RBC research loves RIM Curve
Here is a summary of RBC CM’s note on Research in Motions’ (RIM:TSX) new handset. In a word, they “love” it.
“‘Curve’ Ball Over the Plate
Outperform, Above Average Risk
Positive First Impression
• Announces BlackBerry 8300 ‘Curve’. RIM today announced the 8300 ‘Curve’ multimedia handset with innovative smaller form factor and narrow curved QWERTY keyboard. The consumer-oriented handset is RIM’s first merger of the traditional Blackberry form factor with consumer-oriented features (camera, media manager/player). It is smaller and (appropriately) ‘curvier’ than the recently announced business-oriented 8800.
• Crossover Product. The 8300 appears positioned to expand RIM’s penetration further into the consumer market, it being a hybrid between the successful Pearl’s consumer multimedia features and the QWERTY keyboard-based enterprise Blackberry 8800. There are several versions expected, customized for specific carriers: 8300 ‘Baby Bear’ (Camera only), 8320 ‘Mama Bear’ (Camera, WiFi – prob for T-mobile), 83xx ‘Papa Bear’ (Camera, Wi-Fi, GPS).
• RIM Releases New Consumer Media Software/Apps. Certain features on the Curve are improved for consumer use, including an updated media player with improved usability (e.g. song selection, search, full screen video), and desktop media management (developed with media vendor Roxio) with sideloading (USB to PC) and media organization (rip, transfer, organize,
play). The handset also has consumer features including a 2MP camera, 3.5mm stereo jack, Bluetooth stereo (A2DP), microSD card (supports up to 4GB), and updated web browser. Photos can be uploaded to Flickr accounts with Yahoo! Go.
• Impact Positive. The BlackBerry curve will be available at AT&T and other carriers (Rogers, T-Mobile, Vodafone) in the Spring (impact Q1/Q2 – inline with our outlook). Pricing is expected at U$249 – $299 with subsidy, vs. the 8800 at U$299 and the Pearl at U$199 at AT&T. We expect healthy sell-in/sell-through (possible impact Q1, end May) that should contribute to subscriber additions, expanding RIM’s position in the consumer market.
• Other Pending Products/Networks. RIM is also expected to launch an EV-DO version of the consumer Pearl (Suretype keypad, trackball) that has new features (e.g. updated camera, media software), expected Q2 on Verizon, for which we expect strong pre-orders and promotion (against the iPhone).
RIM may also launch an 8800 based on EV-DO. Bell, Telus are also expected to launch these products, timing TBA (Sprint unknown).