BlackBerry 10 could be ‘too little, too late’

Research In Motion confirmed part of an exclusive BGR report Thursday night when its co-CEOs announced during an earnings call that its first BlackBerry 10 smartphone would not launch until the “latter part of 2012.” Despite RIM’s earlier statement that a QNX-powered smartphone would launch in the first half next year, we reported in November that RIM’s first next-generation smartphone would not launch until the third quarter. RIM co-Chief Mike Lazaridis blamed the delay on new dual-core processors that were not yet ready to be manufactured in bulk, but the fact remains that by the time RIM’s first QNX-based smartphone launches it will be competing against Apple’s sixth-generation iPhone, a horde of new Android phones with next-generation features and specs, a variety of Windows Phones from Nokia, and more. According to one analyst, BlackBerry 10 may be “too little, too late.” Read on for more.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky went out on a limb and continued to seepotential upside for RIM long after other analysts were jumping ship. It now appears as though the Waterloo, Ontario-based vendor failed to capitalize on what little opportunity Abramsky had identified. The analyst recently began dropping his price target on RIM stock and on Friday, he cut it further to $16 from $20, troubled by RIM’s weak fourth-quarter guidance and the BlackBerry 10 delays.

“BlackBerry 10 is now pushed out to 2H/CY12 (from 1H/CY12), making RIM significantly late to the high-end smartphone market, risking further share losses and competitive developer momentum,” Abramsky wrote in a note to clients on Friday. He continued, “As visibility continues to decline with BB10 delayed, we see few catalysts over the next six months (valuation volatility may occur on newsflow) and recommend investors remain on the sidelines.”

RBC lowered its estimates for fiscal 2012 to $18.9 billion in revenue with earnings of $4.55 per share, down from earlier estimates of $19.3 billion and $4.40. Abramsky cut fiscal 2013 estimates as well in light of BlackBerry 10 launch delays; he now sees revenue totaling $18.1 billion and EPS coming in at $3.00, down from $20.0 billion and earnings of $4.30 per share.

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