Seeking Alpha
Profile| Send Message|
( followers)  

I'm gonna let you know…at the end

Following Friday's early channel checks of the BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) BB10 launch, here are some telling anecdotal tales from London over the weekend:

I walked into a Phones4U on Oxford Street (flagship store) Saturday. The store too was just ending sales of its 'Sim-free handset' due to lack of stock. The manager was genuinely shocked by what he had seen. There was only a handful of contract-only phones left. To be fair, this location had devoted a full half of its retail space to BB10, the entire second floor. It was impressive BB Day in that store. Time was 2PM Saturday.

On Sunday AM, I called numerous Phones4U London stores and they reported being out of stock or minor stock restricted for contracts.

I checked out another major Phones4U outlet in a mall, it had three handsets left, also for contracts only. The managers were also very impressed with the opening. I asked them how it compared to the Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Lumia, and he said there was absolutely no comparison, almost mocking the suggestions that Nokia had had a successful launch there.

I next walked into CarphoneWarehouse at the same mall. It was out of stock. I asked how the launch had gone, if he had any observations etc. He smiled and offered, "Our Oxford Street (Flagship UK store) had sold 400 handsets in a day, maybe two. They were wiped out." I asked if that was a good number and he chuckled back that it was simply a total blow-out.

So then I had asked him too how this compared to the Nokia Lumia launch. He said there was simply no comparison, 'that was a non-event.'

What are the ramifications for BlackBerry, who had been left for dead, to trump and knock Nokia/Lumia out of 3rd place? This is important because the market believes that the Nokia/Lumia launch was very successful, have a look here or here.

What Else?

Opening weekend is a strong indicator, but it doesn't guarantee this movie has 'legs.' For that, you need word of mouth. Are early adopters happy? Are they going to evangelize this new platform?

User Feedback is excellent on Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD). This is a solid indicator for word of mouth. So Yes, between now and the US launch we can expect a certain organic ground swell / positive momentum and word of mouth.

Next, who is buying these phones? Are they solely pent up BlackBerry fans as shorts would want you to believe? Checkout this revealing poll from Crackberry.com:

(click to enlarge)

Approximately 40% are coming from IOS or Android? Is the total universe of potential buyers only the 79 million current BB users or can this BB10 achieve the unthinkable and peel users away from IOS and Android? It appears it may be able to do just that.

This comment from a responder to the above poll beautifully encapsulated the iPhoners who were leaving:

"iPhone 4 to z10. I can't wait as I have become bored of iOS and don't feel it innovates anymore and feel the iPhone 5 is just a thinner slightly faster version of the phone I have so not worth buying."

Or this user:

"After years of iPhone i need something new to try...Android and Windows Phone aren't an alternative for me, consequently there is only BB 10 left. So i will give it a try (but my Apple device will still be in the drawer^^)"

These users are poster boys for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) "Upgrade Fatigue" syndrome, there are also numerous others leaving from iPhone 5, even more shocking.

This Indecision is buggin me

So what do we know so far:

-The UK launch looks successful (Canada pre-launch flying too)

-eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) units are still selling north of $1200

-Users are very happy/ positive word of mouth 'movie has legs'

-The BB10 has shown it can appeal beyond the BB stalwarts (Shocking!)

-and all this without a keyboard?

The short BBRY position on this stock is enormous (135M shares or 27% of the float) and shorts are going to come under great pressure very quickly if UK/ Canada news is positive given a US launch is only a month away. The trade that this was Palm all over again was simply too easy and lazy. Try to do your own due diligence, which involves seeing and handling a BB10. Professional Wall street channel checks will come in Monday, and if those are as bullish as mine, then it's, 'All in' time.

Source: Should I Stay Or Should I Go: BlackBerry Channel Checks Part II