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I will be smiley if this turns out the way I predicted...

An Android-powered slider may not be the only phone BlackBerry has pegged for Google's mobile OS. Following the leaks of a device codenamed "Venice" that's said to be offered in both Android and BB10 versions, a video of the recently announced Passport Silver Edition surfaced. The square QWERTY handset isn't running BlackBerry's software, though, it's sportin' Lollipop.

That's not a prototype.  It's the Silver, which you can buy now -- a mostly-cosmetic change to the Passport (and a very nice one, IMHO too.)

Now here's the prediction I made before, which I will reiterate: This is probably running a Hypervisor, which means it's running both Android and BB10 at the same time.

BlackBerry bought the company with the enabling technology for that in the cellular world -- virtual SIMs -- over a year ago.  Virtualizing the RIL layer would be next -- I note that there is already a "leaked" claim that this has been done as an RIL APK apparently exists.

No, this does not violate the OHA guidelines -- at least not the public ones.  If someone has evidence otherwise I'd love to see it; I've challenged those who claim otherwise to send me a copy of said documents and thus far, nothing has appeared either in public or in my email inbox.

Why is this important?  Simple -- it means the "app gap" is gone.  It also means that BlackBerry has the only mass-produced, high-end, high-spec keyboard devices on the market.

Will they sell iPhone-style volumes of these if true?  No, but they don't have to.  They will sell a hell of a lot of them, however, and make a nice profit on them too -- along with Venice, the upcoming slider.

If I'm right on this those who have been bearish on the company's prospects as a hardware vendor are in for a hell of a big shock in the next few months -- and if that thesis has led you to be short the stock you're in for lots of pain.

And oh, by the way, there is nothing different in the hardware on the Silver Passport version either, which means that existing Passport owners will be able to upgrade their firmware.

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The hits keep coming...

First, there's the case of a Tesla Motors employee reportedly being scolded for missing work to witness the birth of his kid. Now, there are letters scolding some Tesla Model S owners for overusing the company's Supercharger network of electric-vehicle chargers. Yes, it looks like the California-based electric-vehicle maker may be on the wrong side of some public-relations missteps.

For this most recent case, there is a thread over at Tesla Motors Club led by a bunch of Model S owners who last week started receiving letters saying they need to cut down on their use of Superchargers, and to move their cars faster when they do use them.

It's not like people didn't consider the "Superchargers" to be one of the benefits of buying a $100,000 toy, right?  Oh wait, they did.....

Well, the simple reality of the matter is that these cars are a fad and Tesla's "Superchargers" are a way to try to make them more-like gas-fueled vehicles that can be "recharged" anywhere from empty to full in less than five minutes.

Since a Tesla cannot do that despite the company's attempts to make it "more like that" now they're upset that people are, well, doing exactly that to the extent they're able!

I'm not sure which is more-stupid -- that people expected to be able to do this or that the company tried to sell that as one of the "benefits" of Tesla ownership but doesn't want their customers to actually use it.

PS: Don't look behind that supercharger if you're a greenie -- it might be powered by a diesel genset.

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Morgan Stanley has "upgraded" Tesla with an outrageous price target.

I'll take the other side of that and believe the company could be an actual zero.

The reason is quite-simple: Tesla makes luxury, limited-use vehicles on which it loses thousands for each vehicle it sells.  It remains in business based on two factors: Tax harvesting from the federal government, that is, effective acts of theft from everyone in the country and hype that has allowed it to return to the capital markets again and again for more money to fuel its cash furnace.

If either of those factors fails to continue the company is in trouble.  But if the tax harvesting fails the other will almost-certainly fall immediately thereafter; loss of both would be likely to detonate the company as a whole as cash flow is everything and if you run out of cash and cannot go back to the markets for more you're out of business.

Further, there are reports emerging of serious problems with vehicle service and the extremely limited nature of the vehicle's distribution and thus service network means that aftermarket availability of assistance with the cars is effectively nil.  While most of the reports I've seen have been in the category of "annoyances" (e.g. door handles not working) the fact is that I can take even a 10+ year old vehicle from any modern big-name manufacturer in and get something like that fixed.  I might not like the price, but I can get it done right here and now.  This is manifestly not true for Tesla.

