One of the names most associated with the smartphone market is BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB). Long before we’d ever heard of the iPhone, the Canadian company’s handset had become a technology star, and was a particular favorite of businesspeople all over the world. But the increasing dominance of the iPhone, along with Samsung’s growing market prominence, has relegated the pioneer to very much a backseat role in recent years.
Nonetheless, BlackBerry hasn’t given up on the smartphone market just yet. Despite some serious financial problems and analyst speculation that its business model might have to change to make the company a supplier unless a serious buyout is in the cards, BlackBerry was resident at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. And the company was there to reveal a new flagship smartphone, the BlackBerry Q20.
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BlackBerry faced with huge mountain
The new CEO of BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB), John Chen, is certainly faced with a tough job. The beleaguered smartphone manufacturer has long been slated to disappear completely, or at the very least completely change its role in the market, and Chen must attempt to resurrect its fortunes in an incredibly competitive marketplace. Whereas once the BlackBerry name was the epitome of coolness and cutting edge tech, today it is another fruit-based company that rules the roost.
To cut into Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s core is surely too much for BlackBerry to hope for, but Chen has clearly decided that if BlackBerry is to gain a foothold in the smartphone market that following one of the oldest fundamentals in business is key. Ask your customers what they want, don’t tell them what they want.
Thus, when you observe the Q20 for the first time, there is one feature which immediately stands out. BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) has indicated a return to some of its classic devices by including a full QWERTY keyboard and buttons which resemble those in its most popular handsets. The decision to include a full keyboard has apparently been based on customer feedback, while the previous Q10 mobile also sold better than its touchscreen rival the Z10.
Chen was bullish on the hopes of the company in Spain. He stated that he believed he can steer them from a $4.4 billion quarterly loss to breaking even within a year. In order to do this, BlackBerry has clearly produced a smartphone which will appeal to the corporate sector, but Chen also hinted at the company releasing more devices in the near future, so perhaps the company will be unveiling a more consumer-focused smartphone as well.
Foxconn deal key to BlackBerry future
Signing a deal with the East Asian construction company Foxconn Technology Co., Ltd. (TPE:2354) (OTCMKTS:FXCOF) will be essential to the fortunes of BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) going forward. Whether or not one approves of the conduct of this company, the fact remains that they have a huge experience in constructing technology and filling orders, and for BlackBerry to secure an agreement with them is something of a coup. The Q20 looks to be a device based on solid foundations in terms of attempting to secure a market demographic, and it does sound as if BlackBerry has been listening to its customers.
Many people have a fondness for BlackBerry and its products. Now the company needs to get some of these people to buy them.