Research In Motion (RIMM) is gearing up for a series of make-or-break releases that could be considered the most important device launches in the company’s history. Everything is riding on the success of the RIM’s BlackBerry 10 platform, which will be unveiled in its finished state on January 30th next year. RIM CEO Thorsten Heins is on record confirming that BlackBerry 10 will launch in the first quarter and company COO Kristian Tear previously stated new BlackBerry devices will be available “not too long after” the platform is unveiled late next month, but exact timing is still a mystery. According to Boston-based brokerage firm Detwiler Fenton, however, RIM’s first two BlackBerry 10 handsets won’t launch until March and June, respectively.
“RIM’s stock has been on a tear recently thanks to a number of upgrades and optimism surrounding its upcoming BB10 platform,” Detwiler analysts wrote in a note to clients picked up by Forbes. “However, as we dig a little deeper, there appears to be a few issues that could set up for some disappointing numbers in the 2013 first half.”
The firm goes on state that AT&T (T) and T-Mobile will launch the first BlackBerry 10 smartphone some time in March, while Verizon Wireless (VZ) and Sprint (S) are targeting May launches. Detwiler also states that the second BlackBerry 10 smartphone, which will feature a touchscreen and a full QWERTY keyboard, might not launch until June.
“Therefore, it is possible RIMM’s February quarter may only see a very small number of BB10 sales with the May quarter also coming in light due to limited QWERTY keyboard shipments and limited shipments to Sprint and Verizon,” the firm continued. “It’s our opinion RIM will ship approximately 400,000 BB10 units in the February quarter and 2.2 million to 2.5 million units in the May quarter. While this is clearly a North American / developed market view, we think this is the right way to look at the 2013 first half because the initial BB10 handsets are higher end and not targeted for emerging markets.”
When asked to comment on the Detwiler note, RIM spokesman Nick Manning reiterated the company’s earlier position. “Details of the commercial availability for BlackBerry 10 will be announced at the global launch events on January 30,” Manning said in a comment provided to BGR via email. “Our executives have made it clear that the touch screen device will be available shortly after launch with the physical keyboard version to follow shortly after that.”
BGR’s own sources were not able to provide details regarding the exact timing of RIM’s upcoming launches, however we are hearing from reliable sources that RIM’s QWERTY-equipped BlackBerry 10 smartphone will launch well ahead of the June timeframe mentioned by Detwiler.