The day after flashy debut of Research In Motion’s next-generation Z10
touchscreen handset find the company at the receiving end of mixed signals.
On the one hand, reviewers and customers have praised the device, which has a bigger screen than Apple’s iPhone and a more sophisticated operating system than Android.
Long term that might not mean much, but in the short term it’s dangerous to the company if a buyer wants to pick up RIM [TSX: RIM
]– soon to officially change its corporate name to BlackBerry – on the cheap. A dropping share price also doesn’t encourage buyers. On the other hand, if an offer hasn’t come now it won’t come in the next month.
The truth is the run-up in share price had nothing to do with financial fundamentals -- no new financial results have been issued since Dec. 21.
But investors are likely disappointed that the Z10 won’t start selling in the U.S. – RIM’s biggest market -- until mid-March.
Sales start today in Britain, the company’s second biggest market, and Feb. 5 in Canada. It will be available in the United Emerates on Feb 10.
Investors aren’t any happier that die-hard physical keyboard BlackBerry owners won’t see the BB10 version, called the Q10, until April.
RIM’s current financial quarter ends March 2. Financial results will be reported March 28.
However, one financial analyst told CBC-TV the handset sales aren’t the real thing to look for, suggesting that revenue from BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES 10), the new mobile management suite, is a better indicator of the company’s future.
At the Toronto launch on Wednesday RIM officials were emphasizing BES 10’s merits to enterprises as much as the glitzy Z10.
Jeff Holleran, RIM’s senior director of enterprise product management, said corporations that have been early adopters are very enthusiastic about BlackBerry Balance, the ability to separate work from personal data on users’ handsets. “It’s one of the top things that our enterprise customers have been excited about,” he said.
RIM is also emphasizing that BES 10 can manage devices running Apple’s iOS operating system and Android.
Meanwhile RIM now turns to the task of getting enterprise customers enthused about BES 10 and the new handsets.