updated 08:40 am EST, Tue December 21, 2010
Verizon said seeing iPhone as critical to plans
Verizon considers the iPhone as "essential to its future success," Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu said on Tuesday. Receiving further updates from purported sources, he understood that Verizon is "excited" to launch the iPhone. The carrier allegedly still believes that Apple is vital to offsetting slowing Android sales.
Wu gave a wide launch first-half 2011 timeframe for a CDMA iPhone launch, though most expect it to happen early next year. The beliefs have been widespread enough that Motorola is anticipating a Verizon iPhone in that timeframe.
The researcher added that RIM's BlackBerry plans at the carrier may be accelerated beyond just the BlackBerry 6 updates anticipated for early 2011. AT&T's exclusive on the Torch may expire with the end of 2010 and could see a CDMA version by March, Wu said. He also acknowledged that it could be another full-touchscreen BlackBerry, such as the Storm3, that reaches the network.
The Storm3 or 9570 may be just a mild revision of the Storm2 with BlackBerry 6 and more RAM, although some rumors have pointed to it or a completely new model having a much larger screen and a new design.
Wu downplayed RIM's 14.2 million BlackBerry shipments and said that, while the company was undervalued, there were concerns both that it might not transition easily to BlackBerry 6 and BlackBerry Tablet OS and still has to face a "competitive overhang" in the near future from Apple, Google and others.