Is Blackberry a Super Bowl Winner?

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

Everyone loves a good underdog success story, a tale about a lovable loser that rises from the muck of disgrace to find their place in the sun. Rudy and Rocky Balboa did it, but is there hope for Research In Motion​ (NASDAQ: BBRY)...I mean Blackberry (BBRY)​? Sentiment is mixed, leaning towards “meh.”

Apparently not enough people found CEO Thorsten Heins's introduction of the Blackberry Z10 and Q10 very compelling. I can't imagine why not, what with that look of wanting to fall asleep halfway during the presentation?

But seriously, the recent unveiling and the lack of frenzy it produced had a good deal of investors spooked, sending the stock to a price of $12 and change, one it hadn't been at in two months. But to use an old cliché, “it ain't over 'til its over”

The Canadian developer of the Blackberry brand and other wireless devices shelled out around $4 million for a 30 second ad in the Super Bowl to display its latest operating system and phones to the world. The company, though having had a rough past, has seen a steady rising stock price over the last four months, almost tripling since September. And with the smartphone market's current climate, now seems like the best time of any for it to nab a bigger slice of market share.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), the long time smartphone favorite, has lost a considerable amount of its iPhone cool. Recent reports say the technology giant is cutting back on orders for its smartphone's components. The company with the half-eaten fruit logo has arguably changed the entire phone industry, yet is now locked in a battle with Korea-based Samsung to retain market dominance. As a result, Apple has seen their stock prices fall steadily since Fall 2012 and has most recently become less favored by tech investors according to Thomson Reuters data.

Experts believe it was the Samsung Galaxy S III's video marketing campaign that made all the difference between it and Apple's iPhone. The videos, which went viral to the count of 15.7 million views, took an effective jab at the iPhone5 and the hype surrounding its launch.

Considering, the Super Bowl last year had an audience of over 111.3 million, the rapid growth of smartphone users and the fact that competitors are actually producing comparable if not better phones, Blackberry might be strategically placed to pick up those between the Galaxy S III and a hard place, when its devices become available in the U.S. a few months from now.

Making the phone wars more crowded, is Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) flagship phone, Nokia Lumia 920, which runs on the Windows 8 platform. Though this latest device helped return phone maker Nokia to profit, Windows as a smartphone OS lags behind in its market, with only 3 phone makers having agreed to use its software in the U.S.

Windows phones have become infamous for their many glitches. The most memorable issue is one that asks the mobile user to “insert your Windows installation disc.” On the other hand, early tests for the Blackberry 10 OS find it outperforming even Apple in a head-to-head browser speed test.

The maker of Windows also put out the Surface tablet last quarter, which underperformed, having sold much less than 1 million units, between 680k to 750k, according to CNET estimates. The device also has a high return rate.

After all that being said, the Blackberry has some major advantages over the iPhone, Android and Windows competition that few recognize: its loyal customer base (over 30 million social media fans which affectionately call their devices a “crackberry”), a willingness to differentiate itself with QWERTY pad versions of its devices, and a market share identical with number four smartphone vendor HTC.

Even those investors that believe Apple and Samsung's hold on the market is so strong as to only encourage 30% of Blackberry's 80 million users to pick up the Z10 or Q10, believe the company can earn as much as $4 to $5 a share by next year.

Only time will tell if the Blackberry 10 can make good on the hype generated by its Big Game premiere.


Fool Blogger Jean-Mar Saint Laurent does not own shares in the companies mentioned in this entry. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Microsoft. 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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