Blackberry Review Series : Market Realist

BlackBerry launches its Classic smartphone to attract enterprises

Market Realist

BlackBerry has been reduced to a niche smartphone player (Part 4 of 12)

(Continued from Part 3)

BlackBerry introduced the Classic smartphone with a physical keyboard

In the previous part of this series, we discussed why BlackBerry (BBRY) couldn’t reap the benefits of the Passport’s successful launch last quarter. BlackBerry introduced another important smartphone last month—the Classic. As the name suggests, the Classic takes brings back old BlackBerry features along with the re-introduction of the physical keyboard.

After the launch of the BlackBerry 10 operating system in 2013, the company had stopped introducing smartphones with physical keyboards and launched touch-screen phones only. BlackBerry may have changed this strategy due to the increasing popularity of Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone and other touch-screen smartphones introduced by Samsung (SSNLF), Sony (SNE), and Lenovo (LNVGY). However, BlackBerry quickly realized that it can’t compete in this market—and it’s better that it focuses on what it had been doing best, which is catering to enterprise professionals’ productivity needs.

Enterprise customers have remained die-hard fans of BlackBerry’s smartphones due to their physical keyboard. The physical keyboard provides ease of use for working professionals—especially for writing emails and taking calls—which is why BlackBerry listened to their demands and brought back this feature.

BlackBerry introduced superior features in the Classic

The Classic has better specifications that its predecessor, the Bold 9900 smartphone. The Classic’s screen size is larger than the Bold’s at 3.5 inches, although much smaller than the 5.5-inch Apple iPhone 6 Plus screen size. It has a dual core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm (QCOM) Snapdragon processoralong with 2 GB of RAM. The above chart shows the difference between the Classic and the Bold 9900, which makes the Classic a superior smartphone to the Bold in terms of specifications.

Continue to Part 5

Browse this series on Market Realist:

Blackberry Reports : Why the BlackBerry Classic is critical to the new BlackBerry CNET Review

BlackBerry (BBRY) shares were sharply lower in early trading. The struggling smartphone maker reported a surprise profit in the third quarter, but a big miss on revenue. Sales were down more than 33% from a year earlier.

TORONTO, Dec 19 (Reuters) – BlackBerry Ltd on Friday reported a small adjusted third-quarter profit and returned to positive cash flow, but shares fell as revenue declined more than expected.

Revenue fell to $793 million from $1.19 billion a year earlier, falling short of expectations. Analysts expected $931.5 million.

BlackBerry’s Nasdaq-listed shares fell 5.6 percent to $9.50 in premarket trading.

Cash flow was positive $43 million in the third quarter, while the company had negative cash flow of $36 million in the second quarter. BlackBerry had said it was targeting break-even cash flow by the end of the fiscal year in February 2015.

  • Cowen (Market Perform) likes BlackBerry’s margin improvement and BES license growth – ahead of the BES12 launch, BES10 licenses roughly doubled Q/Q to 6.8M, aided by the EZ Pass migration program (to be ended soon). “Software growth remains the critical driver of the long-term turnaround.”
  • S&P (Hold): “We are encouraged by a return to positive cash flow, reflecting margin improvement from cost cutting efforts. We see BBRY growing its mobile device management business … We anticipate BBRY focusing on growing its software offerings and expect its hardware business to remain at depressed levels.” MDM software rival MobileIron (MOBL +6.6%) is up strongly.

Colin Gillis, tech analyst at BGC Partners in New York, said BlackBerry Chief Executive Officer John Chen did a good job controlling expenses to boost the company’s cash pile.

“The fact that he overachieved by turning cash flow positive this quarter. That’s a great milestone,” said Gillis. “It gets easier from here.”

Excluding, a one-time non-cash debenture charge and restructuring charges, the company reported a profit of 1 cent a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S expected a loss of 5 cents.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company reported a net loss of $148 million, or 28 cents a share, in the quarter ended Nov. 29. That compared with a year-earlier loss of $4.4 billion, or $8.37 a share.

