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RIM Earnings Preview: How Much iPhone Pain?

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion is due to report earnings after the bell on Wednesday. In the meantime, reports circulated that rival Apple may be developing a new iPhone model for the Verizon network. So where does RIM stand in the increasingly competitive smartphone space? Robert Cihra, tech analyst at Caris & Company, and Mark McKechnie, analyst at Broadpoint AmTech, shared their insights.

“RIM’s actually doing quite well, even with all the competition, and I expect a good report tonight,” Cihra told CNBC.

“They’re carving out a niche in a sea of iPhone wannabes. RIM’s doing well in corporate; but even in consumer, they're a lower-cost, more mainstream phone.”

But Cihra conceded that there’s going to be more competition down the road for RIM , after Apple's iPhone buzz.

“What I do think people may be focused too much on is iPhone versus BlackBerry versus Android and missing the big picture,” he commented. “If you add the three platforms, they’re less than 10 percent of the cell phone market—there’s a whole lot of market to go around.”

In the meantime, McKechnie said the iPhone news was anticipated and expects the partnership event to happen in early 2011.

“It’s going to provide a headwind to RIM," he said.

"People don’t talk about the competitive response from AT&T ,” he noted. “They haven’t really been pushing BlackBerry tremendously hard and when they lose their exclusivity on the iPhone, I can imagine they might step out to do promotions there.”

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Other Smartphone Competitors:

Google

Nokia

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Disclosures:

Cihra does not own shares of RIMM or AAPL.

McKechnie does not own shares of RIMM, MOT or NOK, but owns shares of AAPL.

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