Analyst: BB Torch sales have been solid, several new 'Berrys coming next year [UPDATED]Alex Wagner - Senior News Editor
Ever since the BlackBerry Torch was released, people have been wondering exactly how well RIM's first touchscreen/slider QWERTY has been selling. Initially, sales looked somewhat slow, but according to one analyst, interest has picked up quite a bit. Jeff Kvaal, analyst at Barclays Capital, believes that sales of the Torch have been "solid" as of late and that the 9800 is the second most popular device on AT&T, mostly thanks to Ma Bell slashing the price of the Torch to just $99 on contract. When it comes to other RIM handsets, Kvaal thinks that we'll be seeing products like a updated version of the Curve 8900, a new version of the Storm, and a device described as a "Touch Bold" in the the first half of 2011, while QNX-powered phones are expected some time in the second half of the year. Of course, any discussion about BlackBerrys wouldn't be complete without the PlayBook, and this one is no different. RIM's tablet will move around 3 million units at an average price of $468 according to Kvaal, while Gleacher & Co. analyst Mark McKechnie is predicting sales a tad lower, at 1.8 million sold through February 2012.
Seeing Torch sales increase shouldn't be a surprise considering that the device is now available in new colors and for a lower price. I'm just glad to see it finally doing well. As for the new phones that Kvaal mentioned, we've pretty much seen them all already. The update to the Curve 8900, aka the 8980, was outed by the FCC recently; the Storm 3 has leaked more times than we can count; and the "Touch Bold" just popped up in the news with the new codename Montana. Finally, the PlayBook: it's always tough to predict sales, especially when it comes to a young market like tablets, but I have a feeling that RIM's device will sell more than 1.8 million units. I'm sure that there will be plenty of businesses already invested in RIM's smartphones that will pick up the PlayBook, and a lot of sales will come from interest in seeing exactly what the tablet's QNX OS is like. I know I'm looking forward to checking the PlayBook out, are you?
UPDATE: Speaking of the Storm 3, it was just spotted in Best Buy's systems. There's still no evidence of when, or if, it'll launch, but it still exists in some form!