RIM’s Do-Or-Die Christmas: Crucial Launches For Bold, Storm (RIMM)

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blackberry-storm-vzw.jpg BlackBerry maker Research In Motion’s (RIMM) stock has been clobbered: Shares are down 65% since mid-summer. But RIM has two massive product launches on tap. If the products arrive in time for the holidays, Citi analyst Jim Suva thinks shares will jump 20% — and possibly more, longer-term. If they don’t hit stores in the next 30-45 days, however, shares should drop more.

Specifically, RIM is readying its 3G ‘Bold’ to sell at AT&T (T), the biggest U.S. wireless carrier, and prepping its touchscreen, iPhone-lookalike Storm (pictured) to sell at no. 2 Verizon Wireless.

Neither product’s launch date has been announced yet, and Suva notes today that investors are “unsure” if the phones will launch in “time/scale for holidays” — a crucial sales period as they go up against Apple’s (AAPL) red-hot iPhone, the new Google (GOOG) G1 smartphone, and other gadgets.

Suva thinks there’s a 75% chance that the launches will happen on time, which could push shares up around 20% — approximately 10% upside each. How about longer term?

  • If the launches happen on time, consumer uptake is strong, and margins improve, shares could hit $80 — roughly 50% higher than now.
  • If the launches happen on time, consumer uptake is strong, and margins don’t improve, shares could hit $72.50 — roughly 37% higher than they’re at now.
  • If the launches happen on time, and consumer uptake is disappointing, shares could stay around $52.50.

Key term: “if the launches happen on time.” If not, Suva thinks shares will slump down to $45 or so — about 15% below today’s level.

Some good news: A leaked AT&T document purports that the Bold, at least, will launch next Monday, Oct. 27. But that’s not set in stone.

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