Blackberry-maker delays key phone launch

Blackberry phone RIM blamed the late availability of chips for its new phones for the delayed launch

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Research in Motion (RIM), which makes Blackberry phones has announced a delay to the launch of its new Blackberry 10.

There was also disappointment at the prediction of sales of between 11 and 12 million smartphones in the current Christmas quarter, down from 14.8 million in the same period last year.

It reported net income of $265m (£171m) for the quarter to 26 November, down from $911m in the same period of 2010.

RIM shares fell more than 6% in after-hours trading.

The Blackberry 10 phones were supposed to be on sale in the first three months of 2012, but RIM now says they won't be available until late in the year.

It blamed the advanced chips for the phones not being available until the middle of the year.

'Steep decline'

RIM has also taken a charge of $356m for unsold PlayBook tablets, which were launched with much hype earlier this year.

"They're expecting a pretty steep decline into the holiday period, and that's not a good sign, obviously," said Shaw Wu, analyst at Sterne Agee.

The new phones will operate the QNX operating system, which is seen as crucial to the company if it is to compete with phones using Google's Android software or Apple's iPhone.

The company has had a difficult few months, with a service outage knocking $40m off its net income.

"As part of our commitment to improving our performance to better meet the expectations of shareholders and customers, we continue to evaluate ways to improve in several areas of the company's operations," RIM's joint chief executives Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis said in a statement.

"It may take some time to realise the benefits of these efforts and the platform transition that we are undertaking, but we continue to believe that RIM has the right set of strengths and capabilities to maintain a leading role in the mobile communications industry."

The two chief executives said they had reduced the cash element of their pay packages to $1 per year.

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