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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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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.

iPhone

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.

Blackberry

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
quote:
iPhone

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

http://www.asymco.com/2010/08/17/androids-pursuit-...

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.


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