Is BlackBerry Gaining More Firepower?
BlackBerry has been slumping for a long time, since the advent of Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android-powered devices and Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone. The January launch of BlackBerry 10 — or BB10 — gave the company hopes that it could turn around years of decline, but the actual results appear to be unsatisfactory thus far.
BlackBerry smartphone sales fell at a rate ranging from 26 to 51 percent year-on-year for the last 5 quarters. Additionally, the company’s smartphone sales have not exceeded 8 million units since March 2012, and numbers have subsequently fallen steadily from quarter to quarter.
BlackBerry also has tablets on the market, called PlayBooks, which have seen severely limited sales — failing to exceed even a million units. The company sold 370,000 of the devices in its most recent quarter, which ended last month, but that number was down from the 500,000 units it sold in the year-earlier quarter.
Part of the problem may come from a lack of variety in BlackBerry devices, as there is only one BB10 smartphone on the market and not a wide range of PlayBooks. But, the leaked road map points to a turnaround in that regard…
It’s already clear that BlackBerry is planning to launch another smartphone for its BB10 operating system — this time with a keyboard, not just a touchscreen — but it seems that the company may be planning to increase the tablet offerings to include a widescreen option, and even some of the smaller form factor devices — now often referred to as phablets. One of the phablets may even include a built in keyboard, which would be a unique feature in the tablet market.
Perhaps most the most important event revealed by the road map, is that some of these devices are scheduled to launch within the current calendar year, which could give BlackBerry a boost. Too much more sliding would be bad for BlackBerry, as it’s already slid from market dominance to the market margins. While a strong and quick pick-me-up might not be in the cards for BlackBerry, a little extra firepower could help stave off further declines for the company.
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