BlackBerry launched its long-awaited Classic smartphone on Wednesday, hoping to help win back market share and woo customers still using older versions of its physical keyboard devices. The phone resembles its once wildly popular Bold and Curve handsets.

Hint: It’s not about smartphone sales volume or market share.

The BlackBerry Classic, as its name implies, is a throwback to the company’s glory days. But the smartphone plays an important role in BlackBerry’s future.
BlackBerry hopes the Classic will drive interest and adoption of the company’s services and software.
Josh Miller/CNET
Wednesday’s BlackBerry Classic event kicked off like most other phone launches: a video played to hype up the BlackBerry name, CEO John Chen made a few remarks and then pulled out the Classic for a photo opportunity. But as the presentation went on, it was clear whom the company was targeting: the IT guy working in a highly regulated business.

The conversation dashed past the typical walkthrough of the Classic’s features, with a healthy chunk of time spent on the phone’s enterprise software capabilities. Guests touting the business possibilities included chief information officer for Citco Fund Services, the founder of Niederhoffer Capital Management and the chief operating officer of Ontario-based Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital.

It’s a far cry from Alicia Keys, the pop music sensation BlackBerry once played up as its “global creative director.”

CNET review: BlackBerry Classic – great keyboard, cramped screen

The change in tactic is part of BlackBerry and Chen’s attempt to transform the company from a device maker into one more reliant on software and services. Services such as BlackBerry Messenger and its mobile device management platform, BES 12, are the future, but the company still needs BlackBerry phones to keep it in the mobile game — and generating revenue.

“They need devices to underpin the core value propositions,” said Charles Golvin, an analyst at Abelian Research.

A familiar face

The BlackBerry Classic takes its design cues from the BlackBerry Bold franchise — the last flagship BlackBerry line that resonated with consumers. With its familiar trademark keyboard, it serves as a bridge for diehard BlackBerry users still typing away on their old Bold and Curve phones and gives them a reason to upgrade to the new BlackBerry 10 operating system.

While the smartphone was clearly designed to cater to BlackBerry’s existing base, the company hopes to attract new users, touting the physical keyboard, messaging hub and longer battery life as attractive characteristics.

“I invite a lot of people who haven’t used BlackBerrys before to have a try at it,” Chen said. “I think you’ll like it and be surprised by it.”
But with a new generation of users weaned on touch-screen iPhones and Android devices, it’s unlikely that many will take a chance on a platform that still lags behind on games and other personal apps.

“We shouldn’t delude ourselves into thinking they will go after a broad appeal,” Golvin said. He added the only potential customer growth could come from attracting former BlackBerry users into switching back.

“It’s wishful thinking,” said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis.

Interest in BlackBerrys has waned over the years. Over the past five years, it went from a peak of a fifth of the market in 2009 to just below 1 percent in the third quarter, according to Gartner.

A quiet launch?

But BlackBerry isn’t competing anymore in the mainstream smartphone market, a rough-and-tumble arena where Apple’s iPhone reigns supreme and rivals such as HTC’s One M8, LG’s G3 and Samsung’s Galaxy S5 battle for second place. While Chen has said his goal was to run a profitable smartphone business, that doesn’t necessarily equate to huge volumes.

Just look at the BlackBerry Passport. The smartphone was launched with much fanfare in September, but aside from early preorder numbers, it has largely faded. AT&T, which vowed to carry the smartphone, won’t carry it until next year. Analysts regard the Passport as more of a novelty.


Given the demand from hardcore BlackBerry users, the Classic may get different treatment. But Chen declined to comment on whether AT&T and Verizon Wireless would provide marketing support for the Classic, which launches in the quieter post-holiday period in January. BlackBerry is taking orders for the Classic now on its own website, selling a version compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile for an off-contract price of $449. AT&T and Verizon haven’t provided specific availability and pricing.

