John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

BlackBerry Torch: Quest for Fire

Good thing the success of Research in Motion’s new BlackBerry Torch hinges more on volume sales to enterprise than lines-around-the-block launch-week pandemonium, because the latter is evidently nowhere to be found. Goldman Sachs analyst Simona Jankowski describes consumer reaction to the Torch as “underwhelming,” observing in a note to clients that her checks suggest only a modest interest in it. “Almost all of the stores we called did not sell out of the device, which is in contrast to other high-profile smartphone launches such as the iPhone, Droid X, and EVO,” she wrote, adding, “Our checks suggest the vast majority of Torch sales are driven by upgrades from existing BlackBerry subscribers.”

Citigroup’s Jim Suva was similarly unimpressed. “Our checks in several locations across the U.S. revealed no customers lines upon store door openings and no product stock outs,” he told clients today. “While many may say the Torch launch should not be compared to an iPhone launch, we remind investors that the BlackBerry Storm launch (November 2008) indeed had lines outside of many stores and many stores sold out on day 1.”

‘Course the Storm also arrived at market a week before Black Friday and the ramp-up to the annual holiday consumer binge, so folks were in more of a buying mood. And their appetite for RIM (RIMM) smartphones hadn’t yet been ruined by the Storm, which would be branded a clunky, bug-ridden disaster a few months later.

So I’m not sure it’s all that surprising that there aren’t lines around the block for the Torch, nor am I sure that it even matters. As I noted earlier, RIM’s bailiwick is enterprise, and enterprise isn’t one for camping out on sidewalks.