Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) has been gaining some momentum in the marketplace with its new BlackBerry 10 operating system and its two major flagship devices, the touchscreen-only Z10 and the QWERTY-keyboard Q10. And while no official sales numbers for this quarter have been reported – and likely won’t until the company reports quarterly earnings in the summer – some unofficial reports from retailers have suggested that in some places BlackBerry has done very well and in other places, like the U.S., the response has been modest shall we say.
But in the U.K. sales were reported to be solid, especially since the Q10 hit store shelves in the last few weeks. There was even a report that one retailer there claimed the Q10 could possibly be the best-selling handset that retailer had seen. Of course, we cannot confirm that, but at least in some parts of the world, the long-awaited refresh of BlackBerry by Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) has been well-received.
Which makes this item interesting. O2, one of the leading wireless carriers in the U.K. announced this week that is it holding a “flash sale” on the BlackBerry Z10, giving it away for free with a monthly contract until Wednesday, June 5. Of course, when we see a wireless carrier slash prices of handsets just months after launch (or discontinue selling it altogether, like AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) announced with the HTC First, the “Facebook phone”), we tend to think the worst of the handset. Sales must be so slow that O2 needs to give the phone away to get rid of inventory, right?
Well, if you ask Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), it will say it is nothing about which to worry. How do we know? Rob Orr, managing director of BlackBerry U.K., said so himself. “These price cuts are very normal in the U.K. market,” he said in a recent interview. “Pricing movements are very normal in the U.K. market, especially in the consumer space so I wouldn’t read anything into it.”
What do you think? Are you familiar with the U.K. market, and do you buy this explanation? Or do you think this is similar to the U.S. market in that it portends trouble for Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)? Give us your feedback in the comments section below.