Research In Motion: Next-Generation BlackBerry Delayed Until End Of 2012

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Research In Motion (RIM), the makers of BlackBerry handsets, have revealed that its much-vaunted next generation of smartphones will not be released until at least the end of 2012.

The embattled company has recently seen its marketshare fall at the hands of Apple's iPhone and Android-based devices. RIM also had to fire two executives who were reported to have behaved inappropriately after drinking heavily on a business flight.

RIM added to its woes on its earnings call on Thursday by announcing that its new BB10 operating system would be delayed.

According to RIM, the processors that will be required to power its new OS won't be available for 12 months.

The company also announced a mixed set of financial results, revealing that profits have fallen by more than a quarter, even as its subscriber numbers have risen by 35% year-on-year to 75 million, and revenue is up 24%.

RIM admitted that it had sold just 150,000 of its PlayBook tablets, compared to Apple which shipped more than 11m iPads in the last quarter alone.

RIM was criticised for releasing the PlayBook without an email client, a problem it said it would address by the summer but which has now been pushed back until Februrary.

Joint CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie said that they would forgo their salaries for the year, which are estimated to be more than $1m each, after the most "trying" quarter in its history.

RIM's shares fell in after-hours trading following the announcement. The latest drop follows a year of losses which have seen its stocks tumble from around $60 to below $16 in just 12 months.

Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Partners in New York, told Bloomberg that there was little market confidence that the new BlackBerry OS would succeed where others had failed.

"Why should we think the platform is going to get traction?" he said.

During the earnings call, Lazaridis said:

"The processor we selected [for BB10] offers industry-leading power and efficiency that also allows us to deliver the industrial design that we believe is critical to success in this market segment. This chipset will not be available until mid-2012, and as a result of this and certain other factors, we now expect our first BlackBerry 10 smartphone to come to market in the latter part of calendar 2012.

"In the meantime, we believe our strong BlackBerry 7 portfolio will continue to drive adoption of BlackBerry around the world. We also believe there's an opportunity to accelerate adoption in the United States through the aggressive marketing and promotional programs we discussed earlier, as well as marketing designed to drive adoption of services such as BBM and Mobile Fusion. We ask for your patience and confidence, and look forward to reporting further progress in the coming quarters."

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