Should Investors Bet On The BlackBerry Z10 And Q10?

| About: BlackBerry Ltd. (BBRY)

The recent release of the BlackBerry 10 OS and the new Z10 and Q10 smartphones will either be the turning point for Research in Motion, now renamed BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), or perhaps the last two phones BlackBerry ever produces. With BlackBerry almost exclusively surviving off of die-hard fans and corporate contracts as of late, these two new phones need to recapture the mass market if BlackBerry has any hope of making a turnaround. That means competing directly against the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5, top Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android phones, and the Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Lumia 920. So how do the Z10 and Q10 stack up?

BlackBerry Z10

BlackBerry Q10


iPhone 5

Samsung Galaxy S3

Nokia Lumia 920


4.2-inch (1280x768)








4.8-inch (1280x720)


















Dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait

Dual-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A9

Dual-core 1.2 GHz

Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A9

Dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait








8MP Rear

2MP Front

8MP Rear

8MP Rear

1.2MP Front

8MP Rear

1.9MP Front

8MP Rear

1.3MP Front


16GB Internal

16GB Internal

16/32/64GB Internal

16GB Internal

32GB Internal


$199 on contract


$199 on contract (16GB)

$199 on contract

$99 on contract

Source: GSM Arena

The Z10 is the flagship phone for BlackBerry's new 10 OS, and will be the main competitor to Apple, Google, and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) operated smartphones, out of the two new phones BlackBerry unveiled. With its 4.2-inch display and rectangular form factor, the Z10 is a monumental leap for Blackberry into the modern smartphone arena. Its tech specs, are for the most part comparable to its competitors, with its most impressive feature being its 1280x768 display which slightly edges out the Nokia Lumia 920 for highest pixel density. Other than that, it has a fairly standard 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 16GB internal storage, an 8MP rear camera, and 4G LTE connectivity. Thus, on tech specs alone, it would be hard to argue why a consumer would buy the Z10 over its competition, especially as a latecomer.

In terms of software, and user experience, the Z10's Blackberry 10 OS is a welcome upgrade over BB7 feeling more like a fluid OS like Apple's iOS, Google's Android, or the Windows Phone OS. It is very gesture-based like other smartphones operating systems; swiping in various directions or locations will bring up different programs and interfaces. The most important of which being BlackBerry Hub, the aggregate information center of the phone. However, the primary downside of this new OS, is the lack of quality apps in the BlackBerry World store, a similar problem that both Windows Phone and Android faced in their early stages.

The BlackBerry Q10 is similar in form and function to the "traditional" BlackBerry smartphone, with its tactile QWERTY keyboard below its 3.1-inch display. The Q10 is a welcome upgrade over the previous BlackBerry Bold and Curve, as it features a larger screen with a relatively high pixel density, and runs the 10 OS like the Z10. As such, this phone will appeal to BlackBerry loyalists that cannot give up their physical QWERTY keyboards. However, the Z10 not the Q10 will determine the fate of BlackBerry because a "traditional" BlackBerry has already lost its appeal to the mass market.

Bottom Line

The BlackBerry Z10 and Q10, although significant upgrades over previous BlackBerry smartphones, may be too little, too late to save the ailing company. The Z10 is the best chance BlackBerry has at once again reaching the mass market, but sadly there is nothing particularly special about it that vastly differentiates it from smartphones already on the market. Still, these two new phones may be just enough to attract a few new customers, while keeping BlackBerry die-hards and corporate clients onboard. Thus, BlackBerry may live to fight another day, but investors may want to stay away from its stock for the time being as these devices were not the homerun BlackBerry was counting on.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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