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Blackberry (BBRY) The Third British Invasion? Google Trends Say Maybe

 February 06, 2013 01:26 PM

(By Rich Bieglmeier) Wall Street has gotten a little excited about BlackBerry (BBRY) changing its name and launching a new smartphone to compete with the likes of Apple's (AAPL) iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy series. There are others, of course, but they are periphery players at the moment.

News of the BlackBerry Z10 helped the stock price dig its way out of the grave after hitting a nine-year low in September 2012. Since then, shares have jumped as much as 294% to an intra-day high of $18.32 on January 24, 2013. As we type, BBRY is 252% off of its 52-week low.

[Related -Apple Inc. (AAPL): How Q1 Earnings Will Fare?]

Sure wish we would shorted Apple and bought BlackBerry, that was real obvious in mid-September, no?

The new phone won't be available in the USA until mid-March, but the Z10 is available in the U.K. and in Canada on Thursday the 7 of February.

BlackBerry CEO, Thorsten Heins told the Associated Press the new phone is doing well in the U.K. and, "White is sold out already. The black is hard to stock up again. It's very encouraging. I won't share the number because I need to verify it, but we are getting a substantial number of users moving from other platforms to BlackBerry. That is an interesting data point."

Since Heins is unwilling to share the numbers behind his interesting data point, iStock examined the not so secret Google trends numbers to uncover what is really happening in the search world.

[Related -Apple Inc. (AAPL): iPhone Trending into Another Carl Icahn Disappointment?]

Since the phone is available – albeit for a small window – in the U.K. iStock took a look at search trends in the home of Big Ben for the keywords BlackBerry Z10, iPhone 5, Galaxy S3, Nokia Lumia, and Google Nexus.

Maybe, just maybe Chief Executive Heins can't believe his eyes. According to Google Trends, search volume intensity for the Z10 bypassed Galaxy S3. It has since fallen back but has clearly taken the number three position behind leader iPhone 5 and the S3 runner-up.

As of Monday, February 5, United Kingdom Google searchers for BlackBerry Z10 were running at about a third of iPhone 5, 60% of Galaxy S3, and 36% ahead of Nokia's Lumia and 66.7% ahead of laggard Google Nexus.

We see very similar trends in Canada on the eve of availability, except it nearly caught iPhone 5 and smoked Galaxy at the peak of intensity. Much like in the U.K., queries have settled down some, but are once again on the rise. Based on the recent trend lines, BalckBerry could move into the number two position in the days ahead.

Interest in the United Sates, however, is yet to gain traction. BlackBerry Z10 Googles are cellar dwellers with Nokia and Nexus, a little blip higher at the end of January, but mostly a flat line; signs of life, but hanging on by a thread. We will revisit Google Trends for the U.S. again when the phone hits the shelf mid-March.

Overall, early indicators from Google Trends in the U.K. and Canada show a reservoir of potential buyers and demand for BlackBerry's (BBRY) Z10. If the smartphone is as hot in the U.S. is as hot as it appears to be in Z10's limited release, it could make life for anti-Apple phone makers more difficult and potentially the kiss of death for Nokia.


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