Regardless, the BlackBerry devices play an important role. They remain a major financial pillar, making up 46 percent of the company’s revenue in the fiscal second quarter. The company reports its third-quarter results on Friday.

More critical is the role the phones will play in convincing big businesses to switch to BlackBerry services, according to 451 Research analyst Chris Hazelton. While BES12 is able to manage multiple mobile devices, including iPhones and Android smartphones, the BlackBerry Classic gives the companies reason to upgrade their systems.

BlackBerry is offering the Classic with different enterprise and security bundles, an example of how it hopes to make money off of its security aspect. It’s a sweet spot that Chen, who boasts a strong history with enterprise software companies, wants to get the company moving toward.

“It is very much enterprise focused at this point, and that’s absolutely the future of the company, which I think is a good thing,” said Jan Dawson, an analyst at Jackdaw Research.

Chen also has a more ambitious vision for devices, which goes beyond smartphones. “It’s also the precursor for the whole [Internet of things] market,” he said. “I don’t look at devices as just a phone business. I look at it as much broader downstream.”

Blackberry Launches The Classic – earns a ” BUY” rating

BlackBerry today announced the BlackBerry Classic, making official the smartphone that CEO John Chen has teased for the better part of a year. The Classic has a throwback look, as its name alludes, with a full QWERTY physical keyboard, physical navigation keys, and a nearly indistinguishable design from BlackBerry smartphones from years ago, such as the Bold. The Classic is significantly smaller than the Passport, which BlackBerry launched earlier this year, and is actually possible to use in one hand, unlike the gargantuan Passport. BlackBerry says this phone will appeal to those looking for the traditional BlackBerry experience that made those devices so popular so many years ago.

The Classic has a square, 720 x 720 pixel, 3.5-inch touchscreen perched above the keyboard and navigation keys. It’s a bit smaller than the 4.5-inch screen on the Passport, and much smaller than the average smartphone’s display, but it makes it possible to use the Classic in one hand and still have the physical QWERTY keyboard. The phone is powered by an aging dual-core Qualcomm processor from 2012 paired with 2GB of RAM. That likely won’t cut it for modern mobile gaming, but it should be fine for plowing through thousands of emails a day, which is what BlackBerry expects Classic users to do. There’s an 8-megapixel camera on the back of the phone, with a 2-megapixel unit on the front.

The Classic runs BlackBerry 10, which offers productivity tools like the Hub, Assistant, and Blend. It also can run Android apps, which are accessible through the Amazon Appstore that’s preloaded on the device. BlackBerry diehards will be happy to know that the BrickBreaker game is also available on the Classic and can be played like it was on older BlackBerry smartphones.


Appropriately, BlackBerry announced the Classic in the heart of New York’s Financial District, an area of the country where BlackBerry smartphones are still a fairly common sight.  Perhaps even more so than the Passport, the Classic isn’t a device that’s going to appeal to the mainstream smartphone consumer, but rather it’s for people who like BlackBerry devices and aren’t looking to browse the web or play a lot of games on their phones. BlackBerry hasn’t been on the minds of consumers for years, so now the company is doubling down on its core business users, and the Classic looks like the strongest play for that field yet.

BlackBerry Classic

BlackBerry says the Classic is available starting today “through local carriers around the world”, though it doesn’t seem like any US carriers are offering the device. The Classic is also available unlocked through BlackBerry and Amazon’s online stores for $449.

