Friday, July 30, 2010

Research in Motion (RIMM) to Introduce BlackPad, an iPad Competitor; Might Finally be Turning Things Around

Research in Motion (RIMM) intrigues me.  For a growth-y stock it is very cheap (just over 10x 2010 earnings), but is being priced as if Apple (AAPL) is just toying with it before killing it.  Unfortunately, technology wise RIMM has been behind the times as it lacked that "touchy feely, squeeze the screen" functionality that all the kids (and apparently parents) love on their phone screens.  But they are finally coming out with one of those (Blackberry 9800).. not just to compete with with iPhone but the upper end Android phones like the Droids from Motorola (MOT).  While offering solid products, the company has lacked the sex appeal seem from Apple and Google O/S based product.  And today, a shot out of left field; RIMM has plans for an iPad competitor this November.  It will be interesting to see how it stacks up (especially where they price it versus iPad) but if these new RIMM products begin to take off, maybe the market will begin to see that RIMM is going to hold its own over the long run. 

Technically the stock has been in the desert for many moons; ever since that gap down in October 2009 it has struggled (other than a 30 day period in March 2010).  But it is showing some signs of life here - too early to make a definitive call but time to keep an eye on it, as long as the greater market can stay benign.

Via Bloomberg:
  • Research In Motion Ltd., maker of the BlackBerry smartphone, plans to introduce a tablet computer in November to compete with Apple Inc’s iPad, according to two people familiar with the company’s plans.
  • The device will have roughly the same dimensions as the iPad, which has a 9.7-inch diagonal screen, ....the device will include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless technology that will allow people to use their BlackBerry smartphones to connect to the Internet, the two people said.
  • Apple, based in Cupertino, California, last month said it sold 3 million iPad tablet computers in 80 days after they debuted in the U.S.
  • “They can’t wait for a second generation of devices from Apple or they’ll fall too far behind,” said Ashok Kumar, an analyst with Rodman & Renshaw Inc. in New York.
  • RIM plans to call the tablet Blackpad, according to one of the people familiar with the company’s plans. RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, acquired the Internet rights to this month, according to the Whois database of domain names.
  • The company is hosting an event in New York Aug. 3 at which it will debut its BlackBerry 9800 slider phone, according to one person familiar with its plans. The device will feature a full touchscreen like Apple’s iPhone and a slideout Qwerty keyboard to allow for easy e-mail typing, the person said.
  • The company plans to use the phone to regain the market share it has lost recently to its U.S. rival. RIM’s share of the smartphone market fell to 19.4 percent of global shipments in the first quarter from 20.9 percent a year earlier, according to researcher IDC, based in Framingham, Massachusetts. Apple claimed 16.1 percent of the smartphone market, up from 10.9 percent a year earlier.

Expect tablets to get very crowded very soon...
  • Korea’s LG Electronics Inc. said this month it plans to introduce a tablet computer in the fourth quarter that runs on Google Inc.’s Android software.
  • Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer said yesterday the software company plans to increase its focus on tablets.
  • Hewlett-Packard Co., the world’s biggest personal-computer maker, said it plans to produce a tablet device that runs on Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

No position

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