Expectations are very high concerning the launch of the new BlackBerry (BBRY) Q10, and rightfully so. All indications are that most people who want to buy a new BlackBerry phone are waiting for the BB10 QWERTY version to roll out.
One thing about the Q10 is that it brings back memories of BlackBerry itself. Please note that BlackBerry is the definition of what a QWERTY phone means. All those users that never really got comfortable with a flat screen smartphone device like Apple's (AAPL) iPhone or Google (GOOG) Android devices will now have a chance to get a premium smartphone with a physical keyboard.
Build it and they will come...
And that's exactly what has been happening, according to multiple reports from England. As fellow SA contributor Michael Collins said several days ago:
Upon arriving, there were lots of exporters buying 20+ units each. They had suitcases, and one used the suitcase to block people in the escalator so his pal could be first to the counter. Carphone Warehouse had broken customers out into two lines -- single unit buyers like me and "multi-unit" buyers.
BlackBerry says the Q10 will debut in the U.S. by the end of May at $249 for a model with 16 gigabytes of storage on a two-year contract; Verizon Wireless (VZ), AT&T (T), Sprint (S) and T-Mobile (OTCQX:DTEGY) will carry it.
Just to highlight the importance of the Q10, the availability of Skype for the Q10 (in beta) was announced several days ago. Skype is not yet available for the Z10, even though it has been out for awhile. It seems to me that BlackBerry didn't want to roll out the Q10 before Skype was available, in order not to scare many old-time BlackBerry users (mostly corporate, I imagine), who have been using Skype with their current BlackBerry devices.
Is there such a thing as pent-up demand for a smartphone? MarketWatch reported that RBC Capital thinks so, and raised its estimate for shipments of BB10 devices from 2 million to 2.75 million units for the quarter. That's a 30% upward revision, and if you ask me, that's a very big revision. "The Q10 is likely to appeal to the numerous existing enterprise and message-centric BlackBerry users. Many of these users have skipped over the Z10 to wait for the Q10," said RBC Capital.
Jefferies' Peter Misek also had something to say: "Our checks indicate Z10 sales in Canada, U.S., and UK remain steady with no excess inventory or return issues." So much for all those high return inventories that Barron's reported a while ago.
Could the Q10 spark an enterprise upgrade cycle? Now, I don't know if BlackBerry is capable of something like that, however, there was a story over the weekend in which the international law firm of Clifford Chance has chosen to upgrade their entire firm with new BB10 devices.
London, UK and Waterloo, ON - International law firm Clifford Chance and BlackBerry® (NASDAQ: BBRY; TSX: BB) today announced that Clifford Chance will roll out 1,600 BlackBerry® 10 smartphones with BlackBerry's recently launched Enterprise Mobility Management solution, BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10. Clifford Chance is a long-standing BlackBerry customer, with BlackBerry smartphones at the core of the law firm's enterprise mobility strategy for over 10 years. The firm's new investment in BlackBerry 10 will see 1,600 employees, initially in the UK, being issued with BlackBerry® Z10 (all touch) and BlackBerry® Q10 (touch with physical keyboard.) smartphones, beginning early this summer.
So in a sense it seems that there are many companies that are waiting to get their hands on the Q10 in order to officially announce their upgrade to the BB10 platform. I assume we will see a whole lot more of these announcements as time goes by.
What all these little bits of information mean is that the BB10 platform is doing just fine and will do a whole lot better, as the Q10 becomes available in multiple markets around the world. In other words, BlackBerry is gaining momentum.
And with about 1/3 of total BlackBerry shares sold short, it's only a matter of time before something has to give. And if you ask me, BlackBerry is a short seller's accident just waiting to happen, because when that something finally does give, the stock will move very fast in the blink of an eye.
And If my logic is correct and most of these shares sold short are losing money, the question is how long can they continue to lose money before they decide to cover or are forced to cover? Another question is, how high might the stock go in this case?
The answer is I don't know, but I have a wild imagination...