Analysts: RIM poised for strong quarter, could match iPhone shipments

Despite recent speculation that Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) is suffering from a BlackBerry slowdown at Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), the vendor is expected to post robust quarterly results later this week, according to analysts. 

The company was likely helped by strong sales of the BlackBerry Torch, its flagship smartphone with AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), analysts said. AT&T began selling the Torch at half-price--$99.99 with a two-year contract--beginning in November. According to a consensus of 23 analysts surveyed by Reuters, RIM is expected to ship 14.1 million BlackBerrys for the quarter ending Nov. 27, matching Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone shipment numbers in its latest quarter--a quarter that reflected the debut of the iPhone 4. Apple CEO Steve Jobs in October specifically called out RIM, arguing the iPhone had essentially left BlackBerry in the dust.

Analysts expect RIM to add 5.1 million net new BlackBerry subscriber accounts, which would be at the low end of the company's forecast. RIM said that after it reports earnings Thursday, it will no longer provide that figure.

RIM introduced the BlackBerry 6 operating system, via the Torch, earlier this year in hopes of reviving the platform. However, the company plans to eventually transition is smartphones to software from QNX, which powers its PlayBook tablet. According to Gartner, RIM commanded 14.8 percent of the global smartphone market in the third quarter, down from 20.7 percent in the year-ago period.

- see this Reuters article

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