BlackBerry rallies; AT&T offers support, company to focus on keyboard phones


Though still well below where it traded four months ago, BlackBerry (BBRY +6.1%) is now up 36% since posting its FQ3 report and announcing the Foxconn outsourcing deal pn Dec. 20.

AT&T mobile chief Ralph de la Vega has provided BlackBerry with a measure of support at CES, stating his company is "supporting [BlackBerry's] efforts to continue being a viable supplier." Like other major carriers, AT&T has long shown an interest in supporting rival platforms to Android/iOS, with the goal of obtaining leverage against Google and Apple.

Meanwhile, John Chen has declared BlackBerry will now "predominantly" focus on selling phones with physical keyboards, a market niche where BlackBerry still claims a sizable base of loyal users, rather than touchscreen-only devices, where the company has seen limited success competing against the iPhone and Android hardware.

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Comments (56)
  • Kenpogi
    , contributor
    Comments (48) | Send Message
     
    Better late than never.
    7 Jan 2014, 02:46 PM Reply Like
  • LYogi
    , contributor
    Comments (3061) | Send Message
     
    But this is only the beginning!
    7 Jan 2014, 03:15 PM Reply Like
  • manicdvln
    , contributor
    Comments (1478) | Send Message
     
    Smart move, offer viable alternative in software and hardware. Physical keyboards is still very much in demand. Looking at recent fiasco with Typo keyboard accessory for iPhone only strengthens BlackBerries resolve.
    7 Jan 2014, 02:50 PM Reply Like
  • KIA Investment Research
    , contributor
    Comments (12821) | Send Message
     
    You do realize there are lots of non BlackBerry QWERTY smartphones right? http://tinyurl.com/kck...
    You have the Android QWERTYs http://tinyurl.com/m2z...
    and the Nokia QWERTYs http://tinyurl.com/mnx...

     

    If there is a market for these babies, Nokia/Microsoft and Samsung will clobber BlackBerry here. Apple may never make a QWERTY.
    7 Jan 2014, 07:29 PM Reply Like
  • ELLAS
    , contributor
    Comments (2688) | Send Message
     
    Mr. Knowitall

     

    You do realize BlackBerry is the only company that designs the best physical QWERTY devices on the planet. Once you use a BlackBerry with a physical keyboard, there is no going back to any other company offering.
    So your assumption that Nokia or Samsung would clobber BlackBery has been thrown out the window. Those links you provided not only show how ugly looking none BlackBerry qwerty phones lool, but also lack the elegance and comfort BlackBerry offers.
    7 Jan 2014, 07:55 PM Reply Like
  • manicdvln
    , contributor
    Comments (1478) | Send Message
     
    There is a difference of just having a crappy keyboard and actually have an OS built around a keyboard.

     

    And I emphasized alternative. Maybe the people who use WP and Android are not the people who use keyboards. Ever thought of that?
    8 Jan 2014, 01:29 PM Reply Like
  • KIA Investment Research
    , contributor
    Comments (12821) | Send Message
     
    @manicdvln,

     

    "There is a difference of just having a crappy keyboard and actually have an OS built around a keyboard."

     

    I just saw these leaked photos of the new BlackBerry phones and think you're right http://bit.ly/JI23oL
    8 Jan 2014, 02:26 PM Reply Like
  • LYogi
    , contributor
    Comments (3061) | Send Message
     
    I hope they also continue with full touch as the Z30 is the best device out there hands down
    7 Jan 2014, 03:01 PM Reply Like
  • mikebator
    , contributor
    Comments (1867) | Send Message
     
    Yogi,

     

    They better, it's one reason I jumped back in. Best device out there for sure. I am surprised more CEOs aren't catching on to just how superior the work experience is and it's like they finally figured out how to put my iPod in my communication juggernaut instead of trying to make an iPod a secure and efficient business device. I prefer the work experience first and always had an iPod since before they were cool, then I bought the iTouch and the next, but now I have the best business device around and I don't need to carry an iPod Touch anymore. Love it as it frees up a couple of bucks to check out smart watches.
    7 Jan 2014, 03:47 PM Reply Like
  • daugherty
    , contributor
    Comments (802) | Send Message
     
    Very, very few agree with you. That's why it's being abandoned.
    7 Jan 2014, 06:35 PM Reply Like
  • ELLAS
    , contributor
    Comments (2688) | Send Message
     
    Well it seems as though they will still continue full screen BB10 devices, for obvious reasons, because the Z30 is amazing. But looks like we may see for example 2 to 4 QWERTY devices and perhaps 1 to 2 full touch phones per year/per 18 months.

