Print 37 comment(s) - last by erple2.. on Aug 18 at 7:04 PM

The Blackberry Torch's launch numbers are pretty weak, but it's only launched on AT&T in the U.S., thus far, and has to compete with the iPhone for AT&T subscribers.  (Source: RIM)
Some still swear by the popular line of business-minded smart phones, though

Not long ago, Research in Motion held a commanding lead in the smartphone industry, with over 40 percent of the market in its pocket.  Its BlackBerry smartphones were the choice for business users.

Now it reportedly has been passed in the U.S. by Google's seemingly unstoppable Android platform.  And the iPhone looks to eventually catch up as well, growing at a faster pace than RIM.

RIM's response was to roll out its $199 (with contract) BlackBerry Torch 9800 slider, sporting BlackBerry 6.0 OS.  The launch was RIM's first major hardware re-imagination since the much-maligned Storm.  Early sales numbers aren't looking pretty for RIM's ambitious experiment, though.

Two independent analyst firms -- RBC Capital Markets and Stifel Nicolaus -- said that RIM moved 150,000 units of the BlackBerry Torch over the weekend.  That's a remarkably weak launch, compared to the 1.7 million iPhones sold by Apple in its first week.  In fact, RIM's launch numbers are more reminiscent of the Palm Pre's launch sales.

To be fair, some Android phones like the HTC EVO 4G were highly anticipated and posted similar launch sales numbers.  However, the Android market is more tightly packed and high profile launches come at a frantic pace.  BlackBerry, on the other hand, follows a release schedule somewhere in between Android's and Apple's, with less frequent new device launches.  Thus a less than huge launch could spell trouble for the gadget-maker.

On the other hand, RIM, like Android, has always benefited more from slow-and-steady sales, so it's possible the lackluster launch isn't a trouble sign.  Part of the problem for RIM is mere logistics -- the Torch is currently available only on AT&T.

RIM has not announced when the phone might be coming to America's other big three carriers: Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile.  As the Android Galaxy S/Galaxy S Pro smartphones have shown, going multi-carrier is a very successful approach, which instantly expands your market. 

Along with the disappointing sales news, the first parts-cost analysis of the new Torch has hit courtesy of iSuppli.  The research firm says the new BlackBerry costs approximately $171 for components and has a $12 labor cost.  The most expensive components are the $34.85 touchscreen/display assembly, $34.25 Samsung memory chips, and $15 Marvell 625 MHz processor.

Many have criticized the phone's processor as being overly slow, versus Apple's new A4 or the Samsung Hummingbird found in the Epic 4G and its Galaxy S brethren.

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the real thing killing blackberry
By smackababy on 8/17/2010 1:16:11 PM , Rating: 3
While corporate minded individuals like Blackberry phones, the kids no longer have so few choices. I can't begin to count the amount of 14 year olds I'd seen with Blackberry phones. They have no idea what Exchange even is. Now, they can get an iPhone or an Android phone and be happy texting and facebooking all day.

I am sure this has cut deeply into RIMs sales.

RE: the real thing killing blackberry
By OoklaTheMok on 8/17/2010 1:26:57 PM , Rating: 3
My teenage kids love Blackberries. One of them opted for an Android for his current phone, and is now regretting the decision. He misses having a good keyboard. Yeah the Android can do more "stuff", but it's not a better communication device compared to a Blackberry.

I personally want a Torch, but I'll be damned if I am going to consider using AT&T. I am currently on T-Mobile. I have tried AT&T/Cingular twice in the past, and both times I regretted it. Each time I came back to T-Mobile.

So RIM... get the Torch to T-Mobile please!

By smackababy on 8/17/2010 1:34:22 PM , Rating: 2
The thing is, the iPhone on release, was a smart phone for people that didn't need a smart phone. RIM hasn't made phones like this, and are suffering in this market. Everyone wants a super feature rich phone, but few need it. Those who do, probably have Blackberries.

RE: the real thing killing blackberry
By Chaser on 8/17/2010 2:05:05 PM , Rating: 4
>Yeah the Android can do more "stuff", but it's not a better communication device compared to a Blackberry.

That's simply not the case anymore. I know numerous former die hard corporate RIM users that have gone Android -with their company Exchange- and are gleefully not looking back.

RIM's email advantage today, if at best, is a very slim one. And with the competition's overwhelming app support RIM isn't much of a competitive choice as it used to be.

There are several keyboard options for Android phones. One example, the new Samsung Galaxy S was reviewed as one of the best on any phone presently. Verizon Droids and others have them as well.

