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BlackBerry OS 10 Smartphones ‘Delayed until late 2012’

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Canadian brokerage firms indicate that RIM’s next generation smartphones will be delayed

RIM’s share price has dropped significantly after reports surfaced that smartphones running the next generation Blackberry 10 mobile operating system will be delayed until late 2012.

The news follows disappointing third quarter results and has raised speculation that the company could be split up amid revived calls for the departures of co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsille.

Testing times

Analysts at Canadian brokerage National Bank Financial wrote to its clients to tell them that BlackBerry 10 smartphones would be delayed, while other firms cut price targets and ratings on RIM shares, which dropped by 12 percent.

“It seems unlikely RIM will have large volumes of its BB10 devices on sale within 15 months,” said Nomura analyst Stuart Jeffrey.

RIM had high hopes for BlackBerry 10, which it hoped would allow the company to recover some of its market share from devices running Android and iOS, in particular the iPhone 4S. The delay allows its rivals another year to further erode its share, along with a revived Nokia.

Last week, RIM reported lower than expected third quarter revenues and announced that its co-CEO’s salaries would be reduced to just one dollar. Revenues of £3.5 billion were up 24 percent from the previous quarter, but were down by six percent from the same quarter last year, while net income fell 71 percent year-on-year to £171m.

This followed poor sales of the company’s BlackBerry Playbook tablet and a worldwide BlackBerry data service outage which caused substantial damage to RIM’s reputation.

Superphones to the rescue?

It was hoped that the arrival of BlackBerry 10 OS would revive the company’s fortunes, but delays to the QNX-powered handsets will come as no surprise to analysts who predicted that the new “superphones” would be delayed until 2012.

Few details about the software have been made public, but it has been revealed that it will support applications for the BlackBerry Playbook tablet, while supposedly leaked images and rumours have suggested that the first device running the operating system will have a 1.5 GHz processor, an eight megapixel camera and will be known as the “Surfboard”.

However, even naming the software was been fraught with problems for RIM, after it was told it could not call it by its original name, ‘BBX’ after software company Basis International, who claimed it owned the trademark, won an injunction against the company.