RIM's New BlackBerries -- D.O.A.
RIM hit a new five-year low Wednesday as the company announced its delayed new BlackBerry lineup.
The flailing Ontario tech shop introduced three phones -- an updated BlackBerry Torch, the long-awaited touchscreen Bold, and a touchscreen Torch with no keyboard. And the real kicker was the little detail about how the sales launch would begin later this month.
The late arrival punctuates what has been a jarring collapse this year of the formerly beloved BlackBerry maker. RIM missed a crucial turn in the smartphone market and management has been seen as ineffective in its response.The new phones will finally fill in a gaping product void for RIM. But the new BlackBerry 7 operating system can be seen as little more than a placeholder as the company and investors await the next generation of QNX devices that are aimed to compete more directly with leaders like Apple (AAPL) and Google's (GOOG) Android system. RIM's situation is very similar to Nokia's (NOK). The Finnish phone giant is losing market share and suffering revenue erosion as its current phones fail to hold consumer interest as everyone awaits its new-generation Microsoft Windows Phone 7 devices, which should start to arrive later this year. The new crop of BlackBerries are headed to AT&T (T), T-Mobile and Sprint (S), with Verizon (VZ) apparently and curiously left out of the mix. Company representatives said the phones are still "going through certification with Verizon." RIM shares fell briefly Wednesday to $24.10, a five-year low, but the shares subsequently bounced up 2% later in the pre-market session. --Written by Scott Moritz in New York.
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