Canadian smartphone maker Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) is expected to report Q1 earnings on Friday June 28. But the biggest buzz will not be around the actual profit/loss figures (these can be altered with one-time charges and other earnings changes), it will be around sales of BlackBerry’s new smartphones, the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10. Both sides of the BlackBerry battle are counting down to that date believing it will prove them correct in the setting of either a massive short squeeze or the planting of another nail in BlackBerry’s coffin.
Followers of Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) probably remember this story, specifically from the Q4 earnings reported on March 30. What was being hyped to be the tell all earnings that would show the acceptance level of the Z10 and launch either a sell-off or short squeeze was met with a rather muted response in terms of price change on the day. Conclusion: Not enough data since the Z10 had not had enough time since its release, let alone in the American market. Everyone seemed to pack up and agree that the next quarter would tell the story.
All the players are back now with bulls throwing around their numbers and bears throwing around theirs, all with enough conspiracy theories about manipulation to paint Wall Street as the next Area 51. But since the Q10 has only been released for a few months and is only just beginning to hit American shelves, it should be apparent that once again there is not enough data to conclusively determine the sales of the Q10. With the Q10 being considered the BlackBerry smartphone with higher expected demand, sales data that cannot paint a complete Q10 picture would not be satisfactory in determining BlackBerry’s future outlook.
Time for the echo chamber again
Just because the Q1 results will not give a clear picture of BlackBerry due to the omission of key sales data for the Q10, does not mean analysts will calmly take this in and wait until the next quarter. Undoubtedly, someone will compare Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s sales to those of Samsung’s phones powered by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android operating system. However this is a terrible benchmark comparison for BlackBerry. Sales of the Samsung Galaxy S4 alone have topped 10 million units and are expected to rise as high as 80 million. Clearly the Android operating system is popular and Samsung and Google have done a fine job in stealing market share from Apple, but expectations for BlackBerry are not nearly this high. If BlackBerry were to sell this many smartphones, its share price could easily rise into the triple digit range but not even the most bullish of analysts are expecting these figures from the company.