Before the morning’s proceedings got underway, BGC Partners‘s Colin Gillis raised his rating on the stock to Buy from Hold, and raised his target to $12.50 from $11, citing a positive track record built up by Chen since he took over last year, and that sales of another device, the square-shaped “Passport,” seem to have gone well, and that the company could be at break-even on a cash flow basis when it reports fiscal Q3 results this Friday morning:

While we view the company is in the early stage of turning the business around, management has built up a track record of credibility with investors over the last year by quickly reducing costs and preserving cash, focusing on its core strengths of security and physical keyboards, successfully launching new products, and forming strategic partnerships to fill the gaps […] Sales of the Passport phone could be a source of upside in the quarter even though the company had a limited initial production run that effectively sold out. We expect sales of the Passport phone to provide $270 million in revenue with 450K units sold at an average price of $600 USD. This is 52% of our $518 million hardware revenue estimate, and we expect that the Passport should have a positive impact on overall average selling prices. We mention the phone has been well received in its target market, with 444 5-star reviews out of the 508 total on Amazon for an overall 4.8 rating. We expect the Passport to have a positive margin contribution […] The company is launching its classic phone today, continuing its emphasis on serving its core customer base by highlighting a physical keyboard […] Our view is that BES 12 and the Blackberry sales force need to turn free trial customers into revenue in order to sustain our current positive outlook […] The company is nearing the target date to turn cash flow break even before the end of the fiscal year, and it is possible the company achieves this milestone when it reports on Friday December 16th premarket if there is upside results driven by Passport […] The final reason for our upgrade is that the company has a market capitalization of $5 billion, and any modest level of success in the market can have a meaningful reflection in its current revenues, cash flows, earnings and share price. The nature of a company turning itself around is one of volatility, but the current path for Blackberry is clear and may prove profitable. Our downgrade was based on the thesis that the market may provide a better entry point- that thesis has materialized and now we are raising our rating back to BUY.

Disclosure : Jack A. Bass Managed Accounts hold long positions in BBRY

Apple Shakes Doubters as Stock Surge Greets IPhones Blackberry To Benefit

AAPL:US98.36-0.61 -0.62%

Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s prospects seem a lot brighter than they were the last time Tim Cook introduced an iPhone.

When Chief Executive Officer Cook unveiled two new smartphone models 12 months ago, Apple’s stock was slumping and the company was losing market share to Samsung Electronics Co. and low-cost manufacturers such as Xiaomi Corp. Questions abounded about whether Apple could keep innovating without co-founder Steve Jobs.

Fast forward to a year later and the company’s stock is flirting with a record high. Anticipation is building for the bigger-screen iPhones, a wearable device and a mobile-payments system that people with knowledge of the matter have said Apple is set to announce today. Even the recent stolen pictures of naked celebrities such as Kate Upton from Apple’s iCloud service have done little to derail investor enthusiasm.

Driving the change are shifts in the smartphone industry and how investors have come to accept that Cook is firmly in charge of Apple. Rival Samsung (005930) is losing momentum as its multiple-device strategy to please all people at all prices is stalling, making Apple’s decision to stick just with high-end phones look smart. Cook is also set to give investors what they’ve been seeking: a new category of products, and larger-screen devices that consumers have been craving.


They’re on top of the world,” said Tim Bajarin, an analyst at Creative Strategies Inc. “The No. 1 difference between last year and this year is the fact that Wall Street and even the customers have embraced the fact that this is Tim’s company — he’s proven that he not only can pick up the mantle of Steve Jobs but advance it.”

Even Cook’s venue choice for tomorrow’s event is symbolic, Bajarin said. Apple will reveal its latest gadgets near its Cupertino, California-based headquarters at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts. That’s where Jobs introduced the Macintosh computer in 1984 and the iMac in 1998, both of which triggered growth spurts at the company.

Cook still has a lot to do to maintain Apple’s growth streak. The wearable device, which may include features for tracking health and fitness activity, along with a push into mobile payments, will test Apple’s ability to integrate hardware and software to make the products easy to use. Competition against deep-pocketed Samsung remains stiff in smartphones and other mobile devices.

Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman at Apple, declined to comment.

Bigger IPhones

Apart from investors, software developers are also optimistic about Apple’s prospects. Mark Kawano, CEO and co-founder of Storehouse Media Inc., said he’s looking forward to iPhones with larger screens, a better camera and an operating system that will likely let his company’s storytelling application be better utilized.

