Research In Motion Limited (RIMM) is releasing a new line of phones featuring the BlackBerry 10 operating system on January 30th. The flagship device, and the first to feature BlackBerry 10, will be called the Z10. The Z10 is BlackBerry's newest and most powerful offering, and it will taking on the well-established Android and the ever-popular iPhone as soon as it is released. The Z10 and the other BlackBerry 10 phones will either make or break RIMM, either throwing the company into obscurity or bringing it back as a serious competitor. Since so much depends on the release of the Z10, we must investigate the product to see whether it can really compete.
A modern phone needs to be able to power through massive loads of data without slowdown. For this, it needs hardware that can stand up to the big boys. With the Z10, Research In Motion held nothing back, crafting a phone that is brimming with power. The Z10 will feature:
- Dual-Core 1.5Ghz Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 Processor, or the Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 (in the US/Canada). Both of these processors feature state-of-the-art power usage technology, allowing the phone to hum quietly while it crunches through data. They are currently the pinnacle of mobile performance and power saving capability. The Texas Instruments processor is featured in powerful phones such as the Droid 2, while the Snapdragon can be found on a variety of domestic offerings such as the Droid Incredible 4G LTE or the Droid RAZR HD.
- 2GB of RAM. Random Access Memory is critical for multitasking, which is a big part of BlackBerry 10. The 2 gigabytes that will be featured on the Z10 is present in the highest-end phones within the industry.
- 8 megapixel camera; 2 megapixel front-facing camera; 1080p video recording. This is as good as it gets right now. Expect the Z10 to take crisp pictures and record detailed videos.
- 356 Pixels Per Inch. This is a very high PPI, beating out almost every single phone on the market right now.
- 1800 mAh removable battery. This is a beefy offering, suitable for the phones' high energy demands. With this much power, however, expect the efficient processor to stay up through an entire day or more.
Evidently the hardware is excellent. Research In Motion is also banking on the success of its ultra-efficient new BlackBerry 10 operating system. On January 20, German telecom blog "TelekomPresse" compared the Z10 to the iPhone 5 on video. After watching through the video, it became evident that the Z10 is a superior device. The Z10 features an HDMI port on the side, as well as a microSD and microSIM slot behind the removable battery. In the tests performed in the video, the BlackBerry Z10 performed significantly better on voice control. The new BlackBerry 10 browser also outperformed Apple's Safari. The interface looked sleek, dynamic, and efficient; everything seemed to be just a tap away. It is safe to say that BlackBerry has created an excellent product to re-enter the market with, both in terms of hardware and software.
Research In Motion sunk to just 7.8% of market share in the United States during October 2012, according to comScore. While this may be a small piece of the pie, RIMM is not a massive company; it doesn't need to dominate the market to be profitable. It only needs to find its niche. People have long had the ability to switch over to different phones; a new upgrade cycle throughout 2013 will give Research In Motion a fighting chance. Projections hover around 18 million units sold in order for RIMM to break even. The new line of BlackBerry 10 phones will allow for a significantly higher gross margin, as they will be targeting the higher-end market.
We must keep in mind that BlackBerry will not be targeting the same part of the market that the iPhone and most Android phones try to appeal to; Blackberries will always be for professionals. BB10 features secure email services and "pre-approved government security". While a high school student may opt for a phone that can play games and make use of social media, there exist a myriad of businessmen that will take to this new line of phones.
If investor sentiment is a sign of future success, then RIMM will succeed in its latest offering: the company's stock has appreciated 45.1% since the beginning of 2013. The Z10 may, in fact, save Research In Motion.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.