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RIM 3G BlackBerry Delayed

Shares for Research in Motion, Ltd fell 3 percent on Friday after a report surfaced that a high-speed wireless version of its BlackBerry smartphone for AT&T Inc is facing delays.

The reason for the delay was unclear but some unnamed people close to both companies said they are concerned about call quality. The launch has been pushed back to August.

However, according to one analyst, the delay isn’t news, pointing to a January report in which he flagged a later-than-expected launch.

Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek downgraded RIM on January 11 to a “hold” rating, citing a 3G device delay until June as well as U.S. economic weakness.

Misek wrote on March 31 that RIM’s 3G BlackBerry had just recently been delivered to AT&T and Vodafone labs and he repeated his February forecast that the launch was now likely delayed to August.

RIM had to work with its chip supplier Marvell to resolve technical problems, said Misek. He believes those significant issues are now sorted out and that network certification, which takes about three months, is the last hurdle.

“I’m very, very disappointed that the market finds this as any kind of news. It’s not going to have any impact on the August quarter and we’ve always said this device is going to be delayed,” he said. “I’m just really surprised more people didn’t know about it.”

The original launch for the 3G BlackBerry was planned for June, but the most likely scenario now is for it to launch in August or September.

RIM and AT&T have not confirmed the delay to make it official, but on the other hand, RIM never actually set a firm release date for the device.

This comes as many predict the 3G iPhone to be coming very soon as well, with Apple and RIM continuing to compete for smartphone sales.