RIM Laps Up BlackBerry 10 Love

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Shares of Research In Motion ( RIMM) made big gains on Friday as the embattled Canadian handset maker received some much-needed love ahead of its forthcoming BlackBerry 10 launch.

On Wednesday, before the market's Thanksgiving break, National Bank Financial analyst Kris Thompson increased his RIM price target to $15 from $12, citing investor opportunities ahead of BlackBerry 10's arrival next year.

RIM confirmed earlier this month that its much-delayed BlackBerry 10 devices will debut at a launch event on Jan. 30, 2013, prompting speculation that the gadgets will be available shortly after.

"We think there is more money to be made ahead of the C2013 launch of BB10," wrote Thompson. "The new RIM management team is executing by maintaining the BlackBerry subscriber base, managing costs and cash, seemingly readying a February 2013 BB10 global platform launch."

Most analysts, he added, were expecting a March launch.

Thompson increased his estimate for RIM's BlackBerry 10 shipments in fiscal 2014 to 35.5 million units from 31.6 million units. "The shipment boost reflects about one more month of BB10 product availability plus a little extra for the positive sentiment building in the industry following our discussions."

RIM shares, which have tumbled more than 20% this year, rose 12.23% to $11.50 on Friday.

National Bank's Thompson is not the only analyst reappraising RIM.

On Tuesday, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek upgraded RIM to hold, citing strong carrier support for BlackBerry 10.

"Preliminary results from our quarterly handset survey indicate developed market carriers have a much more positive view of BB10 than we expected," he wrote, in a note. "With greater carrier shelf space and marketing support, we now believe BB10 has a 20%-30% probability of success."

The analyst also raised his RIM price target to $10 from $5.

Rocked by delayed product launches and fierce competition from Apple's ( AAPL) phenomenally successful iPhone and Google ( GOOG) Android devices, the stakes for BlackBerry 10 are extremely high.

Nonetheless, more than 57% of respondents to a recent poll by TheStreet said that RIM will find salvation in BlackBerry 10. Just over 33% of respondents believe that this is unlikely, noting that the company's problems are too big.

RIM showed off a prototype of its next-generation BlackBerry smartphone, dubbed the Dev Alpha B, at its BlackBerry Jam event in September.

Key features of BlackBerry 10 include BlackBerry Flow, which allows "seamless navigation" across open applications, according to the Waterloo, Ontario-based firm. RIM is also making a song and dance about BlackBerry Hub, which consolidates messages, notifications, feeds, and calendar events. The Hub lets users access these services with a simple gesture, regardless of what they are doing with the device.

Other new features include BlackBerry Keyboard, which RIM's touting as a way to help users type faster and more accurately, and BlackBerry Balance, which keeps personal apps and information separate from work data.

RIM said that its Jan. 30 launch event will happen simultaneously in multiple countries around the world. As well as marking the official launch of the new BlackBerry 10 platform, RIM will also unveil its first two BlackBerry 10 smartphones.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com. was a gainer in pre-market trading on Wednesday, rising 1.51% to $148.1 after the company's third-quarter earnings beat, announced on Tuesday.

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