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Is BlackBerry on its way to a comeback?

BlackBerry Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins displays the new Blackberry 10 smartphones at the BlackBerry 10 launch event by Research in Motion at Pier 36 in Manhattan on January 30, 2013 in New York City.

Few would have predicted it a year ago. BlackBerry reported quarterly earnings this morning, and made a profit. Not a lot for a brand name tech firm -- $98 million -- but a profit to be sure. And the company formerly known as Research in Motion said it has sold 1 million of its new Z10 handsets.

Those are pretty good numbers for a company that a year ago looked close to collapse.

“It’s the first step to a comeback for a company that for the last five years has been struggling,” says Roberto Baldwin, writer at Wired magazine.

It took significant restructuring to get to this point. The company even axed its old name in favor of brand simplicity. Now, it's just BlackBerry.

“They sat on their laurels post-iPhone… and didn’t do anything,” Baldwin says. “With a new management team and new CEO, they finally have put out a brand new platform and new devices.”

The leaner, more entrepreneurial spirit appears to be helping BlackBerry. If Blackberry can do a better job keeping up Apple and Google's product cycles, the company could make an even bigger splash.

Baldwin says, “I can see in a year or two they could actually be a force to be reckoned with.”

In fact, he remembers another big name tech firm that was once thought to be on its death bed only to return and become the market leader. Before Steve Jobs' return in the late '90s, Baldwin recalls, “Apple was doomed, they were 90 days from bankruptcy."

However, to make an Apple-sized comeback, BlackBerry will have to convince consumers they have a full range of offerings -- beyond their trademark physical keyboard.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
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In his review at The New York Times, David Pogue raved about how positively great the new Blackberry is. I have an iPhone 4S and have never owned a Blackberry, but Pogue's effusive review made me want to go out and buy one.

You should. At least try it for a week. It feels weird at first without the home button but you'll realize that there's no need for one and with all your messages in one place, it really helps you stay connected. And to assist in that connection, the keyboard helps you flick words into your message. Try it and I swear you'll love it as much as I do.

You think Android's still getting it together? Stop showing your Apple bias. Android devices have outstripped Apple's daily device activation #s for years. The OS is mature and very user friendly. The app market is vibrant. I wouldn't consider Android devices the "also ran" any more. ;)

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