John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Analyst: RIM Vulnerable Ahead of OS Transition

The all-new QNX operating system that will debut on Research in Motion’s forthcoming PlayBook tablet may well rejuvinate the BlackBerry when it replaces the smartphone’s aging BlackBerry OS. And it may herald a promising new period for the company, but only after RIM has negotiated a potentially painful transition.

Depending on how long it takes, the switch to QNX could cause RIM to suffer some share loss in the smartphone market, particularly its high end. That’s the theory put forth by Canaccord Genuity analyst Mike Walkley, who believes RIM’s going to have a tough time maintaining market share in higher-end smartphones given the execution risks involved in rolling out a new OS and related portfolio of products.

Says Walkley, “We believe RIM will likely lose high-end smartphone market share and higher-end North American subscribers over the next several quarters due to limited new high-end product launches ahead of new QNX smartphones combined with improving competitive smartphone offerings such as the Samsung and HTC Android based smartphones at most carriers.”

And the iPhone, likely launching at Verizon early next year, won’t make things any easier. The PlayBook, of course, has and will continue to drive upside in the months ahead–assuming its launch goes smoothly and it is as well-received as investors seem to hope. But it too faces rivals formidable enough that Walkley doesn’t see it selling much more than 1.75 million units in C2011.

“We believe the PlayBook will struggle to compete against the iPad given the large ecosystem of applications for the iPad and the form factor and GUI of the iPad versus the PlayBook,” he concludes. “Further, we anticipate several Android-based tablets launching in 2011 at very aggressive price points and potentially running the Android 3.0 (Gingerbread version) and we anticipate an increasingly competitive environment.”