Think of It as an iPhone With a Broken Touchscreen
With its curvier edges, stylish silver trim, half-VGA 480-by-320 pixel screen and improved iTunes compatibility, Research in Motion’s (RIMM) new BlackBerry Bold should be a big hit with IT operations professionals convinced the iPhone isn’t an enterprise-class mobile device but driven to near-aneurysm by discontented employees demanding them.
The device is largely as expected–an iPhonish-looking thing with both GPS and Wi-Fi, 1GB of permanent flash memory, a 2-megapixel camera, full HTML browsing, 3G support on GSM networks with HSDPA access and, of course, the BlackBerry’s one-trick killer app: instant, secure email. That’s a compelling combination for business users and casual ones not easily swayed by the iPhone’s hype juggernaut as well. Indeed, Citigroup analyst Jim Suva says it could boost RIM’s quarterly shipments by 200,000 to 400,000.
But perhaps not without a bit of struggle. The BlackBerry Bold won’t ship until as late as August, which means Apple (AAPL) could beat it to market with the enterprise-friendly 3G iPhone it’s rumored to be uncrating at its Worldwide Developer’s Conference in June. Which has got to worry RIM. After all, the first-generation iPhone had claimed a 28% market share by the fourth quarter of 2007. That’s still less than the BlackBerry, which holds about a 41% market share, but the iPhone hasn’t even been on the market a year.