BlackBerry Torch: Prices So Hot, They’re on Fire
UPDATE: Well, that’s what I get for living in the Apple ecosystem and never having the opportunity to go bargain-hunting for a phone. As one of my esteemed colleagues so graciously points out in the comments, lots of newer phones are steeply discounted on Amazon, some (like the Torch) as soon as the day of release. So the deals offered on the Torch can’t really be read as an indicator of demand, one way or the other. Chastened, I will humbly await additional data before speculating further on its success.
Launched last Thursday, Research in Motion’s new BlackBerry Torch is already being sold at a discount–and significant one, too. First offered at $199.99 with a two-year contract, you can find the Torch for $99.99 by Amazon and Wirefly, as well (AT&T continues to offer it for the original price).
This seems an ominous sign. The Torch may well be the best BlackBerry yet, as RIM (RIMM) claims, but halving its price so early suggests that Droid- and iPhone-addled consumers may not really care. That said, Torch sales are more likely to be driven by upgrades from existing BlackBerry users than by converts. So RIM is selling to its base here, which isn’t a bad thing given its size (a near-50 percent share of the U.S. market).
Said Gleacher and Co. analyst Mark McKechnie, “We had not expected a consumer phenomenon à la the iPhone 4 or MOT’s Droid X as we view the Torch as largely an upgrade for loyal BlackBerry road warriors. While hard to quantify, early feedback is that most buyers are ‘ugpraders’ — i.e. existing BlackBerry users replacing older units. Thus the sales will add to the overall device sales but not the subscriber additions.”