     

    I personally know many die hard BOLD fans, and love the qwerty. But that all changed ever since most of them bought the Z10, and now a few that waited for the Q10, just waited a bit longer and ended up with the Z30. They all tell me, they can never go back to a physical keyboard anymore. And the few which purchased the Q10 tell me its generations better than the BOLD, though they do miss some features from BBOS.
    7 Jan 2014, 08:02 PM Reply Like
  • vijitc
    , contributor
    Comments (99) | Send Message
     
    Yes I agree the z30 with the 10.2.1 leak us the best device in the market. 10.2.1 because it runs Android Apps directly. It beats the other guys in virtually everything else besides app availability. The Z30 line is all they need though for touch. I agree they need to focus on physical keyboards and up sell their current user base. For that they must reintroduce the track pad as a virtual or physical button. The track pad is still the best tool for cutting and pasting. Cutting and pasting is critical to blackberry types of users. There is no good touch solution out there for it.
    7 Jan 2014, 09:47 PM Reply Like
  • Mr. Cat
    , contributor
    Comments (286) | Send Message
     
    LYogi, I got a Z30 too and agree with you absolutely!
    8 Jan 2014, 03:57 AM Reply Like
  • gwynfryn
    , contributor
    Comments (6207) | Send Message
     
    For the sake of balance, I'd like to bring in Samsung's new tab pro, which also has some amazing new features, and comes in several sizes (from 12" tablet to phablet{ish}). OK, any BBRY still has the edge on security (and always will have until someone else brings out embedded systems) but with the price (still not announced, last I saw) likely to be well below the Z30's, I'd say that it is serious competition, and I for one would give it consideration.
    8 Jan 2014, 06:12 AM Reply Like
  • toraji
    , contributor
    Comments (810) | Send Message
     
    Great to see Blackberry going up, real happy for you all of you
    7 Jan 2014, 03:10 PM Reply Like
  • Randal James
    , contributor
    Comments (4393) | Send Message
     
    I'm skeptical of the duration yet curiously happy for the stalwarts, especially LY and wiesje. What was Spock's intonation? Live long and prosper.

     

    I was going to buy some myself but checked for ice down in Hades and it was still frost-free.

     

    :)
    7 Jan 2014, 03:35 PM Reply Like
  • gwynfryn
    , contributor
    Comments (6207) | Send Message
     
    I agree RJ, for the present, as there is still way too much clutter to tell for sure if this is a recovery or not (I suspect not, at least, not yet) but it'll be fun watching from the sidelines...
    8 Jan 2014, 06:15 AM Reply Like
  • KIA Investment Research
    , contributor
    Comments (12821) | Send Message
     
    Randal,

     

    wiesje just got out at $9 (congrats wiesje!).

     

    I too am skeptical; actually in full-on disbelief.

     

    In my mind, nothing has changed. You have Foxconn making phones now that nobody wants, a new push on keyboard phones that nobody wants, an OS nobody wants, an instant messaging platform that makes no money, an MDM offering, and some patents.

     

    Replacing the captain and crew of the Titanic changes nothing.
    8 Jan 2014, 02:33 PM Reply Like
  • gwynfryn
    , contributor
    Comments (6207) | Send Message
     
    Except for the captain and crew; that's part of the problem here, isn't it, that the execs are going to come out of it rich, whatever happens? Maybe if they were compelled to sink with the ship, they might come up with some realistic solutions...
    9 Jan 2014, 10:11 AM Reply Like
  • Thurai sivakumaran
    , contributor
    Comments (29) | Send Message
     
    Happy to BB moving up on thge ladder.

