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.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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