• Wealth and poverty

    True riches would be to create a safe and satisfied community for all South Africans.

  • SABC shenanigans

    SA has already embarked on a slippery slope to autocracy, warns Terry Bell in Inside Labour.

  • Zim tastes people power

    Protests in Zimbabwe are forcing Mugabe to face anti-government sentiment, says Memory Mataranyika.

All data is delayed
See More

RIM launches two new BlackBerry phones

Aug 03 2011 19:13
Toronto - Research In Motion went on the offensive on Wednesday, unveiling two new and powerful versions of its touchscreen BlackBerry Torch, including an all-touch model, as it seeks to regain ground lost to Apple and Google.

The new phones, along with an upgrade to its Bold model shown earlier, are part of what the Canadian company called the biggest global launch in its history as it seeks to claw back North American market share from Apple’s iPhone and a slew of devices running on Google’s Android software.

The refreshed lineup is designed to buy RIM time until it introduces a radically new software package for its smartphones next year.

Investors reacted favorably, pushing RIM’s deflated stock price up 5% by midday.

“RIM’s new BlackBerry smartphones could well be the most important devices in the Canadian smart device vendor’s history, following a recent slowdown in device shipments, staff cuts and doubts over the company’s strategy and leadership,” Ovum analyst Tony Cripps said.

RIM is slashing 2 000 jobs from its global workforce to reduce costs and streamline operations after posting a fall in profit and a dismal earnings outlook in its last quarterly report.

The three touchscreen phones, running on the new BlackBerry OS 7, boast improved screen displays and pack a 1.2 GHz processor from Qualcomm, the most powerful ever for a BlackBerry phone. They also have a dedicated graphics processor that should make video and gaming sharper and more responsive.

The browser is 40% faster than the original Torch, RIM’s last major phone launch, which hit shelves almost a year ago.

All three devices will be launched by carriers around the world by the end of August, RIM said. The slider Torch will be exclusive to AT&T in the United States, the carrier said.

The all-touch Torch is RIM’s first attempt at the popular style since two versions of its Storm model failed to excite.

“It’s definitely an acknowledgement that there are people that want that full-touch device,” RIM’s newly promoted global head of sales, Patrick Spence, said in a phone interview.

Looking ahead  

The timing could boost RIM’s earnings for the quarter ending in late August as it sells the phones to carriers, but evidence of uptake among users won’t be available until the following quarter.

Since Co-Chief Executive Mike Lazaridis has already promised “superphones” next year using the QNX-based operating system that runs RIM’s PlayBook tablet computer, analysts are looking beyond this launch.

“This is a necessary product refresh in advance of the big bang that we hope and expect will happen with QNX-based phones,” said John Jackson, vice-president of research at CCS Insight.

RIM shipped 13.2 million phones in the three months to late May, its first fall in shipments from a previous quarter since at least mid-2007, as it pushed this launch back to August.

RIM’s aging hardware and software have looked increasing outdated as manufacturers such as Motorola, Samsung and HTC push out sleek, large-touchscreen devices using Android and its extensive offering of applications.

The slider Torch looks identical to the original touchscreen device with a slideout Qwerty keyboard, but it packs more powerful insides.

The Bold upgrade includes a near-field communications (NFC) chip to turn the phone into a mobile wallet. It was first shown at RIM’s BlackBerry World conference in May.

RIM’s North American market share has fallen in the past year as high-end Android devices proliferate and US carrier Verizon added Apple’s iPhone to its lineup. Globally the fall has been less severe, but from a smaller starting point, according to data compiled by research firms CCS Insight and Gartner.

US sales accounted for less than 27% of RIM’s revenue in the most recent quarter, down from 50% a year earlier, as international markets picked up some of the slack.

“What would constitute success for these guys is essentially holding the fort,” CCS’s Jackson said. “A stop-loss outcome would be a success for these products in developed markets.”

Shares of Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM have dropped 65% from their peak in February as the company’s earnings and outlook missed expectations and its PlayBook failed to dent the iPad’s dominance of the tablet market.

The stock was up more than a dollar at $25.37 on the Nasdaq and at C$24.47 on the Toronto Stock Exchange at midday on Wednesday. It closed on Tuesday at its lowest level in five years, giving the company a market capitalization of $12.7bn.

google  |  research in motion ltd  |  apple inc  |  ict  |  blackberry



Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Company Snapshot

We're talking about:


Saving can make a lot of things possible, but we all know how hard it is to save. This special Savings Issue will help you get focused.

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

Sarb's decision to keep the repo rate unchanged is:

Previous results · Suggest a vote