updated 08:45 am EDT, Mon July 12, 2010
BBerry OS 6 devices may see huge delay for CDMA
Devices running BlackBerry OS 6.0 may not reach CDMA networks until next year, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu said in a research note today. Industry sources said that the OS is in "beta testing" and should ship with its first GSM device, likely the BlackBerry 9800, before the end of September. CDMA devices, however, aren't so far and could be three to six months behind, pushing their launches either to the end of the year or early 2011.
The strategy would be meant to get the OS out to as many customers as possible, as up to four fifths of the world uses GSM and would give RIM the quickest possible reach. However, it could also further damage what's left of RIM's Verizon's share, Wu said. The rise of Android has largely overshadowed the BlackBerry on the US provider and has seen BlackBerries shrink from 40 percent of RIM's revenue to just 10 to 15 percent.
It's already known AT&T will be the first carrier for the 9800 in the US. The only CDMA-based OS 6.0 device known so far is the BlackBerry 9670.
Regardless of carrier, the analyst has heard from pre-release testers that BlackBerry OS 6.0 may help overcome RIM's recent decline in smartphone share. It "doesn't break new ground," according to one source, but the introduction of a much more modern-looking interface and a long overdue modern, WebKit-based browser could accelerate sales. Faster-growing competitors such as Apple and Google have had WebKit browsers from the start and are known for having significantly better touchscreen interfaces and much larger app stores.
RIM hasn't commented on the accuracy of the apparent leaks but typically hasn't been willing to comment on rumors. During its most recent fiscal results call, however, it dropped strong hints of two upcoming phones that may represent both the 9800 and 9670.