BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY) Carving Out New Niche as it Enters Crucial Stretch

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) launches the first of a new collection of smartphones tomorrow, a collection that will almost certainly shape the future of the company, and may even determine its continuing existence; or not. As reported by The Globe and Mail, it’s a crucial stage for the company, and one that will put their laborious restructuring efforts under CEO John Chen to the test.

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s Passport, which was announced yesterday as having a $599 price tag, is being discounted from what was described as a price tag that should be $700. All this in an effort to help it compete against the two big premium smartphones on the market, the Samsung Galaxy S5, and the newly launched Apple iPhone 6, which retail for $600 and $650 respectively (the 6 Plus, which has been pulling in about equal sales thus far as the 6, goes for $750).

While BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) has scant hope of making any major dent in the polycarbonate and aluminum armors of those smartphone behemoths, they do hope to nick at least a few customers from those devices with their emphasis on business IT and security. The Passport certainly looks the part of a non-mainstream alternative. The 4.5” screen is housed within a nearly square casing, which also boasts a physical keyboard.

Launching just days after the iPhone 6 certainly raises some eyebrows however, given the resulting media attention and hype showered on that record-selling device, which sold 10 million units in its first weekend. The Passport on the other hand is making hardly a peep in comparison to that din.

Yet perhaps even more important than the device itself will be the launch of the BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) Enterprise Server 12 software later this year, which unifies BES 5 and 10, and will further cement BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) devices as the smartphones of choice for enterprises.

Whether that will be enough to return the Canadian tech company to profitability, a goal which Chen has set for next year, remains to be seen. BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) is expected to lose $0.16 per share on earnings of $900 million to $940 million when they announce their fiscal 2015 Q2 results on Friday.

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) is down 3.5% today in morning trading, to $10.53. The stock is up 43.68% year-to-date on several earnings beats, and hopes the company is about to see the light at the end of the restructuring tunnel.

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