By adrift02 on 8/17/2010 2:34:37 PM , Rating: 1
Well, if we are talking about teens or even many young adults who text a lot, to them it's a better communication device.

Don't discount the usability of blackberry keyboards coupled with the simplified software. I'm somewhat joking, but this is the phone you want for easy, on-hand texting while doing other things (*cough* driving *cough*).

Add in the fact that Android requires maintenance and comes with additional headaches for those who just want to text and make calls. The loads of additional features/functionality means nothing for those who don't use them.

It basically shows why Apple is so successful. Simple product that works for what people want it for; they don't care when the product isn't "up to spec" according to us tech geeks. Believe me, my GF curses me every day for talking her into an Android over a another blackberry.

By Belard on 8/17/2010 3:24:49 PM , Rating: 2
There are several Android phones on the market.

DROID has a slide out physical keyboard.

By tspinning on 8/17/2010 1:30:50 PM , Rating: 4
Funny thing is BBM (black berry messenger) is actually turning kids to the platform as it's security "issues" in other countries are a selling point here, IE: mom, dad, and cops can't decrypt BBM: So who needs weed, when, where, and how much?!

By EricMartello on 8/18/2010 5:35:42 PM , Rating: 3
I think that is definitely a part of it. There are a lot more "smartphone" options now and the blackberry is probably losing ground to people who bought one without really needing is more advanced features. Business users were the original target for smartphones because they actually benefitted from being able to check and write email, schedule appts, maintain a calendar and all that with top-notch security.

I still use my BB8800 and I've always been satisfied with it. The thing I don't like about the new crop of smartphones is the heavy reliance on a touchscreen. Fcuk touchscreen! I don't want to be constantly wiping finger smudges off because of this iphone-wannabe fixation that's sweeping the smartphone market. I like buttons and I don't want a phone that ONLY has a touchscreen. I'd rather it have a nice screen, even if the screen is smaller, and a good keypad.

The Blackberry is very good at what it does, which is to communicate - as a phone or by text. BBM is probably one of the best...if not THE messaging platforms (but I hate the commercials). Sure, you will not find as many game or entertainment options but guess what...the BB is made for business people who spend less time wasting time and more time getting things done.

By TomZ on 8/17/10, Rating: 0
RE: Android
By Mitch101 on 8/17/2010 12:57:41 PM , Rating: 2
The biggest thing going for Blackberry is its security I dont see them adopting android to their hardware line.

Now its possible they may develop and app for android based devices much like Good Technologies has.

Still I think the clock is ticking for Rim. I think Microsoft Mobile 7 and an Exchange patch will begin to devour them.

Lately RIM service and device software has been horrendously buggy. RIM also never documents their bugs well enough to know what issues are fixed. Deal with losing calendar items then a few months later a software update from RIM that states fixes calendar issue and nothing more to know how RIM covers its tracks by denying the true problems. Same with support you send off logs and more logs and read device info and message ID's only to get some poor answer to the problem. Rim support is practically useless now.

RE: Android
By jimbojimbo on 8/17/2010 1:07:52 PM , Rating: 2
Lately RIM service and device software has been horrendously buggy
I've got the newer 9700 model and every once in a while it'll just reset itself, even with the latest firmware. With encryption it takes several minutes to reboot too so when this happens during a call it's especially annoying. What other phone does that?? To give them some credit, before the latest firmware it would reset itself constantly so it's a little better but anything that is prone to any resets at all is unacceptable.

RE: Android
By Mitch101 on 8/17/2010 1:45:01 PM , Rating: 2
Be happy it came back. Most desktop people dont make a backup before wiping and reloading.

There is nothing like purchasing several thousand of those stuck in reboot devices and having the carrier tell you all you have to do is reload the software on the devices. Ok not something we should spend hours/money doing. How about we dont purchase any more devices from you until you fix them yourself. Carrier hopefully realizes how stupid that was to suggest burden of new device purchase software reloads would be on us to complete.

Lately some of the RIM updates havent been so good either. Love the missing inbox issue.

RE: Android
By Yeah on 8/17/2010 1:01:50 PM , Rating: 1
I think your wrong here. Blackberry products- even old ones; are able to open, edit, save and send WORD docs EXCEL docs and probably all the other MS major programs. My mom's 8 year old blackberry phone does. My newer LG phone cannot do that. (out of the box anyway) I think RIM has to tout what they are good at, and that is business use and college applications, my brother in college can open and edit and send a word document back to his teacher without going to a computer. Most users of the blackberry products are business people. Businesses are not going to go and upgrade blackberry phones whenever a new version comes out. That would be an IT nightmare. So its no doubt here that sales will be slow and steady. When more people realize what you CAN do with the blackberry that they CANT with their phone (out of the box) RIM will be doing better.... IMO.

