Verdict still out on Blackberry 10

@ 2013/03/28
What could be Blackberry's last hurrah has scored some wins but overall, an analyst at Ovum has warned, the quarter was not as big as it could have been.

There were several pretty jarring factors that kept the company pipped yet again to second spot on the fruity smartphone ladder. Ovum points out that the Z10 device had only been on sale for one month before the end of the quarter and didn't appear in the USA several weeks later.

There was considerable fanfare to see where Blackberry would go - and much of the mainstream coverage labelled the device as iPhone-esque.

The more traditional Q10, meanwhile, will not be available for some time in critical markets which means those interested in the Blackberry 10 OS will be waiting for it to appear before making the buy.

"Lastly,"chief telecom analyst at Ovum Jan Dawson pointed out in a statement, "devices have been supply constrained in the markets where they have launched, meaning that even if people wanted to buy them they haven't necessarily been able to do so".

Ovum warned that while spectators will be judging Blackberry 10 based on performance this quarter, it is worth holding on until next quarter's results which will be a more useful measure of the OS' successes or failures.

For all of CEO Thorsten Heins' bluster about rivals such as Apple being stuck in the past, the verdict is out for Blackberry.

"Given that context," Dawson said, "anything more than a million Z10 sales in the past quarter may be considered a success for Blackberry". Anything less, Dawson said, will be considered disappointing. It is also worth keeping an eye out for overall sales which "may have been depressed by would-be buyers waiting out the launch in their market".

Despite the advice, Dawson believes that past the end of this quarter, the US launch does seem to be low key. Carriers don't seem particularly interested in featuring the devices, and sales staff, Ovum claims, have been poorly briefed. Big carriers like AT&T have continued to focus their attention on devices like the iPhone, Androids and Windows Phone.

"AT&T strongly believes that it needs a third ecosystem beyond iPhone and Android," Dawson said, "but it clearly doesn't think Blackberry 10 is it".

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