updated 11:00 am EDT, Fri September 9, 2011
Jefferies analyst sees RIM too fast on BBerry Colt
RIM's self-proclaimed "superphone" based on its new QNX platform, unofficially known as the BlackBerry Colt, might be pushed too quickly into the market. Based on "checks," Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek believed on Friday that the Colt was "being rushed' with no BlackBerry Enterprise Server or possibly BlackBerry Internet Service support. The company might be following a classic technology company practice of speeding up its timing solely to have a device to show for CES in January, something that Misek saw as a potentially fatal mistake.
"We think a QNX phone without these would be a disaster," the analyst said.
The design is rumored to still have Microsoft Exchange support, but it would then lose the tight encryption and other security features that have been a selling point for RIM. At that point, it wouldn't have any significant edge in messaging over an iPhone or certain Android phones.
Misek was more optimistic about the existing BlackBerry 7 phone line, though still cautious. Real-world sales of phones like the Torch 9810 and Bold 9900 are thought to be "just okay," mostly out of hesitance on the part of carriers. Older models' sales were understandably declining, he said.
The Jefferies estimate had RIM roughly on target for its lowered expectations, at about 12 million BlackBerry phones shipped, but that it might miss its revenue targets. Performance for the fall quarter would go up, but it could be hurt if there are "underwhelming" follow-up orders from carriers. Misek thought that RIM would grow just modestly to 13 million phones shipped in the period, but that it might try to high-ball the count and forecast 14 million to 15 million.
RIM has had one of its most aggressive smartphone launches ever in the past month, shipping several BlackBerry variants in a matter of a few weeks to many of its core countries. They all represent major improvements in performance and features but are still using RIM's legacy OS and don't compare at the high end to Android or the iPhone as well. A looming concern for most is the impending iPhone 5 as well as the US-bound Galaxy S II, both of which will be on another level of features but cost as much or less.