BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) has been long trying to launch a device that can bring back its earlier glory. The company talked a big game when touting their newest phone, the Passport; hyping its better screen resolution, longer battery life, and expanded features that made it a direct threat to the premium smartphone division’s reigning and defending champions, the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S5. However as Forbes reported today, the 4.5”-screened, square smartphone is failing to impress critics or analysts.
In a note to investors yesterday, Citi analyst Ehud Gelblum reiterated a sell rating and $8 price target on BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY). He was critical not only of some facets of the phone’s design, including the square-shaped screen for which the majority of apps are not optimized, but also for the company’s curious pricing plan, which will initially sell the phones at a discount both with and without contracts, but then up the price come October 1.
Deutsche Bank meanwhile reiterated their own $8 price target and hold rating on BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) in their own note yesterday, saying the phone was not transformative enough, and that they were skeptical it had any ability to help the Canadian company launch even a moderate comeback.
Other reviews have been critical of some of the phone’s features, including that odd square-shape, which BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) CEO John Chen admitted was partly so the phone would stand out rather than because it was seen as being better necessarily. Rather, reviewers have by-and-large found it worse, and say it makes the phone very difficult to use one-handed because of how wide it is. The phone has also been described as too top-heavy, which makes it even more unwieldy.
Yet the real blow for the phone probably comes from the fact that many of the features have been described as second-rate, including the BlackBerry Assistant, the Maps function, the camera, the operating system as a whole, and the selection of apps, despite BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) bringing the Amazon App Store and its 250,000 apps into the fold beginning with Passport.
BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) is down over 2% since the Passport launched yesterday, and is trading at $10.30 in afternoon trading.
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