“More and more, the iPhone is just getting better and better at things that a traditional computer used to be good at,” he said. “Those things are what we are really well positioned for.”

Apple’s perceived renaissance dates back to earlier this year. At the end of 2013, Samsung, with its panoply of multipriced Galaxy devices running on Google Inc.’s Android operating systems, loomed large. The Suwon, South Korea-based company’s share of the global smartphone market had surged to 31 percent, while Apple held about 15 percent, according to researcher IDC.

Facing Critics

Apple, meanwhile, faced criticism from analysts and investors for holding to a single phone style and high prices. Its then-new iPhone 5s started at $199 with a wireless contract and the less-expensive iPhone 5c was offered at $99 with a contract. The unsubsidized iPhone 5c was priced at $549 in the U.S. and 4,488 yuan ($733) in China while Xiaomi’s handset cost 1,999 yuan and Lenovo Group Ltd.’s flagship K900 IdeaPhone sold for 3,299 yuan.

“There was speculation in the tech media that the 5cs were going to be the low-price phones, so when they came out and the pricing didn’t really address the broader emerging markets that wanted cheaper phones, that obviously led to some level of disappointment and sell off,” Walter Piecyk, an analyst at BTIG LLC in New York, said.

Samsung Slowdown

Yet Samsung — instead of ratcheting up its revenue at Apple’s expense — began facing slowing sales growth as it got squeezed by competitors such as Xiaomi on the low end and Apple on the high end. Samsung’s global smartphone market share slid to 25 percent in the second quarter from 32 percent a year earlier, according to IDC. In July, Samsung reported sales and profit that missed analysts’ estimates.

“The loss of momentum at Samsung creates an unforeseen buffer globally — and is timed perfectly into a launch of larger screened phones with the potential to even get customers to switch back to Apple,” Ben Reitzes, an analyst at Barclays, wrote in a July note to investors.

By contrast, Apple steadily reported increasing year-over-year iPhone sales that topped analysts’ estimates. The new handsets “primarily” fueled Apple’s 12 percent sales gain by unit during the first three quarters of the company’s 2014 fiscal year, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Best Ever

At the same time, Apple executives began a drumbeat to raise anticipation for new products. In May, Eddy Cue, head of iTunes, said products to be introduced later this year are the the best pipeline Apple has had in 25 years. In July, Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri echoed that by saying he was “expecting a very busy fall.” Cook chimed in and said the company has an “incredible pipeline” that “we can’t wait to show you.”

Cook has appealed to investors in other ways as well. In April, Apple said it would expand its shareholder payout program, increasing its share repurchase authorization to $90 billion from $60 billion and announcing a 7-for-1 stock split, as well as a bigger dividend. The company’s stock surged in the aftermath of the announcements.

The CEO has also shown he’s serious this year about boosting growth through acquisitions. In May, Apple agreed to pay $3 billion to buy headphones and streaming-music service Beats Electronics LLC, the company’s biggest-ever purchase.

By the end of trading yesterday, Apple’s stock was up 38 percent from a year ago, ending the day at $98.36. Shares are up 23 percent so far this year, exceeding the 8.3 percent gain of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

There’s a new willingness by investors to see “the glass as half full rather than half empty,” Piecyk said. “They’ve earned more investor trust.”

Seeking Alpha says Blackberry To Benefit



  • Apple’s iPhone 6 is about to make the phablet form factor the dominant one for consumers.
  • While Apple’s first iPhone destroyed BlackBerry, this release will catalyze BlackBerry.
  • The BlackBerry Passport could become the dominant business phablet in the marketplace.
    • The BlackBerry Passport could become the dominant business phablet in the marketplace.Apple will have validated for the masses the value of a bigger screen, and BlackBerry will have the biggest screen around. And this time, BlackBerry won’t be competing with Apple for the consumer market. It will be re-entering familiar territory with familiar customers in mind: working professionals for whom productivity is paramount,

Apple is wholly unoriginal … and that’s okay ? Here Comes Sam(sung)

Apple is set to announce a handful of new products next week that you’ve already seen elsewhere. But when it comes to Apple, that’s not a problem.

