BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) Passport Gets Mixed Reviews, Hopes Attached to BBM

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) Passport, targeted at the corporate, was much hyped by the company, but unfortunately the broad screen got sarcastic reviews and the design has been rendered unimpressive by many in the United States media. The Wall Street Journal demonstrated its size by plastering a square of American cheese on it. The square shape of the device did not seem to impress Mashable much and they did not like the thin keypad even, tagging the design as downright bizarre.

The new device launch has surprisingly worked in favor of the company’s stock. The stock was up by 2.5% on the day of the device launch. The company’s stock had seen terribly dark days in December 2013 and has successfully doubled from that level. The latest smartphone has not lived up to the expectations of many analysts, but the investors seem pleased with it.

Hardware could buy time for BlackBerry

The $600 price is higher than the other BlackBerry devices and this might not fit well with the loyal customers of BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) residing in Africa and Southeast Asia, which constitute core markets for the company.  Another model Z3 is doing well in the core markets because of the decent pricing. The device priced at $260 has generated enough sales in Indonesia and this region generates maximum smartphone sales in the South Asian mobile market. The maximum a budget device can do for BlackBerry is that it can bring the hardware unit of the company to a break-even point if the company is able to connect with the middle class buyers in Africa, the Middle East and South East. This could buy the Canadian firm some time, says a report from BGR.

BBM: secret weapon for BlackBerry

The time could be utilized in figuring how it can effectively monetize its messenger app, which has been doing well in the emerging markets though not that successful in US and Western markets. The BBM chat app from BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is the top iPhone app. It is ahead of Top 10 apps including Line, WhatsApp and Facebook in Indonesia. The revenue generated by BBM has given it a position among the top 20 iPhone apps in Indonesia and Nigeria. The app is expected to have as many as 200 million active monthly users in few years’ time. In 32 countries BBM has secured its position among the top 10 social media apps.