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Barclays' downgrade of Research In Motion (RIMM -1.9%) stems from skepticism about BlackBerry...

Barclays' downgrade of Research In Motion (RIMM -1.9%) stems from skepticism about BlackBerry 10's prospects, and a belief a breakup of RIM is unlikely, given how its products are intertwined.The downgrade comes as a slide allegedly containing RIM's 2013 roadmap is leaked. The touch-only BlackBerry London is expected in Q1, as is a keyboard model codenamed Nevada. With a flurry of Windows Phone 8 launches due in Q4, it won't be easy for BB10 to carve a niche.
Comments (7)
  • SoldHigh
    , contributor
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    Innovate or die
    3 Jul 2012, 01:59 PM Reply Like
  • TomasViewPoint
    , contributor
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    Innovate late and die too.
    3 Jul 2012, 02:35 PM Reply Like
  • Herr Hansa
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    There is an idea that most smartphone sales occur in Q4, but I think that originated with iPhone launches. Samsung is proving that idea wrong with the Galaxy S III. While Q4 sales volumes are better at some smartphone vendors, they are not significantly higher than other quarters.

     

    So far there is little to indicate BlackBerry BB10 would be anything more than a "me-too" smartphone. There is active multi-tasking, but so far little proof a significant number of end users want that; MSFT will have a similar problem with Windows Phone 8. Unless RIMM leak some information about what else they are working on with BB10, it appears little different than most slab screen rectangles already coming to market.
    3 Jul 2012, 04:04 PM Reply Like
  • bedrock65
    , contributor
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    The risk of releasing BB10 information too early is that you'll kill BB7 sales and they need the cashflow that's it's generating.
    3 Jul 2012, 05:37 PM Reply Like
  • Herr Hansa
    , contributor
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    I was thinking more along a few different lines with the lack of leaks, especially considering some past hardware leaks from RIMM. First is that a preview could be accomplished near the end of 2012, which would be a little like what MSFT has done with those Surface tablets, showing devices a few months before they ship. Second is that they are trying to adopt an AAPL strategy of being more secretive, though it does not seem their is rabid anticipation to wait for BB10 devices amongst BlackBerry fans. Third is that they may have some technology which is not now in use, and they don't want to tip off competitors.

     

    It is interesting that the recent GOOG Android Jelly Bean showed a predictive virtual keyboard much like BB10. Also, the Scalado Tech camera feature recently bought by NOK is likely to at least appear in future NOK smartphones, though I'm not sure if HTC retained their licensing.

     

    Another set of weird numbers to consider. So far there have been just under 94 million iPhones sold in total. I don't have any information on how many are still in use. There are currently 78 million BlackBerry users, though RIMM indicate nearly half of those are BB5 and BB6 devices. The NOK Series 40 operating system recently saw a surge in volume, which tells us something else about emerging markets, another area where a low priced entry level BlackBerry was recently released. Why did feature phone sales volume suddenly increase after a few years of declines?
    3 Jul 2012, 06:16 PM Reply Like
  • frankiethecat
    , contributor
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    go to any cell ph shop in a residential area and they'll tell you that more low end phones are being sold, in fact more low end droid phones are being sold than more expensive iPhones and Blackberrys.

     

    At a recent Father's day weekend sale at T-mobile that advertised free 4G phones with 2 year activation, droid phones were the big seller because they were much lower priced and hardly any Blackberry phones were sold because they are too expensive for consumers. (but I upgraded to a Bold 9900 anyway but had to pay $100 which I will get back as a rebate).

     

    There is alot of demand for smartphones that play videos, play mp3's, take photos except that most folks can't afford higher end phones and end up buying lower cost, low end smartphones.

     

    Higher gas and utility bills coupled with lower wages across the board means most consumers have less money to spend on stuff, even in the US.
    3 Jul 2012, 10:44 PM Reply Like
  • Herr Hansa
    , contributor
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    The Nokia Series 40 are feature phones that happen to have a web browser, and not much else. They are not at the same level as smartphones. Outside the U.S. many phones are bought outright. To find a comparison in the U.S. one can see the phones available through Boost, Cricket, Virgin, and other pre-pay plans, where the phone needs to be purchased outright. Best I could tell the increase from Series 40 was mostly outside the U.S. It's an interesting trend.

     

    What happens in the U.S. mobile phone market is not a precursor of the same patterns outside the U.S. Carrier plans are different, rates are different, and often smartphones must be completely purchased. Trends outside the U.S. indicate people hold onto their mobile phones for longer periods of time, except in Japan where turn-over is even higher. The world-wide mobile and smartphone landscape is far more varied than data for U.S. markets can predict, and as Apple's recent sales volumes from China suggest, investors need to look beyond the borders of the U.S. to make decisions.
    3 Jul 2012, 11:30 PM Reply Like
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