Wires

RIM shares slip as analyst sees BB10 launch in March

TORONTO, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Shares of Research In Motion

fell 3.5 percent on Tuesday after an analystwarned that the company's make-or-break line of new BlackBerrysmartphones is unlikely to hit store shelves until March, weekslater than investors had hoped.

Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM, a pioneer in the smartphoneindustry, has struggled over the past year or longer. Its agingline-up of BlackBerrys has been unable to compete with AppleInc's iPhone and a slew of devices that run on GoogleInc's Android software.

RIM is now working toward the launch of a new line ofdevices that will run on its new BlackBerry 10 operating system.RIM has said the long-awaited line will launch in thefirst-quarter of 2013.

"We had hoped for a January launch but now see a Marchlaunch as more likely," said Jefferies analyst Peter Misek in anote to clients.

Shares of RIM fell 3.5 percent to $7.96 in early trading onthe Nasdaq, while its Toronto-listed shares fell 3.4 percent toC$7.77.

"We're on track for a launch in the first-quarter of 2013,"reiterated a spokesman for RIM, in response to Misek's comment.

Misek also said he expects the company to face challengingconditions in the current quarter, as RIM's partners are beingcautious about holding too many of the older Blackberry modelsin stock ahead of the launch of the new devices.

The company, earlier this year, also said it was exploringits strategic options.

Some analysts have speculated that this could lead to a saleof RIM or potential licensing deals with handset makers that areinterested in using RIM's BB10 operating system on their owndevices.

Misek believes though that such plans are far from imminent.

"We believe there is no imminent sale of Research In Motionand any licensing deals are likely well after the launch of BB10in January," said Misek.

(Reporting by Euan Rocha; editing by Frank McGurty)

((euan.rocha@thomsonreuters.com)(+1 416 941 8185)(ReutersMessaging: euan.rocha.reuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: RIM SHARES/