Research In Motion’s last delay saw the much-anticipated BlackBerry 10 platform delayed from launching this fall until “early 2013.” And while a couple weeks ago RIM affirmed the next-gen operating system was on schedule for a first quarter release, one analyst believes RIM has pushed back the launch from the beginning of the quarter to the very end.
With time of the utmost importance for RIM right now, we expected a January launch – February at the latest. This isn’t likely anymore, claims Jefferies analyst Peter Misek in a research note to clients.
“We had hoped for a January launch but now see a March launch as more likely,” he writes.
In fairness to RIM, it never promised a January release specifically. March is still technically “on time.” But there’s no doubt that the Waterloo company knows earlier is much better, especially with some big smartphone launches this fall, including Samsung’s Note II and the new Nokia flagship device, the Lumia 920.
This is a shame for Canadians, who now want BB10 more than Android.
Peter believes there is room for a third OS in the global smartphone war but isn’t convinced BB10 is that OS.
“We still believe a third ecosystem will emerge, but the probability of BB10 filling the role is wholly dependent on whether RIM can convince Samsung, Huawei, and ZTE to license,” he says. “Baidu, Huawei, and others are pursuing their own operating systems. We also see Win 8 as somewhat of a threat but conflicting reviews, less-than-stellar developer feedback, and a desire by Microsoft to make hardware directly make Win 8.”
The analyst has an Underperform rating and a $5 target price on the stock, which is currently trading just above $8, down from a 2008 high of more than $140.