     

    Glad to see LYogi's comments, welcome back.
    7 Jan 2014, 03:39 PM Reply Like
  • LYogi
    , contributor
    Comments (3061) | Send Message
     
    Gracias, I'm returning from 3 weeks lying low in the south of Mexico.

     

    Needless to say, 2014 has started out better than even I had hoped!

     

    I expect seeing $15 this year and double that the next.

     

    Going to be a fun battle to watch and participate in. Glta
    7 Jan 2014, 03:44 PM Reply Like
  • sfinvestor
    , contributor
    Comments (1746) | Send Message
     
    Lyogi,

     

    It'll need to clear through $9 first, which was the price no one wants to buy BBRY.

     

    BBRY did some nice things to mitigate the risk of losing even more money. But their message is confusing. You have BES10 and BB10, but BB10 devices are absolute disasters with cancellation and hints that it is not a focused. Are they going to continue with BB10 OS or not? JC also wanted to work on something with Android and iOS. Customers will likely continue to say fk no to BB devices like they have already. Being half in with confusing message about your ecosystem that is consumer 0 will not get the consumer or prosumer excited nor would they care. What would their next handset be, a Q30? a curve? No one gives a shit anymore.

     

    You got the honeymoon period where JC promised some profit by FY16 but Thorstein Heins said the same damn thing in his two year plan. Every failed CEO thinks things are better in two years and their two year plans is always rosy. In order to see your price targets at some point, those talks have to become substance. customers have to be converted, hardware sales have to reverse, BES needs to gain traction instead of massive defection.

     

    At this point, the short BB10 play is dead as that is already realized, done, dead hence the covering. The inventory writeoff and impairement clearly tells you BB10 is the biggest failure in the world history of failure. But to say enterprise will succeed because JC say so is premature. BBRY is still struggling like they were two months ago. Where is the press release on a new customer they are so giddy to point out?

     

    And to add a nugget. in 2009, Ernst & Young, LLP USA a 30K+ professional employer in the US started the BYOD trend. Well in Jan 2014, I just noticed that EY dumped BBRY NOC for Good technology via an email I received from one of the tax partner today.

     

    email footer from partner@ey.com states: "Sent with Good (http://www.good.com)"

     

    This is a horrible development for BB enterprise as a centerpiece enterprise customer which is absolutely trend sending moved on.
    7 Jan 2014, 07:10 PM Reply Like
  • Carpenter73
    , contributor
    Comments (119) | Send Message
     
    It closed at 9.14 on TSX today. It's a start!
    8 Jan 2014, 12:03 AM Reply Like
  • LYogi
    , contributor
    Comments (3061) | Send Message
     
    Hola Amigo
    I can't respond in full at the moment but wanted to say how it took about 12 hours for BB to flirt with the $9 level that supposedly nobody wanted to buy it at.

     

    In 12 months it will be clear what a ridiculously low stalking horse bid that was by Fairfax and why the institutional investors who hold bbry would never have accepted it.
    8 Jan 2014, 09:31 AM Reply Like
  • Michael Bryant
    , contributor
    Comments (6502) | Send Message
     
    (BBRY) is the only smartphone offering a physical keyboard, if I am correct.
    7 Jan 2014, 06:51 PM Reply Like
  • KIA Investment Research
    , contributor
    Comments (12821) | Send Message
     
    Hi Michael,

     

    Hardly.

     

    You have the Android QWERTYs http://tinyurl.com/m2z...
    and the Nokia QWERTYs http://tinyurl.com/mnx...
    7 Jan 2014, 07:38 PM Reply Like
  • sfinvestor
    , contributor
    Comments (1746) | Send Message
     
    I think it is naïve to think a business user will continue to use a qwerty keyboard like this is 2009. If your strategy is to focus on the qwerty, its pretty much the end of the road. qwerty is not the solution to anything and it's not like Q10, Q5 or the bold is lighting it up with their 500M in quarterly revenue and $235 average selling price.
    7 Jan 2014, 07:47 PM Reply Like
  • ELLAS
    , contributor
    Comments (2688) | Send Message
     
    Michael Bryant,
    You are correct in a sense. BlackBerry offers the BEST physical keyboard based phones on the planet. I've used the versions Nokia made, and some Android based versions, and they do not come close to the feel, elegance and style, ease of use, of a BlackBerry. Not even close.
    7 Jan 2014, 08:09 PM Reply Like
  • KIA Investment Research
    , contributor
    Comments (12821) | Send Message
     
    sfinvestor,

     

    Don't forget, they will be splitting these measly margins with Foxconn.

