BlackBerry continues to try an make a significant turnaround in the business, which has significantly fallen out of favor since 2007 when iPhone began picking up steam. As the smartphone market evolved into an Apple vs. Google battleground, BlackBerry was left in the dust and still continues to struggle getting back on solid footing. The Canadian smartphone company has decided it will attack the low priced phone market, hoping to attract people who do not want to pay the hefty prices for iPhone and Galaxy. The new phone, BlackBerry Leap, will feature a touchscreen instead of its trademark physical keyboard. The smartphone has a starting price of $349 without a contract, compared to $400+ with the rivals. Shares of BlackBerry are down -11% year to date.
BlackBerry Leap free with new two year contract
The BlackBerry Leap is so far being released in Canada and will feature 25 hour battery life, 8 mega-pixel camera, touchscreen, and the phone is free for Canadians who sign a new two year contract agreement. However, phone can be bought for $349 without a contract as well. The BlackBerry Leap will be available through Canadian carriers such as Rogers, Telus, Bell, and Wind Mobile. This comes at a time when Kahn Brothers, who are famous for their value investing principles, recently increased their stake in BlackBerry to 2,359,528 shares worth $21 million.
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BlackBerry’s turnaround features a heavy focus on mobile security
BlackBerry continues to focus on niche markets, as management acknowledges the need to go after smaller markets such as the lower priced smartphone or emphasis on strong security for corporate clients. BlackBerry’s recent acquisition of WatchDox is a prime example of its focus on security. The file sharing security startup was acquired at end of April, in a deal worth $100-150 million. The official terms of the deal were never fully disclosed, but adding WatchDox to BlackBerry will help provide better corporate solutions for clients in both cloud solutions and handset solutions.
Overall, BlackBerry continues on its slow path back to profitability and as a formidable player in the space. BlackBerry continues to target consumers who prefer low priced options in the smartphone space. Additionally, BlackBerry has additionally put emphasis on corporate solutions such as cloud solutions and handsets, which feature higher security features than consumer solutions. BlackBerry still has a long way to go to escape its continued economic struggles.