John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

BlackBerry Torch Corners the “My Company Gave Me a BlackBerry” Market

It’s looking more and more like the Blackberry Torch isn’t quite the game changer Research in Motion pitched it as; it’s just another BlackBerry.

In a Friday note to clients, Barclays analyst Jeff Kvaal said Torch sales have been healthy–at least on par with those of the Bold 9700. But demand for the device doesn’t seem to have extended beyond Research in Motion’s (RIMM) BlackBerry base. “Most sales are to existing BlackBerry users, rather than conversions,” Kvall wrote. “We believe between 50-75 percent of unit sales are replacement sales.”

In other words, RIM’s “fresh but familiar” strategy is resonating with BlackBerry loyalists, but it’s not luring many new customers.

That’s fine given the breadth of the BlackBerry’s current user base (they don’t call it “the CrackBerry” for nothing), but it’s going to be problematic as the loyalty of that user base fades. And it is fading. According to a recent Nielsen survey, 57 percent of current BlackBerry users in the United States say they have been considering defecting to Apple (AAPL) or Google’s (GOOG) Android phones.