Canadian firm’s fleet-tracking service ‘Radar’ has made it a market darling again


A visit to trucking firm Titanium Transportation helps explain why BlackBerry’s stock is once again a darling in Canadian markets, having soared 70% in two months.

Nestled in an industrial area some 50 kilometres north of Toronto, the trucker is an early adopter of a new BlackBerry fleet-tracking service known as Radar, which uses $400 boxes to collect and transmit information on movement, temperature and physical contents of Titanium’s 1,300 truck trailers.

Efficiency gains tied to Radar should allow Titanium to get maximum utilization of its fleet, positioning it to cut the number of trailers by 5% and also reduce labour costs, company executive Marilyn Daniel told Reuters.

“Time is everything in our world,” she said. “Being able to tell a driver where exactly a trailer is as opposed to having a driver search through a yard for sometimes hours has been a definite improvement.”

Radar is emblematic of BlackBerry chief executive John Chen’s strategy for turning around the Canadian icon, by steering the company away from consumer electronics and back to its roots of selling products to businesses.

Industrial customers

Beyond Radar, BlackBerry is also betting on other types of software for industrial customers. It is leveraging its QNX subsidiary’s software foothold deep inside car infotainment consoles to expand into self-driving technology, while promoting its cybersecurity software and services to thwart increased threats from hacking.

BlackBerry’s stock rallied after it showed signs of progress in quarterly earnings results at the end of March, followed by news in April of a nearly $1 billion cash windfall from arbitration with Qualcomm expected to fund future investments in growth. That comes in the face of an expected revenue decline to below $1 billion this year for the first time since 2004. At its smartphone peak, BlackBerry had annual sales of $20 billion.

Among the recent BlackBerry bulls are institutional investors such as Nokota Management, which took a new position with almost 4.8 million shares in the first quarter, and Oppenheimer Funds, which added 3.3 million more shares to its existing 4 million share stake, according to U.S. securities filings.

Iridian Asset Management and Connor, Clark & Lunn Investment Management, two of BlackBerry’s biggest shareholders, each raised their stakes by around a quarter as of the end of March. Nokota did not respond to requests for comment, while the others all declined to discuss their stakes in BlackBerry.

The strategy is not without risks. BlackBerry faces challenges entering the telematics market, where analysts say rivals include Omnitracs, Teletrac Navman, Tomtom NV , Trimble Inc and U.S. telecommunications giant Verizon Communications Inc.

Verizon last year paid some $2.4 billion to buy GPS vehicle tracking firm Fleetmatics Group Plc.

Radar “is not a unique and earth-shattering product,” said Nicholas Farhi, a partner at OC&C Strategy Consultants who advises companies on optimising logistics operations.

That’s why some investors advise caution, saying it is too soon to figure out how to properly value the new BlackBerry offerings.

“It’s not the type of situation you can justify from a valuation standpoint,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Asset Management, which manages more than $1.5 billion and exited the stock a decade ago, when BlackBerry phones were still dominant. “It is all about hope and promise.”


New Nokia Smartphones Will Be Sold in U.S. Market


With excitement building among rabid Nokia phones fans for the brand’s imminent global revival as an Android smartphone maker, there’s a bit of confusion about just where the new line of devices will be sold.

But U.S. fans should not fret. The new line will be available here soon.

HMD Global, the Finnish start up that licensed the brand, last month unveiled three new, low-cost smartphone models and a modernized candy bar phone—a reprise of famous Nokia 3310—with a promise to start selling them in 120 markets in the second quarter. After questions about which countries would be included and when—and with some low-end phone maker forsaking the U.S. market—the company said last week in a brief statement that the phones would be sold worldwide all at once.

At the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona last month, some HMD officials were even clearer that the U.S. market was on their list for immediate sales. Although the startup has been in business for less than a year, it’s filled with longtime Nokia veterans from the decades when the company was the top phone brand in the world.

“The U.S. is a very important market for us, so when we say that we’ll go worldwide, we’ll go in more than 120 markets including of course also U.S.,” Pekka Rantala, HMD’s chief marketing officer, told Fortune at MWC.

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Rantala spent 17 years at Nokia, rising to head of marketing. He left when the business was sold to Microsoft (MSFT, +0.23%) and then ran Rovio Entertainment, creator of the popular Angry Birds mobile game, before joining HMD last August.

