If Research In Motion were a ship, it would be springing one leak after another, while trying to reach port just over the horizon. On Friday, stock prices of the beleaguered mobile -device maker fell as much as 10 percent, as the company said that the launch of its next-generation smartphone , the BlackBerry 10, will ship in the latter part of 2012 instead of the previously-announced first half.
In its third-quarter report released Thursday, RIM said revenue was 24 percent up from the previous quarter, but, year-over-year net income was down 71 percent. About 14 million BlackBerry smartphones were shipped, meeting expectations, as well as about 150,000 PlayBook tablets. Total subscribers, now about 75 million customers, is up 35 percent from last year.
RIM said the BlackBerry 10 delay was because the dual-core LTE chipset in the new phones will not be ready until the middle of June. Market observers attributed the stock price hit to the newly announced delay.
RIM has not specified which chip it has chosen, but some industry observers have noted that a Qualcomm chip, the first one to actually integrate LTE capabilities and possibly the one selected, will be available to other device makers by early 2012.
Others have questioned whether this next-generation smartphone line, which is seen as critical to getting RIM back into a healthy market position, should be entirely based on high-speed Long-Term Evolution data compatibility, especially since the overwhelmingly majority of RIM's sales are outside the U.S., where the transition to LTE/4G is not as advanced.
The BlackBerry 10 delay is only the latest in a string of strikes and misses that have befallen the Waterloo, Ontario-based company, once a leader in mobile devices. Earlier this month, for instance, a federal judge ordered the company to change the name of its new BBX operating system because of a trademark dispute with a New Mexico-based company. BBX, which was unveiled in October, is being renamed the BlackBerry 10 OS.
Troubles Keep Coming
BBX was the name RIM gave to the QNX operating system, which it acquired when it bought the developer in 2010. Under pressure to update its operating system to compete with the fast moving competition offered by Apple's iOS and Google's Android , it launched the QNX-based PlayBook tablet in the spring of this year. (continued...)
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