(Update: 18082010 1248hrs) RIM spokesperson has refuted claims that the Amazon price slash of the Torch is a result of poor initial sales. Saying that the BlackBerry Torch was actually priced at US$99 from the beginning. The spokesperson also stated that the Torch is a very advanced device. “Mechanically, it is comparable in complexity and cost to HTC Tilt 2“. Referring to a WinMo 6.5 device that was launched in the US close to a year ago. Read more about it here. Bottom line, we’re not convinced.
2010 is shaping up to be a year that RIM would quickly like to forget. A slew of ban threats from paranoid governments wanting take a peep into its servers, have left share prices plummeting and its credibility in taters; now the device that RIM has banked on to take its BlackBerry brand from business phone to must have phone has fall flat on its face.
That’s right ladies and gents, RIM’s much hyped about BlackBerry Torch 9800 has failed to win RIM and the BlackBerry franchise any new fans, in fact it risks isolating existing BlackBerry users who are already pondering a future with the more capable and feature-rich Android or iPhone devices.
It’s not even a month after the Torch made its US debut and already Amazon, one of the frontlines offering the device, has reduced its purchase price from US$199 to a bargain basement US$99 with a 24 months contract on AT&T. More degrading, this puts the flagship Torch in the same price bracket as Apple’s entry level 8GB iPhone 3GS. This doesn’t bode well for the Torch, a device that RIM pegged as its comeback kid.
This is a massive blow to RIM, once a leader in business smartphones, and if sales figures don’t improve, its very easy to deduce that the Torch could be walking the smartphone green mile sharing the very same fate as the swiftly terminated Microsoft KIN.
RIM is stuck in the mud now and must find its way out quickly if it intends to stay in the smartphone game past this holiday season. This peddling of old hardware mated with also-ran software is not going to cut it in a playing field that’s dominated by 1GHz processors, dual camera’s and Retina Displays. The will need a miracle to pull through.