BlackBerry’s Quirky Super Bowl Ad May Boost Sales

In today’s mobile news roundup: BlackBerry’s Super Bowl ad lacks Z10 specifics; Nokia drops hints for tablet; FCC super WiFi proposal rattles telecom giants; and HTC’s Q1 outlook down, shifts focus to China.

BlackBerry’s Super Bowl ad lacks Z10 specifics

The power outage at the Superdome, which left the game and its fans in the dark for over 30 minutes shortly after Beyoncé’s half-time show , charged the San Francisco 49ers, who were able to catch up to the Baltimore Ravens’ lead.  Despite the mishap, the Ravens were able to snag the Super Bowl win at 34-31.

But the power outage and Beyoncé’s performance weren’t the only chatter-worthy developments from last night.  Just days after its official launch, BlackBerry debuted its Z10 commercial at the Super Bowl.  The 30-second clip featured a guy bursting into flames, growing elephant legs, and then rubber duckies.  All that was missing were details on the Z10 phone, with BlackBerry noting it’s easier to show you what the new device can’t do instead.  Not really sure what BlackBerry was getting at, but for $30 million to make the ad, let’s hope that the bubbling interest in the commercial translates to revenue for BlackBerry.

In other BlackBerry news, sales in the UK, United Arab Emirates and Canada are said to be off to a good start and the early numbers are “solid.”  In the UK, some reported lines outside retail shops that sold the Z10, and some shops are already out of stock.

“We believe Carphone Warehouse is seeing widespread sell-outs, while O2, Vodafone, Orange and EE are seeing robust demand,” Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek explained. “We estimate sell-in to be at least several hundred thousand units.”

Nokia drop hints for a tablet

A Nokia tablet has long been rumored to be in the works, but we have yet to see any confirmation on this.  Nokia never dismissed the rumors, only stating that the company is looking into the tablet market with no definite plans yet.

But new details have emerged, with Nokia CEO Stephen Elop stated that the company is open to consider any mobile operating system for a tablet.  This is the second time in recent weeks a Nokia representative was reported to show interest in alternative OS’s, despite a relatively successful partnership with Microsoft’s Windows Phone.

“We would consider any option [Android or Windows] … It is important to note that the opportunity for companionship is something that any user is looking for. So, when you think about the Lumia 920, running on Windows Phone, having a Windows tablet or PC or Xbox is something that will give us the opportunity to have a pretty integrated experience. Our first focus on what we look at is clearly in the Microsoft side,” Elop said.

He also added that the company is studying Microsoft’s effort in the tablet market, and from there, Nokia will see how to go about its tablet plans.

FCC super WiFi proposal rattles telecom giants

The Federal Communications Commission is proposing a super WiFi network across the US that would enable users to make calls or surf the Internet without having to pay a monthly bill.

This news would certainly be welcomed by the public, but telecommunications companies won’t be too happy if this proposal gets approved.  Network giants such as AT&T, Verizon and Sprint could lose billions of dollars at the threat of dropped subscribers.

On the other hand, tech giants such as Google and Microsoft favor the FCC’s proposal, stating that a free super WiFi service would “spark an explosion of innovations and devices that would benefit most Americans, especially the poor.”

“Freeing up unlicensed spectrum is a vibrantly free-market approach that offers low barriers to entry to innovators developing the technologies of the future and benefits consumers,”  FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who designed the proposal, said a statement.

HTC’s Q1 outlook down, shifts focus to China

HTC gave a preview of its first quarter revenue and stated that it would be down by 17 percent compared to the previous quarter.  The decline is due to the harsh competition it is facing from Apple and Samsung, who are currently dominating the mobile market with the iPhone and Galaxy phones.

To prevent completely falling off the wagon, HTC will be focusing on the Chinese market and other emerging markets by offering more affordable phones to consumers.  HTC is willing to offer phones priced lower than 1999 yuan or less than $320, which is currently the cheapest price in China.

“We’re going to go down, but not below 1,000,” HTC Chief Financial Officer Chang Chia-Lin  said. “We see there’s still room to play” in 1,000 to 2,000 yuan phones.