Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Motorola’s Sleek Q Smartphone Should Pressure Palm, RIM

The Consumer Electronics Stock Blog picks up a recent client research note from Bear Stearns analysts Andrew J. Neff, Bill Hand and Ted Chung about the status of Motorola's "much-anticipated Q smartphone, and its implications to competitors Research In Motion and Palm. Here are the key points:

  • MOT Q smartphone launch set for April per MOT website. According to MOT’s website, it appears that the Q smartphone (which had been delayed several times) with embedded QWERTY keyboard is scheduled to become available in April — which implies that the launch could coincide with CTIA tradeshow next week (4/5-4/7). The previous references on the website noted availability in the first quarter.
  • With its sleek design (about one-third the thickness of PALM Treo or RIMM BlackBerry) and compatibility with third-party enterprise email solutions (e.g., Good Technology, MSFT, Intellisync, etc.), if Q is priced aggressively as expected — around $200-$300 with carrier subsidy vs. Treo 700w at $399 — it could potentially lead to pricing pressure for both PALM and RIMM.
  • MOT Q is expected to become available through Verizon; timing/launch of GSM/GPRS/EDGE not certain. Stock impact: negative for PALM (aggressive pricing, although Treo has first-mover advantage), marginally negative for RIMM (pricing pressure but RIMM has superior email offering).
The operative words here are should and could. The Q is already late and new rumors are sufacing it could slip even later than April (the web site now says shipping soon as opposed to April). Plus, given Motorola's past track record with smartphones (i.e. MPx, MPx220), etc) has not been great, I think I'll just wait and see if and when Motorola can deliver a Quality product...