The launch of Research in Motion's latest BlackBerry devices, which run on the company's OS 7, give the company a window to grab back some market share. The potential of the new BlackBerry prompted Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu to upgrade RIM shares to buy from neutral.
Wu's still uncertain about RIM's long-term picture, but is finding that BlackBerry OS 7 devices are likely to sell well. The Bold 9900 and Torch 9810 should do well and a full touchscreen Torch and latest Curve device should give RIM a boost. "RIM has undoubtedly lost some customers but for loyalists still using 2-3 year old models, these refined updates are a worthy upgrade," said Wu.
Analysts have been coming around to the notion that RIM isn't a dead smartphone maker after all.
The larger question is what rival will suffer at RIM's expense. Wu argued that RIM can capitalize on Nokia's transition to Windows Phone 7. Wu noted that Nokia and Microsoft will focus on the international markets first and come to North America in 2012. That rollout plan gives RIM a nice window of opportunity.
We are picking up from our industry checks that its launch in North America will not likely happen until 2012. The reason is that Nokia and Microsoft plan to launch internationally first where Nokia is stronger before entering the highly competitive North America market. We believe this gives RIM a window of opportunity. In addition, in our conservation with carriers, they are increasingly concerned with the growing dominance of Google and Apple and want a viable No. 3 alternative. We believe RIM benefits being the incumbent and with now a stronger product set.
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