New BlackBerry Phones Fall Short

Research in Motion unveiled its new BlackBerry line-up, but analysts aren’t so sure the new portfolio will be able to compete with Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android devices.

Investors are concerned with RIM’s problems delivering new models, chiefly the difficultly launching BlackBerry OS 7 products.

“The launch in late August is still painfully late after having been delayed multiple times earlier this summer,” said an analyst from research from Caris. “With BlackBerry OS 7 still only evolutionary before more critical QNX super-phones, we wouldn’t expect more than a couple quarters of upgrade before new phone execution matter again.”

“We don’t think new Bolds and Torches will turn the ship around,” said MKM Partners. “The company needs to make a big splash with the QNX OS and new form factors next year.”

RIM’s BlackBerry Torch 9810, or Torch 2, features a 3.2-inch touch screen with a slide-out keyboard, 1.2-gigahertz processor, 5-megapixel camera and 8-gigabytes of built in storage. It will be released in August.

Meanwhile, the Torch 9860, a full touch screen device, and Bold 9900, similar to the Torch 2, will arrive later in the year. All of the devices will run RIM’s BlackBerry OS 7.

Analysts also worry the new phones won’t get enough push from carriers, citing improved speed but a browsing experience inferior to Android and is.

“We do not believe carriers will put extensive marketing dollars behind the new handsets,” said Peter Mikes, an analyst at Jefferies & Co.

Analysts echo the criticisms and challenges facing RIM, which has failed to keep apace as the market swayed toward app-centric touch screen devices.

RIM’s new handsets, with more robust specs and touch screens, show a step in the right direction, but it may not be enough to significantly reverse its troubles. The company has lost market share to its rivals, sparking discontent in its employee ranks, necessitating layoffs due to dropping profits, and prompting calls for changes in its leadership structure. RIM aims to turn around its fortunes on its new QNX devices, but its interim product line may not keep the gap from widening.

This post originally appeared at Mobiledia.

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