updated 12:45 pm EST, Fri November 18, 2011
Canaccord says BlackBerry 7 not keeping pace
Sales of BlackBerry 7 phones like the Bold 9900 have tapered off in the face of stiff competition, Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley said in a research note Friday. Based on "recent checks," he saw slowing sales to actual customers in the past two weeks. The drop came even with the launch of the AT&T Bold 9900.
While not directly explaining the short-term crunch, he saw RIM facing a confluence of factors for 2012. The iPhone 4S was drawing away customers, but so were less expensive Android phones and better Windows Phones. In tablets, the Amazon Kindle Fire also risked squeezing the BlackBerry PlayBook, ironically by using many of the same components.
Current BlackBerry phones are competitive in hardware but are still lagging in software, where BlackBerry 7 only just gave them 3D gaming three years after it appeared on the iPhone and many staple apps either aren't or can't be ported to the platform. BBX will modernize its platform but also isn't due until 2012 and might not be on a shipping phone until mid-2012.
BlackBerry PlayBook shipments are known to be low and have prompted steep discounts. RIM's decision to ship the PlayBook with unfinished software to have an iPad rival cost it an early chance by putting it at an automatic disadvantage to every other tablet on the market, and repeated delays in adding the feature now mean native mail won't be available until at least 10 months after the PlayBook first shipped.