Research in Motion (RIMM, $141.69, up $8.92) is having a stellar day, hitting an all-time high of $143 earlier in the session. The company unveiled its latest BlackBerry model dubbed, the Bold, which was its first major new model in over a year. The phone is expected to compete directly with Apple’s (AAPL, $188.16, up $4.71) iPhone.
RIMM’s Bold has twice the screen resolution of the company’s current Curve BlackBerry and dual-band Wi-Fi and GPS capabilities should be available from carriers this summer. The May call options have been active in RIMM. The May 140 calls (RULEH, $4.07, up $3.30) have traded over 30,000 contracts and are up 428%, and the May 145 calls (RULEI, $1.77, up $1.52) are up 600% as over 20,000 contracts have traded hands.
The announcement of the Bold came earlier than expected and on the heels of Apple’s news that its online stores in the U.S. and U.K. are sold out of the iPhone. Some stores run by Apple and AT&T (T, $39.11, up $0.52) may still have units available but it’s hit or miss.
The low availability of the iPhones could indicate that the release of a 3G iPhone is just around the corner. Apple has a conference that starts June 9 and we all know Steve Jobs likes to make a splash at such events. Apple sold 1.7 million iPhones in its last quarter and its goal is to sell 10 million iPhones by year-end. Many analysts believe they will easily beat that number.
The release of a new iPhone would help offset sales that Apple is losing now as people anxiously await its release. All three companies (Apple, AT&T, and RIMM) have positioned themselves ahead of the competition and now its up to the rest of them to play catch-up.