Whether it’s larger phones, a smartwatch or a new mobile payments system — all of which are rumored to be announced next week — Apple will be following the lead of other companies that already have products on the market. That’s prompting renewed criticism that the company has lost its ability to innovate following the death of former CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs.

But even if Apple isn’t the first company to make these products, its track record indicates that it still has the opportunity to reap gains by executing them better than the competition.
“Apple is not usually first to market — they typically make an existing product much better and more usable,” said Amit Daryanani, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets.

Apple is widely expected to unveil a pair of larger iPhones next week measuring 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, up from four inches on the iPhone 5S.
Those larger phones will finally give Apple (AAPL, Tech30) some entries into the “phablet” market. That product category has been led in recent years by rival Samsung.
For Apple, the larger phones are low-hanging fruit. Customers spent over $10 billion in the company’s App Store last year, the bulk of that going to gaming apps. Bigger screens and faster processors on the new iPhones will make those games even more compelling.
As for smartwatches, Apple will be following on the heels of devices from companies like Samsung, LG and Motorola that sync with smartphones and offer features like directions and fitness tracking.
But the recent crop of smartwatches have underwhelmed reviewers and failed to present a compelling reason why they’re more convenient than simply taking your phone out of your pocket. If Apple can find a way to improve on those models — perhaps with more sophisticated health tracking or location awareness — consumers may finally have a reason to ditch their old Timexes en masse.
The opportunity is even bigger in mobile payments, where smartphone-based systems like Isis and Google (GOOGL, Tech30) Wallet have been around for years without catching on.

Apple has reportedly been working with major credit-card companies on an iPhone-based payment system. The company already has more than 800 million credit cards on file thanks to iTunes and App Store accounts, according to some estimates, giving it a massive ready customer base.
Add to that the security of the iPhone’s fingerprint identification system and Apple could finally push merchants and consumers to ditch plastic and move to smartphone-based transactions.
“To say that Apple is coming out with a product that already exists ignores the fact that there were MP3 players before the iPod and smartphones before the iPhone,” said Walter Piecyk, an analyst with BTIG. “Those products defined their categories

Having trouble with your iPhone 5 battery? You might be eligible for a free replacement.
Apple (AAPL, Tech30) said “a very small percentage” of iPhone 5 smartphones may “suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently.”

Don’t get too excited just yet. After a year or two, everyone’s iPhone battery seems to carry less juice than it once did. But Apple’s repair program is limited to certain customers in the United States and China.
Only iPhone 5 smartphones sold between September 2012 and January 2013 are eligible, and only those that fall within a certain range of serial numbers. Apple has opened a website that allows people to determine whether their phones are eligible. (To access your serial number, tap Settings > General > About > Serial Number).

Investors curbed their bets on Apple on Wednesday.

One possible reason: They got a reminder that the company won’t have a free run at the market this fall even with the release of the hotly anticipated iPhone 6 and supposed iWatch.

Apple’s shares fell 4.2%, having hit an all-time closing high of $103.30 on Tuesday. The drop coincided with rival Samsung’s event at the IFA show in Germany, where it previewed new versions of its Galaxy

Apple Inc. (AAPL)-Nasdaq
Prev Close: 103.30
Open: 103.20
Bid: 98.79 x 100
Ask: 98.82 x 100
1y Target Est: 106.83
Beta: 0.83
Earnings Date: Oct 27 – Oct 31 (Est.)
Day’s Range: 98.58 – 103.20
52wk Range: 63.89 – 103.74
Volume: 125,424,577
Avg Vol (3m): 49,884,300
Market Cap: 592.44B
P/E (ttm): 16.60
EPS (ttm): 5.96
Div & Yield: 1.88 (2.00%

iShares SouthKorea ETF (EWY : NYSE : US$65.27), Net Change: -0.13, % Change: -0.20%, Volume: 1,332,424
Arms race?

