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Bar talk at BlackBerry World mixed on RIM future

Dale Courville tries out the RIM PlayBook in Toronto on Tuesday.


Chris Umiastowski spent more than a decade working as a technology analyst on Bay Street. He now works as an independent analyst and strategy consultant. He is blogging from BlackBerry World for The Globe and Mail.

RIM's Capital Markets Day is over, but BlackBerry World is just starting, and runs through Thursday. This morning Mike Lazaridis takes the stage, and I'm ready to grab a front row seat.

RIM's stock hardly moved at all yesterday, reflecting my belief that investors are waiting for proof that the company can meet its $7.50 EPS guidance for the year. Doing this means executing on the launch of several new devices (including the new Bold 9900), which will run the BlackBerry 7 OS. It's obvious, after many conversations last night, that these launches need to hit the critical "back to school" shopping window in August. The closer we get to seeing this materialize, the more potential upside I think there is in the stock.

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The Marriott World Center lobby bar is the place to be in the evening, and I enjoyed several interesting conversations. I had a chance to witness, firsthand, the enthusiasm of one Playbook customer who considers the BlackBerry Bridge functionality on Playbook to be so important that no other tablet is even worth considering. Who is this customer? A Canadian police force. They want all their cops to carry Playbooks and have in-dash mounts. No data on the Playbook can be accessed without a bridge connection to a BlackBerry handset.

I have also been hearing, over the last few days, that RIM may be trying to launch the QNX operating system on at least one handheld smart phone before the end of this calendar year. I will now say that I believe this is absolutely not happening. RIM has made it pretty clear that they will only run QNX on dual-core phones, and they are not launching any such phones this year. And even then, QNX will run only on the high end of RIM's portfolio in 2012. They will still support BlackBerry OS (version 6 and 7) on everything running single core processors.

It's just about time to go into the keynote. So to quote Jim Balsillie, "stay tuned." I'll publish more after Mike Lazaridis hits the stage.

The author owns shares in RIM, Apple and Google.

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About the Author

Chris Umiastowski, P. Eng., MBA, has over a decade of professional experience analyzing technology stocks as a former top ranked equity analyst on Bay Street. Prior to that, he worked as an engineer in the telecom industry. His deep technology and analytical experience help him identify investment opportunities that come from sweeping change in tech-centric industries. More

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