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Technology Round Up - April 2, 2013
Facebook’s Upcoming Event
Facebook (FB) has recently invited journalists to view the unveiling of what it has described as its “new home on Android”, a reference to Google’s (GOOG) operating system for mobile devices. The event will occur on Thursday, April 4th. The company has not yet provided further details, and we suggest interested readers keep an eye out for this on Thursday. There has been speculation that Facebook would release its own phone for several years, though the company has stated it will not do this. Instead, it appears more likely that The Social Network will be more fully integrated on the Android software of another company’s phone. Many Facebook users access the site from a mobile device, and the company intends to make investments to improve the mobile experience.
HTC’s New Smartphone
HTC has begun the introduction of its HTCOne smartphone, with launches in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Taiwan. The device will be more widely introduced (across North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region) by the end of the current month. (The One had been delayed due to problems obtaining certain components). In designing the One (which is the successor to the One X+),the company has emphasized hardware and software design, and a unique camera implementation. There appears to be a lot of fanfare associated with this release, and HTC has reported unprecedented demand for the new device. Even so, competition in this space from rivals Samsung and Apple (AAPL) is expected to remain stiff going forward.
BlackBerry’s Earnings Call
BlackBerry (BBRY) has reported performance for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 (period ended March 2, 2013). Hardware sales continued to underperform, and the top-line declined roughly 36% on a year-over-year basis, to $2.68 billion. Share-net of $0.22 was well below the prior-year tally of $0.80. Even so, the bottom-line figure exceeded expectations and marked the first quarterly profit the company has reported since the year-ago period. Efforts to streamline operations and reduce costs have helped share earnings. In January, the company launched the most recent version of its mobile operating system, the BlackBerry 10. The BlackBerry 10, along with two new smartphones (the Z10 and the Q10), are aimed at improving the company’s prospects in a highly competitive industry. Readers are advised to monitor the consumer response to the introduction of these products in the coming months, as BlackBerry appears to have a lot riding on this outcome.
GameStop Benefitting from the Upcoming Introduction of New Consoles
Shares of GameStop (GME) have roughly doubled since last summer. The popular video-game retailer’s stock has benefitted from investor expectations that the introduction of Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation 4 and the new version of Microsoft’s (MSFT - Free Microsoft Stock Report) Xbox will benefit GameStop’s revenues. The launch of these new consoles ought to increase demand for video games over the next few years.
However, several reports have indicated that the upcoming Xbox will not allow used games to be played on it. Assuming these reports prove correct, players who want a specific game will have to buy it new, rather than second hand. This could present a problem for GameStop, as the company’s used games provide customers with a unique value proposition.
At the time of this article’s writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.