RE: Android
By retrospooty on 8/17/2010 1:25:38 PM , Rating: 5
LOL... I can tell you know very little of the smartphone world... BB OS is aged, I agree, 8 years ago it was great, but they are 4 years behind the rest of the world on UI and usability. Also, their $20 per month per user service gets you nothing that MS doesn't give you for free. This is why corporations are moving away from Blackberry. RIM will either have to start supporting Exchange activesync, or they will start on a downward spiral that ends with them going out of business.

In short, Blackberrires need to play catchup and fast, or they will be gone completely within a few years.

RE: Android
By kmmatney on 8/18/2010 1:34:53 PM , Rating: 2
While you can't edit Word and Excel "out of the box" with an iPhone, I was able to buy a $4.99 app for this.

RE: Android
By AssBall on 8/17/2010 1:04:09 PM , Rating: 2
This article makes the case that it is in fact the hardware under criticism. I also wonder how much the recent negative press over security issues (esp overseas) is hurting their sales.

Meh..blackberry is fine
By GruntboyX on 8/17/2010 2:32:33 PM , Rating: 2
If i was blackberry I wouldnt get bent out shape over this. there customer base tends to be more mature and tied to business budgets. The idea that they only sold 150k units so far is not a big deal, because the blackberry does not cater to the techno hipster. What it will do is keep its loyal customers with a decent upgrade path. Blackberry will always make its money in the enterprise space. This is what they are good at. They would be good to not get too caught up in the fickle consumer space.

RE: Meh..blackberry is fine
By mofo3k on 8/17/2010 2:41:50 PM , Rating: 2
You assume that corporations and small businesses aren't migrating to the Android and iOS platforms. And they are.

RE: Meh..blackberry is fine
By Helbore on 8/17/2010 3:36:01 PM , Rating: 1
No IT department worth its salt would even let an iOS device connect to their network. There's been too many security holes crop up for it to be a viable mobile OS in the enterprise space.

The iPhone is a big-boy's toy for the comsumer, not a robust messaging platform that you run your business on.

RE: Meh..blackberry is fine
By ReblTeen84 on 8/17/2010 6:48:00 PM , Rating: 3
This is the truth - we only allow blackberries, partially because we don't use Exchange (Notes). However, many a staff member has berated us for not supporting iOS even though there's a native Notes client for it, and we give it to them straight - the security on it sucks, so it's not allowed on the network.

RE: Meh..blackberry is fine
By erple2 on 8/18/2010 7:04:42 PM , Rating: 2
I was talking with a friend of mine (who has starry eyes for everything Apple, so I take everything he says with a mountain sized grain of salt). How is it possible for you to say the security on the iOS sucks, but he can say that the security of the iOS is better than Blackberry, and is the primary reason why the Federal Government is migrating their wireless device services through iPhone on their networks, over the BlackBerry?

Either a) one of you is wrong, or b) you're curiously both right - the implication that Apple security is terrible, but BlackBerry is even worse.

BTW, if your company relies on Notes, I pity your fellow employees. Unless your company is my company (which uses Notes) in which case, I commiserate with them in our collective general loathing of the text book example of terrible UI design that is known as Notes..

Not Surprising
By erdos0 on 8/17/2010 12:56:07 PM , Rating: 2
I never understood why having fewer capabilities was supposed to make it more "corporate" or "business-like".

RE: Not Surprising
By jimbojimbo on 8/17/2010 12:58:51 PM , Rating: 5
Compared to the other phones Blackberries still have the best security around by a huge margin. For a corporation with security in mind it's still a good choice. Androids still don't even have device encryption yet so if you're a company that handles health care information it's not even an option. I really like the Android phones though so I can not wait until they get their butt in gear with better activesync integration and encryption.

RE: Not Surprising
By tspinning on 8/17/2010 1:19:20 PM , Rating: 2
Bingo, also a non-starter for colleges if they're smart and banks due to lack of device and card encryption on Android and the fact that there is no master to the app store. Native Exchange with full implementation will be the nail that seals the RIM coffin when it hits Android.

I'd give anything to move to a Droid 2 over my (now dead curve) or old school world edition that i'm using till corp IT policy lets us hit Androids. We're a VZ shop, so no 9800 either.

