The Blackberry Revival: It’s On!

Ashley is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

I know it’s only been just 3 months into 2013, but so far, BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY) is having a good year. They've renamed themselves along with launching new smartphones that looked very promising from the start. In February, they finally launched their Z10 smartphone to rave reviews and a good sales number. In March, they announced that they received an order for a million smartphones from one prospective client and that’s very encouraging for BlackBerry.

They launched the Z10 a few days back in the US and it's too early to say anything about its performance as of yet, They’ve still yet to launch their Q10 smartphone and they've just announced two more phones coming up. So, there's a lot to be optimistic about BlackBerry's future.

Regardless of how their competition is doing, BlackBerry needed to launch a unique smartphone that can take the fight to their competitors and they’re on the right track. But now that Samsung has launched their S4 smartphone and with Sony also vying their share of the smartphone marketplace with the Xperia Z, can BlackBerry still maintain the momentum they’re currently riding on?

BlackBerry vs Apple

When you compare the Apple iPhone 5 and the BlackBerry Z10, you’ll see a lot of similarities in their hardware. Plus, they both look alike! When you look into the sales generated by these phones, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) definitely has the lead here. But let’s not forget that BlackBerry has just come back into the picture and taking that into consideration, they’re doing good. But what now for the future? Well, the iPhone 5 and Z10 will continue to battle it out in new geographies and with BlackBerry expanding its customer base (like launching in Indonesia recently), the Z10's popularity is on a rise.

iPhone 5 will still continue to generate interest, since it’s … you know … the iPhone 5, but you can still feel it’s influence fading slightly in the recent months. Apple's recent stock performance has been shaky, but steadily increasing (increasing from its' lowest point of $420/share to $456 in the past month). Let's also not forget that Apple is currently focusing on the Chinese market and that will open up new avenues of revenue for them.

BlackBerry still has a long way to go to challenge Apple's hold on the consumer market with its iPhone and it’s still too early to tell on whether the Z10 is deemed more interesting than the iPhone 5 from a consumer's point of view. But with the Q10 launching in April (along with its other two unnamed models this year), BlackBerry should be able to hold on its own against Apple since the BlackBerry 10 OS has been favorably received and the subsequent models will feature this OS.

BlackBerry vs the Android gang

Now this is where BlackBerry faces its biggest challenge. The Samsung S4 and the Sony Xperia Z are the two top phones that’s generated a lot of interest last week. Both are really impressive phones, boasting some killer specs but you have to wonder whether they’re releasing hardware just for the sake of humoring the fan boys and not because the Android OS demands it. Well, that’s another discussion but it’s suffice to say that Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF) and Sony (NYSE: SNE) have generated a lot of interest with their phones.

From the company's point of view, Samsung has been aggressively updating its hardware specs on its smartphones and its tablets. Sony is following suit and with the upcoming launch of its Xperia tablet (that looks stunning), they are also showing some serious intent in recreating its Sony-Ericsson glory days. In the past month, they've also shown growth in their stock performance (from $13.79/share to $17.xx/share), so they're also doing well. So, should Blackberry be concerned with Sony's comeback attempt?

Well, apart from tablet sales, Blackberry should do good with their smartphones even if Sony does well. But competition is growing and that's a real challenge facing Blackberry's revival.

BlackBerry vs the new boys

Firefox OS and Ubuntu OS are going to be launched by the end of this year and judging from the reactions it garnered from the MWC held at Barcelona, Ubuntu OS is an exciting prospect. But should this worry BlackBerry? Well, even if these OS turn out to be awesome, BlackBerry still has the time to anticipate this entry and by the time these guys actually pop up, BlackBerry should be ready to take them on through the new iterations of the BlackBerry OS 10. So, no! BlackBerry shouldn't be worried about the new boys. Well, at least not now.

BlackBerry vs BlackBerry

CNET conducted an interview recently, in which the BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins announced that other than the Q10, there were two more models coming in and that one of these model would take the BlackBerry 10 OS to the next level in user experience. That's really encouraging. Also, there are rumors that the next iteration of the Playbook tablet would be launched by the end of this year. While that's still a long way to go, it's very relieving to know that BlackBerry is not rushing into the tablet market. Let's just hope that they take this time to develop their upcoming table and not launch a half-baked, dull device. But so far, expectations (both from its fans and itself) are being met and they should continue to perform well this year. 

Foolishly speaking

In terms of stock performance, BlackBerry is doing well and that should continue well into the next quarter. The competition, as expected, is bring out new products but the Z10 and the soon-to-be-launched Q10 should be able to hold on their own. As far as better hardware is concerned, the BlackBerry OS 10 is in good hands in the current hardware and as long as they continue to update this platform with newer stuff, these phones should be good enough to sell for the time being. So far, it’s going good for BlackBerry and they've definitely held up their promises. Let’s hope they continue this good run well into this year!


Ashley Sales has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!

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