If you’re waiting for new devices to spark a rebound in Research In Motion‘s financial performance, you’re going to have to wait. And wait.
RIM has said it will unveil its first BlackBerry 10-based devices on January 30. But Boston-based research firm Detwiler Fenton asserted in a research note this morning that the first touch-screen BB10 phone won’t appear in the U.S. until March – and that the QWERTY keyboard version won’t debut until June.
“RIM’s stock has been on a tear recently thanks to a number of upgrades and optimism surrounding its upcoming BB10 platform,” the firm writes in a note to clients. “However, as we dig a little deeper, there appears to be a few issues that could set up for some disappointing numbers in the 2013 first half.”
Detwiler asserts that they “understand” that the QWERTY deice won’t debut until June.
AT&T and T-Mobile are not expected to launch BB10 devices until March, the firm says.
Verizon and Sprint are targeting a May debut, the repot contends.
“Therefore, it is possible RIMM’s February quarter may only see a very small number of BB10 sales with the May quarter also coming in light due to limited QWERTY keyboard shipments and limited shipments to Sprint and Verizon,” Detwiler writers. “It’s our opinion RIM will ship approximately 400,000 BB10 units in the February quarter and 2.2 million to 2.5 million units in the May quarter. While this is clearly a North American / developed market view, we think this is the right way to look at the 2013 first half because the initial BB10 handsets are higher end and not targeted for emerging markets.”
Detwiler says the reasons for the delayed QWERTY launch are not clear, but that it will be “a serious problem for RIMM in its efforts to stop the bleeding and stabilize the business…we simply don’t see much of an upgrade cycle for RIMM from its legacy QWERTY devices to full touch screen devices.”
The research firm adds that they are skeptical about how much success RIMM will have in the consumer sector given competitive threats from Samsung, Apple and Microsoft – a lack of interest from developers. “Our checks with major application developers indicate there is limited interest in the platform with it ranking 4th in priority among the major operating systems,” Detwiler contends.