Is BlackBerry in the catbird seat or the doghouse?

The future for BlackBerry appears cloudy, given several recent, contrasting views on the company presented by leading analysts. On one side, GC Research analyst Tero Kuittinen warns Research In Motion has been "lulled into complacency" with recent successes and the company's lineup will face stiff competition from the likes of Palm, Apple and Android. On the other side, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu recently raised his rating RIM's stock and contends the firm has "sustainable competitive advantages."

Investors, it seems, appear somewhat worried about the situation. RIM's stock has declined during the past few weeks from a high of $85.44 per share to around $66.93 this morning. (Though, to be clear, the decline is what sparked Wu's upgrade on the stock due to what he described as "resetting high expectations.")

The contrasting views on the BlackBerry maker come on the heels of the high-profile launches of the Palm Pre and the iPhone 3GS and the unveiling of T-Mobile USA's Android-based myTouch 3G, due in stores in August. Indeed, the rhetoric surrounding RIM is gaining steam ahead of the commercial launch of the company's Tour device, set to land at Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Sunday.

The Tour "has the potential to be one of the best BlackBerries yet," wrote Kaufman Bros.' Wu, adding that "our checks with industry and supply chain sources indicate a high level of interest, with high likelihood that its large installed base will upgrade."

However, GC Research's Kuittinen counters that the Tour is "extremely close to the aging Curve in look and feel" and lacks WiFi support. "2009 is a tough period to let your product development program spin its wheels," Kuittinen contends.

Surely all eyes will be on the Tour's progress during this summer of smartphones, as well as the possible October launch of the touchscreen BlackBerry Storm 2.

For more:
- see this Barron's post
- see this Barron's post

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