By Barry Levine
Despite negative reviews for the touchscreen
Blackberry Storm, Verizon Wireless says one million have been sold.
Meantime, iSuppli said its analysis shows Research in Motion is selling
the BlackBerry Storm at a loss, since it costs more to make than
Apple's iPhone 3G. BlackBerry Storm complaints have focused on
bugginess and performance.
The first touchscreen BlackBerry, the Storm, received a mixed reception
from reviewers when it launched in late November. But Verizon Wireless,
the exclusive U.S. carrier, said earlier this week that the smartphone
has taken the market by storm, with one million sold.
Verizon is using that sales figure to counter a report in The Wall
Street Journal on Monday, which characterized the Storm's launch as a
"bit of a bumpy start." Despite a marketing campaign of more than $100
million, the newspaper said, some buyers complained that it was buggy.
Selling at a Loss?
At launch, the Storm was immediately compared to the best-known
touchscreen smartphone, Apple's iPhone 3G. Verizon's sales figure of
one million over about two months compares well with Apple's sale of
about 2.4 million iPhone 3Gs in its first full quarter.
But a new report from iSuppli raises a new area of comparison.
The market researcher said that its analysis of the Storm's components
show that not only are the constituent parts more expensive than the
iPhone's, but its maker, Research in Motion, is essentially selling the
phone at a loss.
iSuppli indicated that the Storm's cost of components and
manufacturing is a bit less than $203, while the iPhone 3G comes in at
less than $175. Software and other costs are not calculated. The Storm
and the iPhone are roughly equal in price, about $200, after accounting
for the Storm's rebate.
That comparison misses the point, said Current Analysis' Avi
Greengart. While not commenting directly on the specific pricing
assessment by iSuppli, Greengart pointed out that, even if the prices
are accurate, "Verizon Wireless is subsidizing the cost of the phone
over the life of its contract," as AT&T is doing with the iPhone.
Greengart also noted that the news of one million Storms sold is
good from a public-relations perspective, to counter some of the
less-than-rave reviews the smartphone has received. "There are certain
expectations that BlackBerrys will have a terrific keyboard," he noted,
"and the Storm's is subpar."
He also pointed to the complaints about bugginess and performance, as
well as the fact that the Storm "basically just ports the BlackBerry
user interface over to the Storm" rather than providing new approaches
that could improve ease of use. Until the Storm, BlackBerrys were
designed for a keyboard with a clickwheel or trackball, instead of a
The sales trumpeted by Verizon, he said, derive from two main
reasons. "It's the most exciting product in the Verizon Wireless
lineup," Greengart said, plus many people "choose their carrier first
and then see what is the best phone available." Verizon is spending
heavily to promote the Storm, he said, resulting in many people knowing
"And the BlackBerry brand still draws people," he said,
including one new resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, whose
BlackBerry devotion has not exactly diminished its appeal.
source : http://www.newsfactor.com/