Recent “checks” on the pre-orders of the BlackBerry Z10 in the U.S. “indicate that consumer pre-orders have been light and well below expectations,” claims Detwiler Fenton & Co.’s Jeff Johnston.
Johnson says people will likely find the BlackBerry Z10 favorable once they actually try it out. Though, says BlackBerry has an awareness problem with getting the product in front of people:
“While we acknowledge that disappointing pre-order volumes do not necessarily mean device sales will ultimately fall short of expectations, we think the light volumes underscore the Z10′s awareness issues and the overall competitive environment BBRY faces. BBRY has done a nice job with the OS however they need to figure out how to overcome the lack of mindshare their products have both with consumers and the carrier sales channel. It seems that after users overcome the unintuitive nature of the UI (swiping in particular) and get more comfortable with the OS, they enjoy using it. For example, Indirect Retail regional managers at one major carrier were required to attend a 3 hour training session with BBRY and use the device for 60 days. Most managers went into this kicking and screaming however after having completed the training session, they left feeling good about using the Z10 as their primary device. While this is encouraging at some level, we note that it took a 3-hour training session from a corporate trainer to get savvy wireless managers onboard […] We’re skeptical BBRY will be able to overcome the mindshare and awareness issues they face given the momentum Apple (AAPL) and the [Google (GOOG)] Android camp currently enjoy. Bullish BB10 estimates in the 25MM unit range for FY:14 seems too high in our opinion and we believe a number in the 13MM-15MM unit range is more likely. Comparing BBRY to Microsoft (MSFT) is not an apple-to-apples comparison, however we note that MSFT spent over $250MM for the Windows Phone 8 launch in Q4:12 and they lost share. Windows Phone 8 is a competitive OS and consumers enjoy using it after they discover it but Windows Phone 8 devices could not rise above the noise. BBRY will need to spend aggressively to create awareness and demand which could be a slippery slope as cash burn could become a major issue if sales don’t follow.”