Comparing the BlackBerry Bold and iPhone is misguided because Research In Motion Ltd.’s (RIMM) 3G smartphone is targeted at upgraders, professional consumers and business users, while Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) popular device focuses on media-centric consumers. It’s kind of like comparing steak and lobster, RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky told clients. They’re both tasty, but offer completely different experiences.
For productivity-centric buyers, the Bold may be preferable to iPhone, whose touchscreen may deter frequent email users.
He added that the Bold should also offer superior, IT-approved work e-mail integration.
In terms of pricing, the analyst said the cost of the Bold in North America is acceptable for healthy uptake. While the iPhone goes for C$199, the BlackBerry Bold is priced at C$399 from Rogers Communications Inc. (NYSE:RCI) and a yet-to-be determined amount at AT&T (NYSE:T). Mr. Abramsky expects RIM’s touchscreen Thunder will be unveiled in September with a launch in October and it will cost the same or less than the iPhone.
With the global smartphone market estimated to grow from 100 million users today to 400 million by 2010, it appears that there will be enough customers to go around for both Apple and RIM. Pitting them against each other misses the real opportunity, which is to take market share from incumbents like Motorola Inc. and Nokia Oyj, the analyst noted.
He forecasts RIM will grow its market share to 3% in 2009, up from 1% in 2007, while each 1% of the global handset market adds 40% to its revenue and earnings per share.
Mr. Abramsky rates RIM shares at “outperform” with a $165 price target.