailers in India, RBC Capital Markets’ Mark Sue and RBC Dominion Securities’ Paul Treiber report that the Z10 has indeed been well received in India and other new markets following its launch late last month. The duo’s checks have found stock-outs across India and other markets. They raised their February-quarter estimates to 500,000 units from 350,000 as a result, but they still see BlackBerry selling 2 million smartphones in the May quarter as sales appear to be slowing in Canada and the United Kingdom. More →
Verizon (VZ) on Wednesday announced the availability of BlackBerry’s (BBRY) Z10 smartphone. Customers will be able to pre-order the handset in black or white beginning on Thursday, March 13th. The BlackBerry Z10 is equipped with a 4.2-inch 720p display, a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and an 8-megapixel rear camera. The smartphone also features 16GB of internal storage, a microSD slot, 2GB of RAM, NFC, LTE connectivity and a 1800 mAh battery. The BlackBerry Z10 will be available online and in stores from Verizon on March 28th for $199 with a new two-year agreement.
As we’ve said before, BlackBerry’s (BBRY) goal with the Z10 isn’t to catch up with iOS and Android overnight but to simply live to fight another day. And based on some recent supply checks conducted by analyst Paul Peterson of boutique research firm BlueFin, it seems that BlackBerry has gone a long way toward achieving that goal. Per Barron’s, Peterson has written a research note claiming that it “appears that [BlackBerry] management is confident that the BB10 launches will be an unqualified success” because orders to suppliers for the Z10 handset have shown a “significant surge in orders in the past 30 days.” More →