There’s a lot of excitement for the Nokia revival in the United States, according to tracking of mentions on social media and other indicators, Rantala said. And when Nokia made its old school Snake video game available to play via Facebook Messenger, the largest number of players were from the United States, he added.

The startup can pull off the simultaneous global rollout because HMD has so many experienced people on staff from the old Nokia (NOK, +1.69%) days, he said.

“They have the relationships when it comes to both a professional and also personal level in many parts of the world,” Rantala said. “Many people are asking at which countries do you start. I think we start everywhere, because we have the readiness and we have partners who can supply us.”

The new phone line, which is manufactured by a unit of iPhone-maker Foxconn, starts with the Nokia 6 with a 5.5-inch screen and selling for 229 euros, or about $242. A slightly smaller Nokia 5, with a 5.2-inch screen, will go for 189 euros, or $200, and 5-inch model called the Nokia 3 will sell for just 139 euros or under $150. All three models rely on Google’s (GOOGL, -0.20%) Android software.

Nokia Smartphones Primed for a Smartphone Comeback
Nokia may be making a comeback in 2017!

More models at higher and lower prices will be forthcoming eventually, Rantala said. “I’m not saying when, but it’s clear that we are going to evolve the portfolio downwards and upwards because the brand gives is permission to be present in all the price points,” he said.

In vintage van, mobile farmer’s market seeks out communities in need

Bradenton, Fla., – Not every neighborhood has access to a farmer’s market.

But one community farmer is trying to change that.

Thanks to a $100,000 grant through the Department of Health in Manatee County, Christa Leonard is taking her Geraldson Community Farm on the road.

Leonard says the money went towards refurbishing a 1972 Airstream which they’ve renamed the “Green Stream.”

Now mobile, the Geraldson Community Farm of Bradenton is now traveling all over Manatee County, including Pride Park and G.T. Bray Park.Image result for In vintage van, mobile farmers market seeks out communities in need

The farmers are trying to reach people with otherwise might not have access to good, local vegetables, and they accept EBT.

The Green Stream hit the road for the first time just a couple weeks ago.

They’re at Pride Park (6032 9th Street E., Bradenton) every Monday from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

They’re scheduled to be the New College of Florida every Friday.

The Geraldson Community Farm also has a work-share program where you can work for food.


LG continues to dominate large panel market, eyes mobile OLED displays


The latest data indicate that LG Display is still No. 1 in the global large display panel market, boasting the world’s highest shipments for 30 consecutive quarters.

LG’s mobile phone division may not be doing so spectacularly, but LG Display is an entirely different story. Thanks to its robust television sales as well as lucrative deals with companies like Apple, LG Display has retained its position as the No. 1 large display panel manufacturer in the world for 30 consecutive quarters. According to HIS Markit, a British financial services company, the South Korean display manufacturer has shipped 35.42 million units during the first quarter of this year.


Thanks to its robust television sales as well as lucrative deals with companies like Apple, LG Display has retained its position as the No. 1 large display panel manufacturer.

LG Display’s Q1 shipment of 9-inch or larger display panels accounted for 21.4 percent of the total global market share, which decreased by 8 percent compared to last year’s Q1 to 165 million units. A close second was BOE Display at 21 percent; the Chinese manufacturer has been expanding its OLED business and is rumored to be working with Apple for next-generation iPhones.

Samsung Display, on the other hand, posted a 10 percent share, ranking fifth globally. This is not all too surprising since apart from its televisions, the company remains committed to small- and mid-sized OLED displays, practically monopolizing the market. However, that may change in the future as LG is reportedly looking to transform its P10 production facility in Paju, Korea to manufacture mobile OLED displays. The facility was originally designed for large OLED panels for televisions, but with the exponential growth of the mobile OLED business, the South Korean electronics company may be devising a new plan. After all, LG is expected to debut its first flagship with an OLED screen later this year.

HIS Markit’s report on small- and mid-sized display panel market is set to be released later this month, so stay tuned for that.

Would you like to see an LG-made flagship smartphone with an OLED screen? Do you think LG will continue to dominate the large panel market despite competition from Chinese and Taiwanese companies? Let us know!