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Can BlackBerry Make a Comeback With Its New Models?

Stocks in this article: BBRY

Of those 100,000 apps, roughly 20% are Android ports, but the company hopes they will follow the example of eBay (EBAY) and Amazon (AMZN), which initially ported their apps and then later introduced BB10 native versions.

These examples demonstrate that BlackBerry paid close attention to the ecosystem and applications, and provided the fastest possible onboard mechanism to persuade developers to at least get their feet wet with the new OS. At the launch of the new BB10 devices in late January, there were roughly 70,000 apps available, including some which had not been on previous RIM devices (most noticeably Skype and games such as Angry Birds), but there were some, such as Netflix (NFLX), Hulu, OpenTable (OPEN), Pandora (P), Viber, and Waze, which were not yet offered at that point. (Note that Netflix, for instance, still does not have any BB10 plans).

Furthermore, the number, while impressive, still only represents one tenth of iOS and Android apps. Another question is performance. The ported apps might not quite always perform as fast on the BB10 as on Android due to processing being done by the BlackBerry Android Runtime virtual machine.

The Q4 2013 call also did not provide too many clues about BlackBerry's performance in the U.S., where early surveys pointed to an initially underwhelming performance. In order for the company to do well with its BB10 models, it certainly needs better traction in the US, particularly where it is competing for shelf space at Best Buy (BBY) and AT&T (T), T-Mobile and Verizon (VZ) stores.

Early indicators showed lukewarm enthusiasm from sales personnel and buyers in the first two post-launch days. BlackBerry will be fiercely competing for mindshare against Nokia (NOK)/ Microsoft (MSFT) as these U.S. carriers certainly would like to seed a viable third OS option besides Android and iOS.

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