2012 Smartphone Predictions

This article was placed on behalf of the U.S. based equity research effort of institutional broker and investment bank Canaccord Genuity. It was part of a series of articles developed under an agreement with forbes.com to work with a variety of contributors and assist them in delivering actionable investment ideas each week. The site, forbes.com is one of the top 500 sites in the world with nearly 10 million subscribers and approximately 100 million page views a month.

Following a monthly look into the handset industry, Canaccord Genuity technology analyst Michael Walkley released a note to investors for the following companies:

Apple (NYSE: AAPL): We have increased our C2012 iPhone estimates from 140M to 148M units, as we believe Apple will continue its strong iPhone momentum and capture market share during C2012. We believe our March quarter and C2012 iPad estimates could prove conservative, as we have tempered iPad sales in early C2012 due to uncertain timing for an iPad 3 launch.

Nokia (NYSE : NOK): Given the investment necessary to grow the ecosystem, we view 2012 as a transitional year for Nokia and maintain our below-consensus 2012 EPS estimates and HOLD rating.

Motorola Mobility (NYSE : MMI): With our checks indicating the iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy and Nexus smartphones remain top-selling North American smartphones, we anticipate weaker sales trends from Motorola during Q1/12.

Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM): Given the strong share gains for Apple post the launch of the iPhone 4S and price reduce, we believe BlackBerry 7 products will continue to struggle until BB 10 products launch. By the time BB 10 OS smartphones launch, we estimate BlackBerry smartphone share could decline to 6% of the smartphone market, resulting in a small base for RIM to try and create a long-term competitive ecosystem for its new OS.

Sony Ericsson (NASDAQ : ERIC): Due to our expectation for continued margin pressure due to sales mix, we maintain our cautious stance, HOLD rating, and $8.50 price target for Ericsson.

QUALCOMM (NASDAQ: QCOM): With leading global handset OEMs reporting strong Q4/C2011 smartphone sales and our belief Qualcomm is gaining chipset market share during F2012 with OEMs such as Nokia, RIM, Apple, LG, and Samsung, we believe these trends are positive for Qualcomm.

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