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No new RIM phones until March, analyst says

Research in Motion Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins is silhouetted during the BlackBerry World event in Orlando May 1, 2012. Research in Motion is set to launch a new generation of BlackBerry 10 smartphones later this year.

DAVID MANNING/David Manning/Reuters

Research In Motion shares were down almost five per cent after an analyst predicted the next generation of BlackBerrys likely won't hit shelves until March.

Jeffries and Co. analyst Peter Misek says while they had hoped for a January launch, a March rollout is "more likely."

He added that with no new BlackBerry products to sell before then, retailers have grown cautious about holding RIM inventory – and the uncertainty will delay any potential licensing deals.

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Mr. Misek set at price target of $5 on RIM based on its Nasdaq listing.

RIM shares were down 38 cents, or 4.7 per cent, to $7.68 in early afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The Waterloo, Ont-based company says it's on track to deliver BlackBerry 10 phones in the first three months of the year.

But some observers were anticipating a Januay or February release – with sales potentially bolstering financial results in RIM's fourth quarter, which ends March 2.

RIM chief executive Thorsten Heins has said a touchscreen model would launch first while the keyboard version, known in the tech community as Qwerty, will come about one to two months later.

Research In Motion has been plagued by poorly received launches for products such as the PlayBook tablet and delays in bringing the BB10 operating system and devices to market.

It has also lost market share to Apple's iPhone and devices running the Android operating system.

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Last month, RIM reported that its quarterly loss was $235-million U.S. or 45 cents per diluted share compared with a profit of $329-million or 63 cents per share a year ago.

The company's adjusted loss was $142-million or 27 cents per share. While large, RIM's loss was still much better than the 47 cents per share loss expected by analysts polled by Bloomberg.

The company reports third quarter results on Dec. 20.

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