First-day sales - bad comparison
By Helbore on 8/17/2010 1:29:42 PM , Rating: 5
I don't think first-day sales comparisons between a Blackberry and an iPhone tell us much. Just think about the target markets.


First-day sales belong primarily to the rabid fan community who are eager to get the latest and greatest. Consequently, we get high initial sales, dwindling off over time.


The primary market is business IT departments, who don't tend to rush out and buy en masse on the first day of a product launch. Blackberry sales will come as users need them. ie. when existing handsets break, when new staff join a company (and there's no existing Blackberry to give them) or when running contracts offer free upgrades.

Of course, there is going to be some overlap on both sides. Some iPhone users will be businesses and some Blackberry users will be rabid RIM fanboys. But in general, that won't be the case. Now if RIM post poor sales in 12-18 months time, it will look bad. But first day sales tell us very little about the popularity of a business phone.

By Tony Swash on 8/18/2010 3:25:25 PM , Rating: 3

First-day sales belong primarily to the rabid fan community who are eager to get the latest and greatest. Consequently, we get high initial sales, dwindling off over time.

I bet a lot of phone makers would love to see their sales "dwindle over time" in the same way Apple's have :)

Generally the discussion on this forum of the phone market tends to ignore some very important facts about the structure of that market. One key misapprehension is that Apple is competing with Android, in fact Apple is competing with other phone makers some of whom are using Android. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple he understood that the Mac was not competing against Microsoft and Windows but rather against other computer OEMs. By ensuring that Apple's computer products had a unique value proposition for customers Apple have secured a lions share of profits in the PC market.

For a really interesting analysis of the over all shape of the current phone market and some of the issues confronting Apple and Android see this article

What has happened is that all phone makers have seen their profits dreadfully squeezed since the launch of the iPhone except for Apple and RIM. As their phone business have started to fail OEMs have turned to Android. Whether that can save them in the long term or help them rebuild their businesses and their profitability is a very interesting question.

You know what really grinds my gears?
By Pessimism on 8/17/2010 3:23:39 PM , Rating: 2
RIM is a Canadian company headquartered in Ontario, yet AT&T in the USA gets the 9800 a good month before any Canadian carrier.

By Camikazi on 8/17/2010 3:52:35 PM , Rating: 2
AT&T paid more to get it first :P

By ralniv on 8/17/2010 4:12:22 PM , Rating: 2
This is a clear sign that the iPhone4 is doomed to fail! Oh wait... I must have contracted the Apple Hater virus from lurking these boards too often.

RE: Doomed!
By cscpianoman on 8/17/2010 4:57:45 PM , Rating: 2
I must warn, as a physician, that there is no cure for the Apple Hater virus or Hata-appa-virus. The side effects are considered pretty mild, but include:

1) A sense of freedom/euphoria
2) An increase in spending money
and of course, an abhorrence/allergy to turtlenecks

These numbers are sku'd
By seraphim1982 on 8/18/2010 10:11:55 AM , Rating: 2
There was a global launch for the iPhone4, where there was no global launch for the Torch, so of course their sales numbers were lower.

RE: These numbers are sku'd
By seraphim1982 on 8/18/2010 10:16:54 AM , Rating: 2
Also, the highest user base of iPhone is the US, so again these number are bias'ed and sku'd

By xxsk8er101xx on 8/17/2010 5:38:05 PM , Rating: 3
Everyone wants an android phone now. It's cool to be a droid!

By Mr Perfect on 8/17/2010 8:30:23 PM , Rating: 2
Does it seem like the Torch has an identity crisis to anyone else? It's a touch screen like the Storm! No, wait, it's a trackpad and keyboard like the Curve! Is there really that big of an intersection between the two markets? It seems like people either love touchscreen phones or love physical keyboards.

By Acanthus on 8/18/2010 10:25:59 AM , Rating: 2
I saw it was AT&T exclusive.

Low first weekend sales???
By WhatDoIKnow on 8/18/2010 10:32:34 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps it is because the BB is primarily a corporate platform and businesses won't buy out their cell contract just so an employee can get the latest BB. Also the business world will have a contract with one carrier to get better rates, and if that isn't ATT...

The iPhone and Android platforms go after consumers who are much more likely to just say 'I want it' and pay whatever the price to have the 'latest' gadget. Oh, and they want it at midnight the day it is released too.

Imagine that...
By XSpeedracerX on 8/17/10, Rating: -1
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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