BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIMM) (CA: RIM) was lowered to neutral from outperform by R.W. Baird, with the broker expecting further share gains from Android-based devices as well as the iPhone. Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM) shipped a record number of devices in its fiscal first quarter, but that wasn’t enough to allay fears that the BlackBerry maker is losing ground in the fast-growing smartphone market.
During RIM’s earnings call late Thursday, RIM co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie said the company will be introducing two new products either late in the current quarter or early in the third quarter. The timing of the releases could affect RIM’s forecasts, including revenue and average selling price, he said. However, ultimately, the devices will help drive growth and improve RIM’s competitive position in North America, which has been hurt by intense competition from Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) iPhone and a slew of devices running on Google Inc.’s (GOOG) Android-operating system.
The introduction of tiered-pricing plans by carriers will also help spur growth, Balsillie added.
Balsillie didn’t confirm plans for a hybrid device consisting of a touch screen and slide-out keyboard, something that is widely anticipated by the Street. He did say that the upcoming products and underlying operating system amount to a “quantum leap” over what is currently available in the smartphone market. “I just wish I could wind the clock forward a few weeks,” he said. “I couldn’t feel better.”
Balsillie said RIM’s international business continues to grow “very, very well.” International sales, the main driver of growth for RIM in recent quarters, now accounts for 40% of the company’s overall subscriber base. He also said RIM’s online application store, BlackBerry App World, is generating 1 million downloads per day. The next-generation of App World will offer carrier and credit card billing, he said.