BlackBerry maker Research In Motion said on Thursday that new phones deemed critical to the company's future will be delayed until late 2012.
Mike Lazaridis, one of the company's co-CEOs, said the BlackBerry 10 phones will need a highly integrated chipset that will not be available until mid-2012, so the company can now expect them to ship late in the year. He disclosed the delay on a conference call with analysts.
Analysts say RIM's future depends on the new software platform. RIM needs to come up with a compelling BlackBerry as US users have moved on to flashier touch-screen phones such as Apple's iPhone and various competing models that run Google's Android software.
Earlier on Thursday, RIM said BlackBerry sales will fall sharply in the holiday quarter, providing further evidence that it is struggling to compete. It also has been having a hard time finding a niche in the tablet-computer market, which is dominated by Apple's iPad.
RIM continues to enjoy success overseas, but market researcher NPD Group says RIM's market share of smartphones in the U.S. has declined from 44 per cent in 2009 to 10 percent this year.
The company's stock fell 7 percent in extended trading Thursday.
The delay in BlackBerry 10 phones is the latest in a series of setbacks for the once-iconic Canadian company. Its PlayBook tablet computer hasn't been selling well, forcing the company to sell them at a deep discount. A widespread outage frustrated tens of millions of BlackBerry users in October. RIM fired two executives after their drunken rowdiness forced the diversion of an Air Canada flight. The head of its operations in Indonesia faces charges related to a stampede at a recent promotional sale where dozens of consumers were injured.
RIM said its net income sank 71 percent as revenue fell and the company took a large accounting charge on the PlayBook.
RIM earned $265 million, or 51 cents per share, for its fiscal third quarter that ended Nov. 26. That compares with $911 million, or $1.74 per share, a year ago. The company said revenue fell 6 percent to $5.2 billion. The PlayBook charge was $485 million before taxes.