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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By TomZ on 8/17/2010 12:39:10 PM , Rating: 0
The only question is when/if RIM adopts Android for their phone line. That is the only thing that can save them. Their hardware is brilliant, but new buyers aren't going to want their software.

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.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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