The importance of the recently-launched BlackBerry 10 operating system to its maker is a well chronicled saga; if BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) ever wanted to regain a foothold in the smartphone market, its newly upgraded operating system was the vehicle with which to do it. But with reports of low shipments in both the United Kingdom and Canada — the only two markets where the company’s new phones are currently available — streaming on an almost daily basis, that possibility seems increasingly unlikely. Forbes has gone as far as to say that BlackBerry 10 “may have been an enormous, recording-breaking flop.”
The initial excitement that accompanied BlackBerry’s first product launch in close to 18 months has been hacked away by a series of analyst downgrades and the reports of extremely low sales. While shares still remain up 22 percent year-to-date, the stock drops on a weekly basis.
BlackBerry has not released sales figures of its own, but analysts have been examining the demand for the Z10 — the first of the company’s two redesigned phones to hit the market — through their own channel checks. And the results have been grim, the phone is clearly falling short of what BlackBerry had aspired to and what investors wanted.
A report authored by Canaccord Genuity analyst Mike Walkley on Tuesday gave a harsh assessment of the company’s sales. “Given our store surveys indicated modest Z10 sales into the channel in the U.K. and Canada, we have reduced our February quarter BB10 smartphone shipment estimates from 1.75M units to 300K units,” he wrote in the note seen by Barron’s.
But these comments are nothing new. Since the launch, many analysts have weighed on the phone’s prospects, and while some of the early reviews contained an air of optimism, more recent assessments have taken an increasingly a negative view…