     

    PS. And in what way do these QWERTY phones fit into Prosumer?
    Again, very confusing and mixed messages from BlackBerry.
    7 Jan 2014, 08:20 PM Reply Like
  • ELLAS
    , contributor
    Comments (2688) | Send Message
     
    sfinvestor
    You bring up a valid point. Though there are still quite a large amount of customers which prefer BlackBerry qwerty based devices, I think BlackBerry's reasoning is somewhat flawed.

     

    QUOTE:
    "rather than touchscreen-only devices, where the company has seen limited success competing against the iPhone and Android hardware."

     

    Providing this quote comes directly from Mr. Chen, there was a reason why BB10 devices in general, which includes the Q10 and Q5, were not selling as well, due to circumstances such as terrible marketing, advertising, high device prices, and the ridiculous "For Sale" sign which further assisted in BB10 sales decline/returns.
    If the previous management crossed all the T's and dotted all the I's, then I would agree with Mr. Chen's reasoning to concentrate on the physical keyboard more than the full touch. In this case, I do not. But I am still fine with his desicion, so long as they continue the Z** family of full touch devices.
    7 Jan 2014, 08:21 PM Reply Like
  • LYogi
    , contributor
    Comments (3061) | Send Message
     
    I believe the first phone with Foxconn in April is slated to be a full touch device.

     

    The plan is to attract the emerging market with low cost devices and then monetize through BBM and BB World.

     

    BB10 is revolutionary and it is too early to declare it dead. When people learn that he new BB devices can run Android apps seamlessly and then my bet is that there will be surprising uptake.
    7 Jan 2014, 08:27 PM Reply Like
  • Cliff Hilton
    , contributor
    Comments (2597) | Send Message
     
    @Mr. Knowitall,

     

    We all know that Blackberry plans to make next to nothing on phones.

     

    Say, I remember you sharing in another post that you would re-enter a short position when Blackberry hit $8,...so did ya? I would advise to cancel those plans.

     

    PS. Glad to see you back in the space. Good luck with the trades!!
    7 Jan 2014, 09:56 PM Reply Like
  • KIA Investment Research
    , contributor
    Comments (12821) | Send Message
     
    Hi Cliff,

     

    Yes, I went long Sept puts with about an $8 strike.
    To my thinking nothing other than management has changed.
    While previous management made some blunders (over producing devices, poor marketing) the real failing of BlackBerry was the product itself.

     

    Without a major rebirth of BlackBerry product, I remain very bearish.
    8 Jan 2014, 02:47 PM Reply Like
  • DeepValueLover
    , contributor
    Comments (10929) | Send Message
     
    I predict BBRY will be earning $1.25 per share by 2016.
    7 Jan 2014, 07:42 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Bryant
    , contributor
    Comments (6502) | Send Message
     
    Care to share why?
    7 Jan 2014, 08:34 PM Reply Like
  • DeepValueLover
    , contributor
    Comments (10929) | Send Message
     
    Selling off of assets. Rightsizing staff. Improving comps.

     

    But mostly no longer trying to compete with Apple and Samsung for teenager and college kid mindshare.

     

    A laser sharp focus on secure messaging services for enterprises (ala IBM and large scale data services) bodes well for increased gross margins and decreased capital expenditures going forward.
    7 Jan 2014, 08:43 PM Reply Like
  • Redrut
    , contributor
    Comments (1725) | Send Message
     
    I predict it will actually be earning $0.83126 per share by 2016 precisely
    8 Jan 2014, 03:12 AM Reply Like
  • ELLAS
    , contributor
    Comments (2688) | Send Message
     
    What this tells me is they will concentrate on physical qwerty devices for the time being. Though they will still cater to us full screen phone customers, but perhaps with limited models.

