Analyst sees solid demand for BlackBerry Torch; PlayBook sales to be unimpressive

In a note to investors Monday, Barclays Capital analyst Jeff Kvaal restated his “overweight” rating and set an $85 target for shares of RIM’s stock. Kvaal thinks the company will report a solid third quarter, and he believes current demand for the BlackBerry Torch to be “solid.” AT&T’s decision to drop the BlackBerry Torch to $99 last month played a big role in bolstering sales, the analyst believes, and he raised his Q3 estimates from 13.9 million units to 14.1 million as a result. Moving on to 2011, Kvaal sees RIM launching several handsets in the first half of 2011, including an update to the Curve 8900, a “Touch Bold” and a third version of the BlackBerry Storm. Sales of RIM’s first QNX-based tablet are projected to be quite low, however, and QNX-based handsets are not expected until the second half of 2011 at the earliest. Kvaal estimates BlackBerry PlayBook sales of 3 million units in 2011, and Gleacher & Co. analyst Mark McKechnie estimates PlayBook sales of only 1.8 million units through February 2012.

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