RIM Only Sells 150,000 BlackBerry Torch 9800s First Weekend

With a huge release party, mysterious monoliths in AT&T stores and enough leaks to sink the Titanic, the BlackBerry Torch 9800 was dubbed as Research In Motion’s (RIM) real answer to the iPhone and Android OS-powered smartphones. However, according to both RBC Capital Markets and Stifel Nicolaus, RIM has only managed to sell about 150,000 Torches over the weekend. Remember Apple’s iPhone 4 launch? 1.7 million units sold in the first three days. What the heck is going on here?

Well first of all, we have to understand that many of RIM’s customers are companies. Companies are generally slow to adopt new technology. (How many offices around the country still run Microsoft XP Pro? Far more than Microsoft wants to admit.) Still though, this is crushing news for RIM and AT&T. Both companies have refused to comment on the situation.

Second, we should also realize that the iPhone 4 came out in multiple countries at once. The Torch hasn’t been so lucky. I think it needs to show up on a few more carriers, and quickly. Playing the AT&T exclusivity agreement game is a dangerous rope to walk.

iSupply has also pointed out that the new Torch costs approximately $183 to manufacturer–including parts and labor. Most of the parts in it have already appeared in earlier BlackBerry models, and its processor (same as the Bold 9700’s) is a bit slower than what most high-end smartphones are currently packing. What really is striking though, is that iSupply estimates that a new iPhone 4 only costs around $188 to build.

What’s going on here RIM? Slower processor, a screen with around half the resolution and your Torch costs $5 less to build than the new iPhone? I think you should have spent the extra $5 and given us a better screen. Oh well, you can always blame much of this on AT&T–after all, AT&T did tell RIM what it should put in the Torch.

What do you think? These numbers going to drastically change over the next few months or is the Torch 9800 going to have a launch reminiscent of a non-flagship Android OS smartphone? Let me know what you think about this.

Tags: , ,