Since the release of the new Z10 device, BlackBerry (BBRY) has been stating sales have been strong in Canada and the UK. Not disclosing actual numbers has led to speculation that the device is sold out because the quantity produced has been very small. There has been executive and analysts' reports from one end of the spectrum to the other. This has made for a volatile February regarding BlackBerry's stock price.
Thorsten Heins, president and CEO of BlackBerry said "In Canada, yesterday was the best day ever for the first day of a launch of a new BlackBerry smartphone."
Pacific Crest's James Faucette and Canaccord Genuity's Mike Walkley - revised their estimates for the total number of Z10s sold during the current quarter downward to 300,000 worldwide.
With so many different views, the only reliable source of information is BlackBerry. But, it is not releasing sales numbers. I will say for the record, I previously have listened to all the quarterly calls and have routinely heard disinformation from the former management CEO Jim Balsillie. When the new CEO Thorsten Heins took over, I noticed a deliberate and cautious tone in which I have grown to trust in the past year. Only time will tell if my trust is misplaced.
An interview this weekend with CEO Thorsten Heins has shed more light on the situation. I will try to leave my opinion out at this point and just paraphrase the responses that Thorsten Heins delivered. I am paraphrasing from a German language article. At this point, taking the responses at face value is all we can do.
UK / Canada sales
Regarding the U.K. and Canada sales, Thorsten Heins stated the expectations were high and we exceed them.
The BlackBerry CEO said that they were surprised by the positive response and have now increased their production capacity.
Quantities are still not being reported but the increase is "significant for us."
Android and iPhones
Much talk has arisen about the new sales either coming from iPhone or android users or are they just cannibalizing through BlackBerry upgrades. Thorsten Heins addressed this by stating that an unexpectedly high proportion of Z10 devices will be purchased by previous android (GOOG) and iPhone (AAPL) users.
What can BlackBerry offer that the others can't?
In the interview, the BlackBerry CEO suggested that the strict separation of personal data and business data will give it an edge, specifically over the Windows Phone in a fight for number three.
He also reaffirmed his previous comments that the playbook is still a platform they want BB10 on. The BlackBerry hub is considered their crucial distinguishing feature under the BB10 OS.
It will be interesting to see how the Street responds to this. With an underperforming stock price last week, an increase would be in order.
A 10 to 15% increase over the next two days with profit taking towards the end of the week is in my forecast, but with this stock anything is possible.
In pre-market trading, the stock is up approximately 4%.