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BlackBerry buzz? RIM shares soar as BB10 optimism grows

blackberry rim smartphone market share fallingOf course, Research In Motion still has to deliver the goods come January, but the fact that shares in the company have been performing remarkably well lately – combined with and thanks in part to a number of analysts talking up the company’s next-generation BlackBerry 10 platform – will surely be helping executives at the Canadian company sleep better at night.

According to a Reuters report, shares in the BlackBerry maker rose to their highest level in six months on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday, ending the day at C$12. Furthermore, RIM’s stock jumped 17.3 percent on Thursday, marking its biggest gain in percentage terms in over three years. The US market was closed Thursday for Thanksgiving.

Enthusiasm

The enthusiasm for RIM stock came as Kris Thompson, an analyst for National Bank, upped his price target on RIM shares from $12 to $15. This came in the wake of Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek – a man who in the past has been critical of RIM – saying in a note to clients earlier this week that “preliminary results from our quarterly handset survey indicate developed market carriers have a much more positive view of BB10 than we expected.”

Thompson, meanwhile, said he had taken note of the “positive sentiment building in the industry” around BB10, adding that he now believes the Ontario-based mobile maker will ship around 35.5 million devices in fiscal 2014, an increase of four million on an earlier estimate.

In recent weeks RIM announced that its new BB10 platform had passed a “critical milestone” with news that it had entered lab testing with more than 50 carriers worldwide. The company also said BB10 had received important security clearance allowing the new handsets, when they become available early next year, to be used by government agencies in the US and Canada.

Buzz

The apparent buzz building around the launch of BB10 is undoubtedly welcome news for RIM. While some of this positivity is of course thanks to the calculated efforts of the company’s PR machine, the fact that analysts are coming out and whistling a happier tune is also a promising sign.

At the same time, however, all the extra expectation serves to pile on the pressure – let’s just hope it’s not setting itself up for a fall of Felix Baumgartner proportions (though you can bet it wouldn’t mind landing back on its feet with the finesse and confidence of the Austrian daredevil skydiver).

We all know that RIM desperately needs its new platform to succeed. Once the market leader in the smartphone business, in recent years consumers have switched to rival devices such as Apple’s iPhone and handsets powered by Google’s Android operating system.

The Canadian mobile maker was accused of resting on its laurels, of failing to innovate, and as a result fell out of favor with consumers and business users alike.