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Why BlackBerry Ltd. Shares Popped Today

By Steve Symington - Feb 25, 2014 at 4:12PM

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Is BlackBerry's jump meaningful or just another movement?

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of BlackBerry (BB 8.24%) rose more than 10% during intraday trading Tuesday after the troubled handset maker announced several new products and services. 

So what: Specifically, BlackBerry expects in April to launch the new Z3 smartphone, a low-cost device aimed at Indonesian consumers and the first product resulting from its recently formed partnership with FoxconnThen in the second half of this year, BlackBerry intends to launch its next QWERTY-enabled BlackBerry 10 device, the BlackBerry Q20. More details on exact pricing and availability for both phones will be provided when they launch.

In addition, the company unveiled the next iteration of its BlackBerry Enterprise Service platform in BES12, as well as a simplified, two-tier pricing and licensing structure for BES. BlackBerry also introduced its eBBM Suite, an enterprise-centric mobile messaging platform. 

Finally, in an effort to bolster its existing BES customer base, BlackBerry introduced a new EZ Pass program as a free way to help customers more easily "from BES and other [mobile device management] platforms to BES10."

Now what: Most of today's headlines seem focused primarily on the potential for BlackBerry's new smartphones to revive its business. However, I'm still not convinced the devices will be able to recapture any meaningful market share, as better-funded competitors such as Apple and Samsung continue to grow their respective presence in the high- and low-end smartphone spaces across the globe.

Still, it's good to see BlackBerry continuing to develop its already-solid enterprise segment -- arguably its greatest strength -- and its growing BBM platform could still represent a valuable asset relative to BlackBerry's sub-$6 billion market capitalization.

But make no mistake: BlackBerry still has plenty of work to do to ensure its long-term survival, and these new products are by no means guaranteed successes. With shares already up more than 40% year to date, I'm still perfectly happy watching from the sidelines.

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