This week, BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB)(NASDAQ:BBRY), along with its hardware partner, announced an intriguing new device called the Motion at GITEX Technology Week in Dubai.
The BlackBerry Motion could hardly be described as a typical BlackBerry device. The devices sports a massive 5.5-inch screen and finally does away with the physical keyboard that was both loved and hated by users. The Motion is also water and dust proof, mirroring what has become common among hardware manufacturers.
That large screen is complemented by an even larger battery, which comes in with a capacity of 4,000 mAh. BlackBerry is known for its devices having incredible battery life, so the fact that this device has a battery that is larger than the current complement of flagship devices on the market is intriguing to say the least.
The device also comes with four GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, and an HD display, which are several often-cited criticisms relating to former BlackBerry-branded devices.
The Motion is set to start rolling out to selective markets outside North America first with a price point of nearly US$460.
Does this release even matter to BlackBerry?
The simple answer to this question is both yes and no.
BlackBerry is no longer a hardware-first company. Had the company released this device or one like it several years ago, BlackBerry would have poured in significant cost and time into the development that would have been better directed at increasing enterprise sales or expanding further into the IoT market.
This is the sheer brilliance of the various hardware partner agreements that BlackBerry has set up. While the hardware partner (TCL Communications, in the case of the new Motion) can forge ahead with new devices and technologies that consumers want, BlackBerry can stay focused on growing enterprise sales and advancing its suite of security-focused software and services.
Is BlackBerry a good investment?
Long-time investors familiar with the epic collapse of BlackBerry years ago have long been conditioned to avoid investing in BlackBerry, but the truth is that this new BlackBerry shares only a name with that former company.
The new BlackBerry has a focus on both enterprise and security, which are two areas that the company continues to be a market leader. BlackBerry has also decoupled itself from the complexities of building hardware devices directly, which has resulted in an influx of innovation and devices from partners.
In terms of results, BlackBerry posted better-than-expected earnings a few weeks ago and even increased the revenue forecast for the remainder of the fiscal year.
BlackBerry posted a profit of US$0.05 per share, beating the breakeven per-share figure in the same quarter last year. Revenue in the most recent quarter came in lower than last year, totaling US$249 million, but it was still higher than the last quarter, which came in at US$244 million. Net income for the quarter came in at US$19 million, or US$0.04 per share.
Analysts had largely expected BlackBerry to break even with revenues of just US$220 million.
In my opinion, BlackBerry remains an intriguing opportunity for long-term investors looking to diversify into a tech-company that holds plenty of potential. Long-time investors of the company that still recall and compare the performance of BlackBerry now against the company’s performance several years ago are doing an unfair comparison and do not see the true opportunity that BlackBerry poses for the future.