How bad will Research In Motion be hit by not having its next-generation BlackBerry 10 handsets on the market for the holiday season?
Real bad, suggests a financial analyst who covers the wireless industry, because new handsets – dominated by Apple’s iPhone 5 are hitting store shelves.
In a report to investors on Monday, Michael Walkley of Canaccord Genuity said checks in a number of countries after Apple Inc.’s iPhone 5 launch two weeks ago confirmed the expected very strong sales.
A record 5 million iPhone 5s were sold on the first weekend of handset’s availability (including pre-orders).
By the end of the year Apple should have sold 40 million iPhone 5s, he wrote, plus another 10 million of the older – and discounted — iPhone 4s/4 models.
“We view the iPhone 5 launch ahead of BlackBerry 10 devices as a major blow to RIM’s potential recovery in 2013, given our checks indicate strong demand for the iPhone 5 from consumers and enterprises switching from BlackBerry devices,” he wrote.
“Given Apple’s aggressive iPhone 5 carrier launch plans during the December quarter,” he added, “combined with upcoming launches of several LTE smart phones from Nokia, Motorola, HTC, LG, Sony, and Samsung, we believe the global smart phone market should post much stronger sequential smart phone sales during Q4/12.”
Not part of that rush will be BB 10 handsets, which won’t be available until the first quarter of next year — after buyers have spent their holiday savings.
Meanwhile Canaccord’s checks of carriers and retailers suggests there were “minimal” BlackBerry sales last month in the U.S. and weak sales at Tier 1 carriers. Some of that may be due to BlackBerry subscribers waiting to swap their existing handsets for BB10. However, there’s no doubt a number of them are also giving up waiting and moving to other platforms.
RIM has said it will aggressively drive sales of the existing BB 7 handhelds before BB10 launches through targeted marketing and sales efforts.
Last week RIM announced financial results for the three month period ending Sept. 1, which was after Canaccord’s survey.
September wasn’t any better around the world for Nokia and HTC, Walkley also reported. Canaccord believes the sales of the Windows Phone 7-based Nokia Lumia 900 at carrier AT&T were weak during the month. WP7 is close to WinPhone 8, which will launch Oct. 26.
Walkley said he is impressed with HTC’s recently announced 8X and 8S WP8 smart phones, expected to launch at 150 carriers in 50 countries by year end. “With Microsoft featuring HTC smart phones in its upcoming ad campaigns, HTC’s Windows sales could offset its struggling Android smart phone sales and create increased competition for Nokia’s Windows Lumia smart phones,” he wrote.
He does like Nokia’s upcoming WP8 handsets, the Lumia 920/820. But Walkley believes they will only be available mid-November and in limited markets.
As for Samsung’s top-of-the-line Galaxy S III, sales in September were strong but slowing.