Recent reports suggest the launch of an additional version of the Blackberry 10 from mobile handset maker Blackberry (BBRY). On January 30th, the company announced the imminent launch of the new Z10 handset (the latest Blackberry with touch screen technology) into Canada and the U.K. and also that the Z10 would be available in the U.S. market in mid-March. On February 7th, the handset maker padded its new product pipeline by saying it will introduce its Q10 handset (its latest Blackberry handset with a physical or qwerty keyboard). Each new product announced is important for this manufacturer that has seen drastic sales and handset volume declines.
Blackberry’s revenues and handset volumes shipped have been under siege over the past couple of years as the has company faced more competition from Apple (AAPL) with new iPhone launches and Samsung with its line of Galaxy phones. The decline in revenues at Blackberry has been dramatic which is the reason that new product introductions are so important. BBRY has seen its handset revenue decline from over $4.4 billion in the first quarter of 2011 to just $1.6 billion in the most recent quarter in 2012. This has been a result of its handsets shipped going from over 14.8 million units to under 7.0 million units over the same time period.
While undoubtedly the new introduction of the new Blackberry 10 in two versions (the Z10 and the Q10) will move the units shipped number off of these lows, the timing and the geographic introduction will also be vitally important. In our article Why Asia Pacific is so important to AAPL, RIMM, and NOK, we outline that the Canadian and U.K. launches of these new products for BBRY likely won’t be that meaningful because of the modest size of Canada (just 1% of global mobile shipments) and the U.K. (just 3% of global mobile shipments). Hence, investors will have to wait until the U.S. introduction of the Blackberry Z10 in March and then the Q10 introduction in June or July. The U.S. market is 9% of the global mobile market, so this introduction will likely have a much bigger impact on Blackberry’s revenue and unit numbers.
While any incremental announcement from Blackberry will likely be met with investor optimism because sentiment has been so low, we point out that in order to claw back share taken from Apple, Samsung, and Nokia (NOK) these new product introductions will have to coincide with the appropriate market launches and likely BBRY investors won’t see a substantial improvement until the firm’s fiscal 1Q14 to be reported on June 27th. The firm’s new product pipeline however is headed in the right direction.