Armageddon has come in our time! Get the women and children to the shelters! It is the end times! How do we know? What was the final sign to tell us that the end was nigh? The BlackBerry Torch only sold 150,000 units on its first weekend!
Oh the humanity!
Kidding aside folks, from reading the number of blog posts out there about this subject, you would think disaster had just struck. Since when is 150,000 units selling of a phone on a weekend something to sneeze at? Well, apparently it is in the wake of the iPhone 4 selling a million plus in just about the same time period. Of course the concept that the iPhone 4 was sold in multiple countries while the Torch was only sold in the United States is just a footnote in most articles.
There is also a sick brilliance to how the iPhone is sold each year. The newest Apple phone comes out in the same time frame each year, meaning that every other year customers are eligible for an upgrade … right when the newest iPhone is coming out. Apple has built a self-replenishing cycle of sales that can only be accomplished when you sell only one or two new phone models. Sure there are BlackBerry lovers out there, but how long has it been since they upgraded? Six months? A Year? With so many BlackBerry models out there, it may have even be difficult for a die hard fan to rationalize picking up this newest phone on launch weekend.
Of course, something happened over at Amazon that didn’t help matters. Whether it was Research In Motion (RIM) making the call, or Amazon did it on their own, on Monday the 16th, the price of the phone was cut in half with a two year contract from $199 to $99.
Not exactly a confidence builder in your product, ya know?
I think cell phone manufacturers are going to have to adjust their thinking in the age of the iPhone. You can’t all be selling a million plus the weekend it comes out. In the case of the Torch, things would probably go better if their operating system didn’t still feel so dated after a major upgrade. RIM is playing catch up right now on a lot of fronts, but it is still a solid phone … as evidenced by selling 150,000 units.
People also have to realize that the smartphone market right now is just insanely crowded. Beyond the iPhone there seems to be a new Android phone every week, BlackBerry units are dropping from the sky, Windows Phone 7 handsets are entering the starting gate, this is just not a good time for phone manufacturers, and in turn, not for the consumers either. I would hate to be trying to make a decision about what to buy right now because you know there is something “bigger and better” just weeks away.
As for all of the Negative Nancy types out there, just calm down. I’m supposedly one of the most cynical people in technology, and even I can’t call this a disaster.
What say you? Should RIM be worried?