     

    I am fine with this, they need to start building the BBRY brand again and so long as they continue the Z10, Z30 and future Z50 family with the Z70, and perhaps the Z90. I plan on upgrading my Z30 eventually to the newer full touch. Until then I will enjoy the best phone on the planet, the Z30.
    7 Jan 2014, 08:07 PM Reply Like
  • Randal James
    , contributor
    Comments (4393) | Send Message
     
    Behold! BlackBerry's famous keyboard is hereby deemed to be toast. Hail the mighty Norseboard!

     

    http://bit.ly/1dQmbjf
    7 Jan 2014, 08:23 PM Reply Like
  • Cliff Hilton
    , contributor
    Comments (2597) | Send Message
     
    @Randal James,

     

    I loved those first renderings of the famous Blackberry Bold...:)

     

    Not too late to make it into a bWatch!
    7 Jan 2014, 09:50 PM Reply Like
  • JoFergus
    , contributor
    Comments (47) | Send Message
     
    A few thoughts about focusing on physical keyboards...
    and why this plants tiny seeds of personal doubt about BB's ability to innovate.

     

    The predictive text capabilities in BB10 is an under-promoted feature, that has yet to achieve the full impact of both its technical and market potential. There's so much more room to grow with a soft keyboard when it comes to innovating the user experience.

     

    IMO: Using predictive text with a hard keyboard is a kludge that actually requires additional long movements, and slows down the natural typing process.
    The user decides if it's a worthwhile tradeoff, of course.

     

    Physical keyboards force the learning of ALT- key sequences to add more functions to permanently labeled/printed buttons...a Display simply shows direct access to new/future functions.

     

    The device "real-estate" taken up by an array of (rather inflexible) dedicated switches severely limits the amount of (infinitely flexible) screen space. It also limits the screen size/aspect ratio into a range that doesn't properly support standard (and future) video formats.

     

    The physical keyboard's only advantage is familiarity and tactic feedback. The tactile aspect can be alieved with some haptic feedback (quick/sharp vibrations, sound and visuals). This doesn't come close to outweighing the benefits of a display keyboard....IMO

     

    I think that BB is losing a key differentiator by not improving it's already industry leading display keys, in favour of sticking with its traditional array of hard switches.

     

    Why not just put a qwerty on a slider and leave the screenspace alone!?!
    7 Jan 2014, 08:33 PM Reply Like
  • LYogi
    , contributor
    Comments (3061) | Send Message
     
    My thoughts exactly. The predictive virtual keyboard is incredible. It learns as you use it sothat I when I start to enter the first few letters of an email address it predicts the complete address and then it is one flick. Done.

     

    That and the wonderful ability to swipe left to erase a word. Love that.

     

    Lot of people have been requesting a slider. We'll see one in 2014 is my guess.
    7 Jan 2014, 09:22 PM Reply Like
  • mapshop1@optonline.net
    , contributor
    Comments (299) | Send Message
     
    More on physical keyboards. Pure speculation.

     

    It seems to me there was no reason for Chen to make such assertive statements about device plans at this time and in this setting. Why make them? It seems kind of uncharacteristic of him. Is it simple coincidence that they were made days after the Typo suit was filed? Could they have been made to emphasize a heightened future economic importance of the physical keyboard for the company which could have a bearing on damages calculations in the suit?
    7 Jan 2014, 10:36 PM Reply Like
  • JoFergus
    , contributor
    Comments (47) | Send Message
     
    Good alt-perspective.
    Hope you're right ;-)
    7 Jan 2014, 11:59 PM Reply Like
  • tech01x
    , contributor
    Comments (1085) | Send Message
     
    Longs, enjoy this move up while it lasts. I'll be looking for a new entry point to build a short position. I'm not currently holding any BBRY position after selling out my last puts at $6.40.

