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BlackBerry maker feeling the heat from iPhone and Android
In response to slowing BlackBerry sales, RIM on Thursday lowered financial forecasts for the first quarter, ending May 2011.
Shipments of BlackBerry smartphones are now estimated to be around 13.5 million, the lower end of the range first forecasted a month ago. As a result, per-share earnings will range between $1.30-$1.37, not $1.47-$1.55 as was previously published.
RIM expects revenue to dip slightly below the previously forecasted minimum of $5.2 billion.
After the report was released, RIM stock fell a sharp 10 percent.
It’s not good news for the original smartphone maker, but it’s also not the end. Over the years, RIM has accrued a solid base of loyal users who respect the company for its secure, business-oriented devices, and relatively new offerings from Google (Android) and Apple (iPhone) will still have to work hard to whittle away at that core group.
Furthermore, expected shipments of the BlackBerry PlayBook, the company’s just launched tablet, have not been altered by RIM. In spite of poor reviews in the tech press, the PlayBook may have sold as many as 50,000 units on launch day, according to one analyst. And it might be on track to ship 500,000 units in its first fiscal year.
That’s certainly a far cry from the 15 million iPads sold over the past year, but it’s also just a start.
A small but meaningful effort that could help revitalize developer interest in the drowning BlackBerry and the young PlayBook is the $3 million BlackBerry Developer Challenge. Launched Thursday by the BlackBerry Partners Fund, it’s the challenge’s fourth year, but this year’s prizes nearly double the value of last year’s.
Winners are selected on a regional basis in four different regions (North America, Latin America, Europe/Middle East/Africa and Asia Pacific) for three different categories: Best Adobe Flash/AIR app, Most Innovative BlackBerry WebWorks app on the BlackBerry PlayBook and BlackBerry 6, and Most Addictive social app using the BBM™ Social Platform.
To learn more about the challenge, visit this page.
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