BlackBerry’s Resurrection Depends on its Newest Model, Q10

BBIn today’s competitive smartphone market, BB has gone back to its roots in hopes of winning back prior customers

By: Michelle Monteiro, Staff Writer

Amidst the iPhones, Androids, Samsungs and other smartphones, BlackBerry aims to reclaim the high-end smartphone market share with their newest BB10 product.  Released in over a dozen countries in May and recently the U.S. this month, a handful of analysts suggest that BlackBerry’s Q10 could rejuvenate sales and customer loyalty.

Jefferies analyst, Peter Misek, said in Information Week Mobility that the Q10 has been “pretty-well received” by consumers and expects sales to offset a slowdown in sales of its touchscreen predecessor, the Z10.

Earlier this year, BlackBerry struggled to drive enough BB10 demand to return the company to sustained profitability, as indicated by BlackBerry Z10’s “modest” sale levels according to Canaccord Genuity analyst, T. Michael Walkley, who spoke to BGR.

Unlike the Z10, however, the Q10’s early success matches BlackBerry’s expectations for the smartphone.  Wells Fargo analyst, Maynard Um, has predicted that Q10 sales may even help the company beat expectations for its fiscal first quarter.

“[There has been] good Q10 customer interest and demand,”  Um said to Information Weekly Mobility.   “[And this] is consistent with our view that the die-hard BlackBerry installed base of 76 million loyal to the keyboard presents a strong upgrade opportunity.”

For all practical purposes, the Q10 has the famous BlackBerry keyboard and an innovative 3.1 inch touchscreen with 720 x 720 pixels, producing a typical BB smartphone that has evolved to follow the trends of today’s smartphones.

“There are a lot of loyal BlackBerry keyboard users out there who have been waiting for this”  Kristian Tear, BlackBerry’s Chief Operating Officer, said.   “I think with the Q10, we will also be able to win back prior BlackBerry customers who are now trying other platforms.”

The newly released smartphone also features an 8 megapixel camera, 1.5 GHz dual-core processor from Qualcomm, 16 GB of storage and the traditional BlackBerry Messenger.

In its prime, BlackBerry’s core subscriber base was business customers.  In recent years, enterprises have been switching to other smartphones as BlackBerry, according to Wall Street and Technology, has failed to act on the trend of smartphones evolving from phones and emailing devices to pocket-sized computers full of apps, games, cameras and Internet browsing.

Seeing the potential for a BlackBerry revitalization, there is a queue of other BB products for release later this year.  The Q5 will be a low-cost keyboard smartphone with half the storage amount of a Q10.  Next will be the A10, code name Aristo, an all-touch device which will look similar to the Samsung Galaxy S4.

So, will keyboard loyalists come to BlackBerry’s rescue? Perhaps, but only more time will tell.

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