Taking A Chance On BlackBerry

| About: BlackBerry Ltd. (BBRY)

Even if you're not into tech stocks, you probably have opinions about BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY) shares. You'd most likely say that adding the handheld-device icon to anyone's portfolio would be a bad thing. Well, it's obvious that your opinion - or rather assumption - isn't baseless. After all, you've heard some people say that iOS and Android devices already killed BlackBerry phones. Instead of hastily passing judgment and dismissing the firm's stocks as nothing valuable though, it'd be best to think in a much more thorough manner. To really find out whether getting BlackBerry shares is a smart move, you just have to continue reading.

Ponder upon the Times

It's likely that you're beginning to question your own knowledge right now. Specifically, you're starting to have doubts whether the wireless-solution provider actually lost a significant number of supporters when iPhones and Galaxies first came on the scene. Well, Android smartphones initially became available back in Q4 2008 - a period that's associated with BlackBerry stock prices that are around the $45 mark. The third-quarter share prices however, have an average of roughly $110. With this info alone, it's already safe to say that the newer gadgets damaged the sales of BlackBerry phones right from the get-go.

Today, the phone manufacturer's per-share price is just a little more than $14. What's even more concerning is the fact that the firm has been eclipsed by its competitors in quite a number of ways. For example, while Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has managed to achieve a net income of $39 billion in the past year, BlackBerry reached new lows with its bottom line being at -$628 million (yes, that negative isn't a typo). This just means that the once-dominant company is now struggling with its expenses, which in turn explains why it's now linked with layoffs and manufacturing-facility shutdowns.

All about the New Firm

As you've realized by now, the BlackBerry that once sat at the top of the mobile phone industry is no longer capable of competing with modern-day wireless-solution giants. If you're hoping that the corporation wouldn't fold in a year or two, then you'd be relieved after finding out that it's undergoing a rebirth. Unlike its older self, the firm now pays more attention to the importance of being on the same page, which is why its remaining 12,700 employees usually take part in meetings and enjoy morale boosters. Of course, this isn't the most important part of BlackBerry's attempt to reinvent itself. Its success depends on the sales of its next offerings.

In order to ensure that consumers would begin to think about BlackBerry smartphones before investing in another iPhone or Galaxy, the former king of mobile devices chose to develop an operating system (aptly named OS 10) that comes with never-before-seen features. The BlackBerry Balance is among such functions. It allows people to switch between two modes - personal and business - and thus eliminating the hassles of sorting messages and documents on two separate mobiles. The TimeShift Camera is another OS 10 exclusive. Unlike most cameras, this one is ideal for those with less-than-perfect timing as it takes photos in a video-like manner.

One thought is circling your mind right now - those OS 10 functions wouldn't be enough to save BlackBerry. Well, you're right. The corporation's leaders are also fully aware of the limitations of software improvements, especially since features end up being copied. Fortunately, the firm is also trying to tempt consumers by providing choices in terms of hardware - the Z10 (which caters to non-BlackBerry enthusiasts who want a cutting-edge phone) and the Q10 (which is targeted to the company's business-minded followers). Analysts are still split however, when it comes to the company's chances of achieving success - and once again, profitability.

Uncertainty, Opportunity

BlackBerry's stock price isn't really encouraging, considering how much it has dropped throughout the years. Moreover, the firm's survival depends on whether a successful brand renaissance could be pulled off. While it's appropriate to predict that the Z10 and Q10 wouldn't garner sales-volume awards, it's also safe to say that BlackBerry's latest phones aren't a mere afterthought - the firm even reached a sales growth of roughly 140 percent. All in all, if you'd add BlackBerry to your portfolio right now, you might gain considerable profits soon - that is, if smartphone giants don't aggressively put a stop to the company's renewed (but slight) progress.

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.