Samsung unveiled new versions of its Galaxy Note smartphone on Wednesday, featuring a crisper, 5.7-inch display edition version of the Note with a curved edge screen on one of the phone’s sides, helping users to stay focused on their main screen without having to respond to calendar reminders or incoming emails.

It also demonstrated a Virtual Reality headset that on version of the Note with a curved edge screen on one of the phone’s sides, helping users to stay focused on their main screen without having to respond to calendar reminders or incoming emails.

. The launch comes just less than a week before Apple’s September 9 event where Apple is expected to roll out a 4.7- and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 as well as a possible iWatch device. Last week, Samsung said it would begin selling a stand-alone wristwatch, the Samsung Gear S, which will be able to make and receive calls without having to be tethered to a smartphone. Apple is also expected to join forces with credit card companies to provide a mobile payment option for the iPhone 6 and iOS 8.

A Passport To Success For BlackBerry?

BlackBerry has sent out invites to three simultaneous events to be held in London, Toronto and Dubai on September 24 where it is expected to unveil the Passport, potentially its most innovative smartphone in the best part of a decade.

What makes it special is that BlackBerry has decided that the rectangular screen that is a standard feature on essentially all smartphones made by everyone from Apple to Samsung and beyond is actually a bad idea. It limits productivity and forces you to keep rotating a handset from portrait to landscape in order to accommodate different content

According to BlackBerry, academic research shows that the optimal number of characters on a line in a book is 66 characters. Because rectangular smartphones lack screen width, they can only manage 40 characters.

However, because the Passport has a perfectly square 4.5-inch high definition display, it can display 60 characters per line, making it great not just for reading e-books but for using spreadsheets and Instagram, and all without having to rotate the handset in order to fit elements on the screen.

As well as a square screen, the Passport has a physical keyboard so that the user’s fingers don’t obscure the display. But as well as being good for typing emails and messages, the keyboard is touch-sensitive, meaning that it can respond to swipes and taps too. So it becomes like a trackpad on a notebook allowing you to navigate around the screen without touching it.

Although the phone isn’t going to be officially revealed until the special September event, BlackBerry has been very open about the device and has been publishing new snippets of information about its capabilities over the past two months.

So as well as screen size and resolution, we know it is going to have a best-in-class battery life and offer sufficient security for use in finance and healthcare. In fact, all that still isn’t clear about the device is when exactly it will be in the shops and how much it will cost. Expect that to be revealed, along with the device, on September 24.

As such September is going to be a very busy month for premium smartphone launches. Sony, Samsung, Motorola and, of course, Apple will all be announcing new flagship handsets in the coming days.

DISCLOSURE : BBRY is the largest position in Jack A. Bass Managed Accounts

Shares of iPhone maker Apple fall after rival Samsung unveils new phones

by Irene Kuan

NEW YORK – Apple shares are getting bit by a rival.

The iPhone maker’s stock fell more than 3 per cent Wednesday after Samsung unveiled two new smartphones at a trade show in Berlin.

Samsung announced the Galaxy Note Edge phone, which has a side display for quicker access to Twitter, the flashlight, news and other apps. It also showed off a new Galaxy Note 4 phone and a virtual-reality headset for the phone called Gear VR to watch concerts or play games.

The Samsung unveiling comes less than a week before Apple is expected to reveal its new products, next Tuesday in Cuppertino, California. A larger iPhone, and possibly a computerized watch, are expected.