     

    After listening to the Mr. Chen on Bloomberg Radio the other day, it is clear that the man on top does not really have a vision into the future. The current product portfolio won't be sufficient to do anything but eke out a meager existence. And Mr. Chen admitted that they are getting peanuts for BBM and expect to get pretty much nothing into the future. If as an investor, you are ok with Blackberry selling old devices with physical keyboards to 3rd world nations as their primary product mix, then good luck with that. So far it is clear that they do not have the software chops nor the technological vision to execute a turnaround. But, like DEC a while ago, it will take a while for BBRY to get chopped up and sold off.
    8 Jan 2014, 01:20 AM Reply Like
  • Arduino_RaspberryPi
    , contributor
    Comments (376) | Send Message
     
    Good thing you sold those puts.
    8 Jan 2014, 09:23 AM Reply Like
  • 10553331
    , contributor
    Comments (114) | Send Message
     
    Funny. The market seems to think the opposite.
    Foxconn is a test situation. Keep the name going in Emerging Markets and see if Foxconn can make a good phone design. If that works, Foxconn will make higher end devices for the enterprise. BB isn't looking to compete with Apple or android in the consumer market. It can't as is finally wise to see that. That doesn't mean that 2 years from now, corporate acceptance plus a functioning and popular BBM won't translate into consumer sales. You quickly forget how kids pick up trends and make them their own. My kid was on BBM long before I had ever heard of it many years ago. She and her friends went to study in Europe this month and they all put BBM on their phones because it seems to be having a revival and is a nicer app than What's APP.
    A plan is afoot. Positivity goes a long way too. The negative comments in light of positive developments seem a bit tawdry!
    8 Jan 2014, 03:26 PM Reply Like
  • KIA Investment Research
    , contributor
    Comments (12821) | Send Message
     
    Good post tech01x, I share those thoughts.
    I entered at $8.

     

    Long Sept 14 puts $8 strike
    8 Jan 2014, 03:50 PM Reply Like
  • tech01x
    , contributor
    Comments (1085) | Send Message
     
    My puts were to play the short term bet that the buyout rumors were false.

     

    While I believe that it is far more likely that Blackberry won't survive in the long term, that doesn't mean BBRY won't have a lot of gyrations that will provide plenty of volatility.
    9 Jan 2014, 03:22 AM Reply Like
  • Arduino_RaspberryPi
    , contributor
    Comments (376) | Send Message
     
    This BlackBerry rally is going to pop short seller margins like a cheese eating highschooler's zit. Great to see the company will survive and thrive.
    8 Jan 2014, 09:20 AM Reply Like
  • Loon-a-tick
    , contributor
    Comments (1928) | Send Message
     
    I think we are going to see Watsa get his 10$ shares way earlier than expected. I don't think some minor dilution is going to be a cause for concern.
    Must be some short covering. I would be nervous at this point if I was short. Although if it is just big institutions on both sides of the trade "Who Cares!"
    8 Jan 2014, 09:40 AM Reply Like
  • contrarianwise
    , contributor
    Comments (1297) | Send Message
     
    I think Blackberry is misnamed--it has more than one berry--all those assets are blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, boysenberries etc etc twitter berries, face book berries etc etc etc
    no wonder it is hard to evaluate!
    8 Jan 2014, 12:41 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Bryant
    , contributor
    Comments (6502) | Send Message
     
    So should it go back to Research in Motion (RIMM)?
    8 Jan 2014, 02:53 PM Reply Like
  • Randal James
    , contributor
    Comments (4393) | Send Message
     
    dingle...
    8 Jan 2014, 03:57 PM Reply Like
  • KIA Investment Research
    , contributor
    Comments (12821) | Send Message
     
    How about:

     

    Strategy In Motion
    Organization In Motion
    Approach In Motion
    or maybe..
    Design In Motion (DIM) ;-)
    8 Jan 2014, 05:22 PM Reply Like
  • customize
    , contributor
    Comments (180) | Send Message
     
    whatever motion it is, it's all registered under RIM! I enjoyed reading all of you guys comments, It is a very good day today.
    10 Jan 2014, 05:28 PM Reply Like
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