A ‘two-horse’ Smartphone race emerges between Apple and Samsung

Research In Motion’s international sales are slowing and the BlackBerry maker doesn’t have new smartphones for the competitive North American market, say analysts who are keeping expectations low for the company’s quarterly earnings.

MONTREAL — Research In Motion’s international sales are slowing and the BlackBerry maker doesn’t have new smartphones for the competitive North American market, say analysts who are keeping expectations low for the company’s quarterly earnings.

“It’s really come down to a two-horse smartphone race,” William Blair & Co. analyst Anil Doradla said Monday.

“It’s really Samsung and Apple.”

RIM (TSX:RIM) releases its fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday with new CEO Thorsten Heins delivering the results, his first set of quarterly earnings as the chief executive of the Waterloo, Ont., company. Heins took over from co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis in late January.

The Canadian tech company isn’t expected to release its BlackBerry 10 smartphones — the next-generation of BlackBerry smartphones with a new operating system based on the system in PlayBook tablet computer — until later this year.

“There’s no new products,” Doradla said from Chicago. “The current products that are out in the market, we don’t see any traction.”

A recent report said RIM had been ousted from the top spot in the Canadian smartphone market by Apple’s iPhone. The report said RIM shipped slightly more than two million BlackBerrys last year in Canada, compared with 2.85 million units for Apple.

Doradla said BlackBerrys now are an “after thought” in North American consumers’ minds, adding he doesn’t believe retail staff are pushing BlackBerrys, which is critical for sales.

“It’s that 10-minute interaction that really decides it for people and it’s not there.”

International sales, a growth driver for RIM in recent years, are being challenged by Samsung smartphones that can be bought by consumers overseas for $100 with an iPhone-type experience, Doradla said.

In China, India and Indonesia, a BlackBerry smartphone is more expensive, he said.

UBS analyst Phillip Huang said he expects another tough quarter for RIM.

He estimates that RIM will have shipped 11.5 million smartphones and 375,000 PlayBook tablets in the fourth quarter. RIM has sold the PlayBook at discounts to reduce inventory.

“We continue to expect a tough transition over the next couple of quarters for RIM and remain on the sidelines,” Huang said in a research note.

Analysts’ estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters put revenue at $4.79 billion for the fourth quarter and earnings per share of 91 cents.

That compares to fourth-quarter earnings of $1.78 per diluted share and revenue totalling US$5.56 billion during the quarter a year earlier.

New York-based Jeffries analyst Peter Misek said sales of RIM’s less expensive BlackBerrys have suffered “across geographies” except for Asia.

“We believe RIM’s low-end handset sales trends have continued to deteriorate in North America, Latin America and Europe,” Misek said in a research note.

“In particular, sales in Europe decreased significantly towards the end of the quarter. We believe this is very negative as sales outside of the U.S. had typically been more resilient. Our checks indicate that sales in Asia seem to be okay.”

The more expensive BlackBerrys continue to face competition from the iPhone and smartphones with Google’s Android operating system, Misek said.

“We believe higher-end handsets are doing poorly outside of enterprise sales with continued iPhone 4S and Android momentum (especially Samsung) causing issues.”

Doradla said new CEO Heins is still an unproven quantity.

“There is nothing that leads me to believe he is going to turn this company around or vice versa. What he is inheriting is a tough position to be in.”

Shares in Research In Motion were up 33 cents, or 2.4 per cent, to $14 in afternoon trading Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City council will have to wait longer to hear back from administration on possible alternative sites — if the homeless shelter is moved from Red Deer downtown. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
Alternative sites for homeless shelter will be explored by the City of Red Deer

Council gave administration more time to return with a report

Quentin Lee Strawberry Photo from RCMP
O’Chiese man found not guilty of 2019 stabbing death of Red Deer man

Quentin Strawberry found guilty of assaulting murdered man’s common-law partner

(Advocate file photo).
City of Red Deer property tax bills are in the mail

Red Deer 2021 tax notices are on their way Red Deer property… Continue reading

"They’re angry. They’re frustrated,” Alberta Teachers’ Association president Jason Schilling says of his members, whose pension assets have been transferred to a provincial Crown corporation. (Photo contributed)
Only 17% of Albertans support draft curriculum: teachers’ association

Fewer than one-in-five Albertans support the provincial government’s draft K-6 curriculum, says… Continue reading

‘Dear Future Children’ takes top audience prize at Hot Docs film festival

‘Dear Future Children’ takes top audience prize at Hot Docs film festival

FILE - Signage promoting the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards and NBC appears in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Jan. 5, 2020. NBC said Monday that will not air the Golden Globes in 2022. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
Amid outcry, NBC says it will not air Golden Globes in 2022

Amid outcry, NBC says it will not air Golden Globes in 2022

RCMP officers work at the scene after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. Homicide investigators expect to release more information about a deadly shooting in Burnaby on Saturday that police say could be linked to a similar slaying at Vancouver's airport just one day later. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘We will do everything we can,’ B.C. police say to reassure public amid gang violence

‘We will do everything we can,’ B.C. police say to reassure public amid gang violence

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, Wednesday, May 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
US ship fires warning shots in encounter with Iranian boats

US ship fires warning shots in encounter with Iranian boats

A Palestinian protester does a handstand next to a fire which was set on a road during clashes with Israeli police near Damascus Gate just outside Jerusalem's Old City, Sunday, May 9, 2021. Israeli police have been clashing with Palestinian protesters almost nightly in the holy city's worst religious unrest in several years. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Hamas launches new attack on Israel after Jerusalem clashes

Hamas launches new attack on Israel after Jerusalem clashes

Bloc leader Yves-Francois Blanchet holds a news conference before Question Period, Monday, May 10, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
NDP join Liberals to cut short debate, move pandemic election bill forward

NDP join Liberals to cut short debate, move pandemic election bill forward

Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at LifeLabs after being logged upon receipt at the company's lab, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Iqaluit elders home evacuated after staff member tests positive for COVID-19

Iqaluit elders home evacuated after staff member tests positive for COVID-19

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh listens to a question as he speaks with reporters on Parliament Hill, Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in Ottawa. Singh says he believes there's a connection between anti-mask and anti-lockdown protests and far-right extremism. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Pandemic of hate’: Leaders, experts warn anti-lockdown protests linked to far right

‘Pandemic of hate’: Leaders, experts warn anti-lockdown protests linked to far right

Most Read