Apple’s stock drop comes a day after its shares hit an all-time high of $103.74. That same day, Apple said that the theft of private photos from celebrities was not because of a security breach of its iCloud system. Instead, hackers took user names and passwords for the accounts, Apple said Tuesday.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Shares of Apple Inc. fell $3.55 to $99.75 in afternoon trading, erasing more than $20 billion of its market value. The stock is still up more than 24 per cent so far this year


Apple : Delay Of Large iPhone I / Phablet Delay


A7 apple ipad air

 iPhone 6

Here’s Even More Evidence That Apple Plans To Use A Nearly Indestructible Sapphire Screen In The iPhone 6 Until yesterday, Samsung’s worst nightmare was coming true. Sales are down 10%, in large part because cheap Chinese Android knockoffs are cannibalizing the low-end of Samsung’s mobile phone shares. Apple’s sales are accelerating, while Samsung’s falter. And Samsung’s one advantage over Apple — the fact that it offers two large-screen phones in the high-end market where Apple has none — is about to be wiped out by Apple’s new iPhone 6 phablet, expected in September. And some consumers are likely holding off on buying large-screen phones as they wait to see what Apple will unveil in its fall launch. Samsung has cut its orders for parts for its Galaxy line in Q3 2014. In short, Apple had Samsung exactly where it wants it: Losing sales, poised to lose share, and with consumers hesitant about buying a new Samsung until they see what iPhone 6 looks like. But then last night we learned that Apple may not, after all, have a 5.5 inch version of the iPhone 6 ready to go. The 4.7-inch version is still coming, but the super-size iPhone 6 looks like it’s on hold. iPhone lineup next to Samsung’s products shows, a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 (which reportedly is ready for launch) is only a tad larger than the iPhone 5S. It’s significantly smaller than the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Note 3. If Apple only launches a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 in September, then Samsung will remain as the premier phablet maker for people who want large screens. Apple was poised to deliver a killer blow to Samsung. But now it seems Samsung has gotten a reprieve. The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 is delayed because it is turning out to be harder to manufacture due to touch sensitivity issues near the edge of the phone. The phablet iPhone 6 may not arrive until next year, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. That explains why, for months, we’ve been seeing leaked iPhone 6 parts for a 4.7-inch phone but not a 5.5-inch phone. This, basically, is the best news Samsung could have hoped to hear. It now has an extended window to persuade people who need to upgrade their phones that in fact, for maybe as much as the next six months, if you want a big phone you gotta go to Samsung — because Apple doesn’t have a really big phone. It would not be surprising if Samsung started lowering the price of its Galaxy and Note phones in order to mop up market share and lock new buyers into the Android system before the end of the year. Whether Apple cares about this is another issue. Some people believe the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 was not expected to be a large seller for Apple, in part because Apple buyers actually like smaller, more compact phones that can be used comfortably with one hand. One theory — espoused by BI’s own Jay Yarow — is that Apple does not even share customers with Samsung. Rather, there is a market for Apple products and there is a market for Android products. In the Apple market, Apple competes only with itself. In the Android market, it’s basically Samsung vs. 1,000 Android makers in Asia. If that’s true, then Apple has nothing to fear over the delay of the iPhone 5.5 inch. But if it isn’t true, then this might be Samsung’s last chance to prove that it’s a player in big-screen, high-end smartphones.   Apple’s 5.5-Inch ‘Phablet’ iPhone Won’t Debut This Fall

Previous reports had pegged two new phones — one 4.7-inch model and one 5.5-inch model — for launch in September, but Kuo says that Apple is having issues with the iPhone 6’s touch panel, as well as color uneveness on the metal casing.”These problems will likely be even more complicated with a larger size,” he said.AppleInsider’s Neil Hughes notes that Kuo has a “respectable track record” when it comes to Apple’s plans, though his word is still no guarantee. Kuo also said he doesn’t expect that the iPhone’s new, extra-durable sapphire glass front panel will “easily pass the drop test near term” for the 5.5-inch phone. If the phablet model does launch this year, Kuo believes it won’t happen until after mid-fourth quarter, later than the 4.7-inch iPhone 6.



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