The issue with Tesla's vehicles is, unfortunately, not "skin deep" nor fixable.  The very nature of an "electric" car is that it is a limited-use vehicle due to physics; there is nothing you can do about this.  Range is limited and due to charge acceptance limitations both in the vehicle and requirements on a charging source the "3-5 minute fill-up" that is both common and expected with liquid fueled vehicles this cannot be materially changed at any time in the rational future.  A "large" Tesla battery has an 85Kwh capacity of which perhaps 80% is usable.  If you can manage to charge it at "2C" (well beyond the current capability) a "fill-up" from its maximum usable discharge still requires 30 minutes, or six times that to fill a gas vehicle -- during which it cannot move from the charging station.

Further, while people will cite this as "ok" in some fashion it really doesn't work that way because you can only run that sort of charge rate without unacceptable overheating (and note that all heat rejection is in fact loss of energy that you paid for but didn't actually store in the battery!) until the battery pack gets materially over 50%.  As a result that sort of "very fast" charging might be tolerable (and usable) to get from a 10% charge to a 50% state of charge -- and require only 10-15 minutes.  However, you now only have a 50% charge and thus can only travel 40% of the claimed "range" of the vehicle (since you must maintain that 10% reserve.)

Is this enough for "mass-market" appeal? No, and especially not when that car costs nearly $100,000!

In short these vehicles are cool toys for very wealthy people who can afford to blow a wad of cash on a status symbol that allows them to strut their faux environmentalism.  And it is false -- materially so -- when one considers both the energy required and environmental abuse undertaken to manufacture the vehicle, including the battery inside it, along with where the power comes from that charges it.

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Changing your company's name is now good for a 5% stock pop after the market closed.

No, I'm not kidding.  Google is changing its name to "Alphabet, Inc", and changing its corporate structure somewhat.  It is not purchasing, divesting, or otherwise changing how it actually operates, but the stock is up about 5% after-hours on this "announcement."

But no, this is not a bubble and that's not a value-less transaction.  Uh huh....

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Apple has, since the original introduction of the iPhone, traded heavily on a falsehood that has been promoted not by itself (per-se) but rather by the cell carriers -- the idea that you can have an iPhone for "just $199."

Well, no you can't and no you don't.  Not now, not ever.

The truth is that the phone costs you more than $500; in fact, frequently a lot more, but it is buried in the device subsidy that the carriers provide and then add onto your monthly bill.

T-Mobile got rid of this a while ago and went to an "installment plan" if you wanted to buy a device from them.  AT&T still offers it in some forms, and until recently, Verizon was almost-exclusively a subsidized carrier for on-contract users.

But this is now going away for Verizon -- the largest carrier in the United States.

Our nation is full of low-information people.  Lots of them.  In fact, most of the people in this country actually believe that they can have an iPhone for $150.  In no small part this is because the "subsidized device model" of business didn't trigger (probably due to campaign bribes) consumer protection laws involving truth-in-lending -- that is, the imputed interest rate and full, all-in cost that must be disclosed on any sort of lending transaction.

But this arm-waving obfuscation is now disappearing.... and starting now, effectively, that's all-in price that will have to be prominently disclosed to consumers is $650, or more than four times as much money.

Now I'm sure Verizon will play the "zero down" card but the fact remains that Apple is quite unlikely to find nearly as many people who will buy a $650 phone as one they believe costs $150.

My prediction: Apple is going to have a hell of a hard time selling $650 phones that must be priced at an actual $650 and clearly disclosed to customers as costing $650, especially among young people such as teens that make up a huge percentage of said sales.

Is this the end of the iPhone dominance?  I suspect it indeed is.... and if so it is coming right into the maw of the "strongest" two quarters of historical Apple earnings where we may well see a couple of huge ship/sold estimate misses.

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