Checks Indicate BlackBerry (BBRY) Z10 Still in Stock Across U.K.; Sales Reps 'Undereducated'

February 5, 2013 11:41 AM EST
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BlackBerry (Nasdaq: BBRY) shares are higher on the session amid reports that initial sales of its BB10-based Z10 smartphone are strong. However, Deutsche Bank is taking a more cautious stance on initial reports.

Analysts Brian Modoff said his team conducted a survey of 30 carrier stores in the U.K. this morning. He said, "early signs indicate that the carriers did not promote the device and more importantly, it appears that sales reps were not completely educated on the merits of the Z10." Modoff continued that all but one store also had Z10 models in stock.

On sales reps, Modoff noted that staff said that BB10 was unique, but didn't expound on the issue. They usually suggested a trip into the store to experience the UI firsthand. Conversely, reps were familiar with Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) iOS and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android features, being able to talk about both at length.

Modoff also asked whether BB10 was unique to the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S III. Some responded that it did, while a handful said it did not. He thinks this wouldn't be enough to coax a customer into the shop and sign a two-year contract for a Z10. Out of the 30 stores phoned, the Galaxy S III was still the most recommended, with the iPhone coming in second. When reps discussed the Z10, it was usually in the same sentence as Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows Phone-based devices, Modoff noted.

Upside risks include BlackBerry's Playbook outpacing views as well as better adaptation of BlackBerry's existing handset product line. Downside mostly relates to lack of demand for the handsets.

Currently, Deutsche Bank has a Hold rating on BlackBerry, staying on the sidelines until the BB10 picture shapes up. The firm has a price target of $8 on BlackBerry.

For an analyst ratings summary and ratings history on Research In Motion Ltd. click here. For more ratings news on Research In Motion Ltd. click here.

Shares of Research In Motion Ltd. closed at $14.98 yesterday.

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