Here's One Reason to Buy a BlackBerry (But Still Not BlackBerry Ltd. Shares)

BlackBerry 10 totally owns Android and iPhone rivals when it comes to smooth Web browsing. Just don't expect this win to save the Canadians' bacon.

Feb 6, 2014 at 1:30PM

BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) investors have suffered through a 38% share price meltdown over the last year. The once-dominant smartphone platform has become an afterthought, a footnote in mobile history, a joke that is only funny to outsiders. The Canadian company is fighting for its very life, now under new management that actually seems to get just how deep a hole BlackBerry has dug for itself.

As CEO John Chen navigates the most difficult turnaround attempt in recent memory, BlackBerry fans can cling to the one thing the platform is doing right. Nobody makes a faster mobile Web browser than the standard BlackBerry app.

Bb Z

This handsome handset comes with a smoking fast Web browser. But that's always been the case, and people still aren't buying the BlackBerry Z10 and its siblings. Image source: BlackBerry

That's according to online performance monitoring firm New Relic, based on a huge pool of monitoring data. The company culls performance metrics from big-volume partners like Groupon, Zynga, and the online Yellow Pages, resulting in 16.8 billion data points.

The BlackBerry browser doesn't just win the mobile race. It totally obliterates the competition with an average page-load time of 1.55 seconds. In second place, you'll find the mobile Opera at a tortoise-like 4.78 seconds.

It's a software win, not a hardware triumph. There's an Opera browser for BlackBerry devices, too, and it performs in line with Opera versions for the Android and iOS platforms.

Unfortunately, having the fastest browser isn't winning BlackBerry any new customers. In New Relic's presentation of mobile market shares, BlackBerry didn't even merit its own line item: it was folded into the "Other" option, which adds up to a minuscule 2.2% of mobile-browsing volume.

And the BlackBerry browser's turbo-charged performance isn't exactly news. Even the prerelease BlackBerry 10 models for software development completely crushed iPhones and Androids in head-to-head speed tests.

And what it all boils down to is that the best designs don't always win in the real world. When Joe Average walks up to the smartphone counter to pick his next handset, he might note that the browser sure looks snappy on this BlackBerry Z10, "But none of my friends have one of these, and where are all the apps? Just give me an iPhone or Android, buddy!"

Winning a consumer market is at least as much about marketing as it is about having the best product. And it's very hard to turn the beat around once you've got a bad reputation -- not to mention those plummeting sales that put the entire platform's future in jeopardy. It's one of those vicious cycles.

On the upside, Chen seems open to making a software business out of BlackBerry. Maybe he'll be able to bring this hot-rod browser to iPhones and Androids at some point. But even so, it's hard to see how one mobile app (or a handful, if other BlackBerry apps like the Messenger also take off) supports a $5 billion market cap.

In the end, this browser-speed title is a nice feather in BlackBerry's cap -- but not an investable win.

If BlackBerry isn't a good smartphone investment, can you show me a stock that is?
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Anders Bylund has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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