Ever since the Q10 started selling across a few markets, we’ve seen strong positive reports about the launch. We’ve heard that BlackBerry is manufacturing 3 Q10s for every Z10 right now, and this metric was also reported by Bluefin in their report from last week.
Not too long ago I wrote a quick editorial about the comment Thorsten Heins made to Bloomberg regarding his expectation to sell tens of millions of Q10s. I think it’s good for the stock price in the near term, meaning over the next couple of quarters. But a few people have emailed me privately asking if this means BlackBerry is back - as in really back and back to stay.
Good question. I prefer these types of discussions because a quarter or two on the stock market is for those who speculate, not for those who invest. I hate speculating on the short term, but in the case of the Q10, it seemed too important to ignore.
Longer term though? I think if the Q10 gets Bold and Curve users to upgrade and stick with the BlackBerry family, then the product becomes an uber-important catalyst to the sustainability of this company. Let’s face it - if the Q10 was to be a flop, and the vast majority of the 70+ million physical QWERTY BlackBerry users were to not adopt it (and not adopt the Z10), it would mean the death of this company. By definition, it would mean all of those subscribers are leaving the platform.
The company’s single most important job right now is to drive an upgrade cycle among existing users
Yes, BlackBerry needs to attract new users. But the company’s single most important job right now is to drive an upgrade cycle among existing users. If they can successfully do this they stem any potential subscriber bleeding for another couple of years. This buys them time to continue to develop the platform by adding important third party apps, adding features, building out momentum on their future vision of mobile computing, signing deals for things like NFC payments, and the list goes on. With the executive team on hand in Orlando this week for the BlackBerry Live conference, hopefully we'll gain some insight into their progress and what's coming down the pipe next.
I hope that answers the question adequately. Yes, I think the Q10 is super important in the near term, and will be a big boost to financial results. But I also see it as a catalyst to stabilizing the company, giving them a real shot at returning to growth. Nothing is in the bag yet. There’s lots of risk. But the Q10 seems like the steroid shot in the arm they needed to stay in the race.