A wave of optimism surrounding the launch of Research In Motion’s re-engineered BlackBerry line picked up momentum on Thursday with Goldman Sachs raising its rating on the smartphone maker and setting off another surge in its share price.
The brokerage firm joined a growing chorus of analysts who have warmed to the prospects of a successful introduction of the new BlackBerry 10 devices, which RIM hopes will let it claw back market share lost to Apple Inc’s iPhone and smartphones powered by Google’s Android platform. The BB10 devices are expected to hit store shelves early next year.
The shift in sentiment has been swift. A few weeks ago, most analysts believed RIM had squandered any chance it had to become a serious competitor because of repeated delays in the launch of the new smartphone.
In a note to clients, Goldman analyst Simona Jankowski said preliminary specifications that have emerged on the BB10 devices appear impressive.
“With these devices RIM appears to finally be aiming for the leading edge hardware performance that was missing from its prior generations,” Jankowski said.
Jankowski said she believes more applications will be available for BB10 than had been expected because BlackBerry users typically download a relatively high number of paid apps, which is an enticement to app developers.
Goldman, which raised its rating on RIM shares to “buy” from “neutral,” also increased its price target to $ 16 (U.S.) from $ 9.
RIM promises its new devices will be faster and smoother than previous smartphones, and will have a large catalog of apps that are crucial to the success of any new line of smartphones.
“We believe the run-up in the stock miscalculates the reality of consumer demand for BB10 next year. … The fact is, the smartphone market has changed in the last 24 months, and RIM is not only late to the party, the party has moved to a different location and RIM is showing up at the wrong house,” Blair said.