Market Overview

Is BlackBerry Today's Palm?

Is BlackBerry Today's Palm?

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ: BBRY) is getting some attention this week after the company announced a new smartphone: the $275 Leap.

The mid-market handset features a five-inch display (1280 x 720 HD resolution with 294 PPI), 16GB of storage, 8MP camera, 25 hours of battery life and a MSM 8960 1.5 GHz processor from QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM). It also replaces the physical keyboard -- the thing some BlackBerry users want most -- with more screen real estate and a smaller, more compact design.

BlackBerry spent millions of dollars on a Super Bowl ad in 2013, hoping to gain a piece of the mainstream market that is dominated by Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iOS and Google Inc's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android. That strategy failed, so now the company is relying on niche marketing campaigns to propel the sales of future devices.

Related Link: Why Is This Analyst More Worried About Android Than BlackBerry?

The first Leap advertisement is BlackBerry's attempt to cash in on the trendy startup crowd. It could work, but not everyone is convinced that BlackBerry has a bright future.

"BlackBerry is today's Palm," Cody Willard, chairman of Scutify (a financial social network), told Benzinga. "Without developers coming to the BlackBerry ecosystem -- and, by the way, platform -- it's doomed! And it's been that way since Android and iPhone hit the market."

Is There Any Hope?

When asked what he would do as CEO of BlackBerry, Willard said that he would throw out everything they're doing, stop making BlackBerry devices and "figure out how to become some other kind of platform-oriented, ecosystem-driven company."

"I wouldn't take the job is really the short answer!" Willard added.

If he absolutely had to come up with some way for the company to persevere, Willard might push for an acquisition.

"Dell and BlackBerry get together," Willard theorized. "How about BlackBerry sells itself to Ford and Ford becomes an exclusive BlackBerry ecosystem partner."

In the end, he doesn't think any of these unorthodox ideas could work.

"It's all silly!" Willard concluded. "There's nothing they can do. They missed the window of opportunity. By 2010 it was over. I've said for six years now, BlackBerry is dead."

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

Posted-In: Cody Willard Palm ScutifyAnalyst Color Exclusives Analyst Ratings Tech Best of Benzinga


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