Those quarterly earnings calls are great for the likes of Apple, pretty much giving you the chance to show off to the world how much cash you're making every three months.
It's not so much fun for the likes of RIM, which faces its latest day of reckoning with investors later today. And expectations aren't exactly that great – in fact one analyst has predicted the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is headed for “the same graveyard as the HP TouchPad”.
So it's not been a great 2011 for RIM – this much we know. The business phone market, which it long dominated, has become fair game for everyone in this day and age of ultra-versatile devices and platforms capable of excelling on multiple fronts.
Many analysts saw the PlayBook tablet as a chance for RIM to put down a fresh marker, but it launched essentially unfinished and has been widely panned despite being seen as having plenty of potential in theory.
And it's only got worse, despite RIM's attempts at a rallying cry in the launch of BlackBerry OS 7 and a handful of new phones recently. Brian Blair of Wedge Partners says there's no “meaningful evidence” of a turnaround and that the new phones and OS needed to appear “18–24 months ago”.
He delivered an even more gloomy prognosis on RIM's debut tablet, saying that even though RIM was talking of shipping as many as half a million units over the quarter, and the figure by the end of the year could be as high as 700,000, weak sell-through means “RIM will likely send the PlayBook into the same graveyard as the HP TouchPad”.
With that kind of negativity, it's almost not worth waiting for the figures themselves, but the Canadian mobile giant will nonetheless be quietly hoping to at least hit estimates that have already been adjusted downwards based on weakening expectations.
We'll know before too long either way.