The iPhone Killer?

Squawk, squawk, squawk. The gushing praise for Steve Jobs’ products never ends.

Not that the accolades are completely unfounded. Apple makes some terrific user-friendly (though closed-system products that have captivated consumers the world over. But the chorus of approval seems to have drowned out one simple fact: The realm of personal tech has more than one king vying for control.

On Wednesday, Dellannounced it was testing a portable music player to challenge the iPod. Sure, other major players in the business – Microsoft and Sony – have failed in their attempts to unseat Apple in this space, but competitors are still doing their best to snatch the Cupertino, Calif.-company’s crown.

Cell phones, though, are a different story. Apple’s new to the industry. So no matter how well-loved the iPhone – most recently the 3G version – is, plenty of market share is still up for grabs. Especially when major players like Research in Motion are still in the game. And that’s what Cramer wanted to talk about during Wednesday’s Mad Money.

Just as Apple skyrocketed to $190 from $120 in anticipation of the iPhone release, investors have a chance to capitalize on a surging RIMM stock thanks to a big upcoming product cycle.

The BlackBerry Bold will be released overseas in early August and here in the States at the beginning of September. There is a tremendous amount of anticipation for this smartphone. An RBC survey showed 17% of potential buyers plan to buy the Bold, and almost three-quarters of them have never owned a BlackBerry before. Cramer said that could amount to tremendous market-share gains once the new phone’s release.

This quarter will also be the first full earnings period to take into account RIM’s BlackBerry CDMA Curve shipments, making for the possibility of an even better story than the Bold release.

No doubt some of you are remembering RIMM’s first-quarter earnings miss back in late June. The company also guided down for this quarter, and the bad news sent the stock spiraling 13% in a day. But as strange as it may seem, Cramer said that what looked like a bad quarter on the surface might have a more positive story for those who look deeper.

(Check out's take on Cramer's RIMM call.)

Research in Motion has been spending big bucks on marketing and research and development for its new products. That’s why the company missed its numbers. And not just the Bold. We’re talking about the KickStart, dubbed the Motorola killer, and the Thunder, which is being called the iPhone killer. According to RIMM ax Rob Sanderson of American Technology Research, every time this company has spent money preparing for a big product launch, investors who were in the stock ahead of the release saw profits.

In case you’re still worried about competition from the iPhone, Cramer pointed out that carriers like AT&T and Verizon want BlackBerries because they generate more revenue per user. Not to mention, the iPhone’s been causing some bandwidth problems for AT&T. And, in the smartphone market, RIMM controls a 13% share while Apple holds 5%. So, as we said, there’s still plenty of room for both companies to grow here.

Remember, Cramer’s got street cred when it comes to Research in Motion. The stock soared 113% from his June 6, 2007, recommendation when RIMM was trading at $54.93. And that’s after the recent pullback to $119 and change. He admitted to making another call at $142 and didn’t tell Homegamers to get out when it popped four points. But it’s hard not to get excited about a company that regularly clocks in at 30% plus growth.

Regardless, though, he’s expecting RIMM to work its way back to the $140s and even higher as we approach the BlackBerry Bold launch.

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