BlackBerry Storm sales reported just one fifth that of iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
A late launch and buggy software are described as normal by Resesarch in Motion, but may have led the company to sell just half a million of its first touchscreen BlackBerry in the final weeks of 2008 -- a fifth of what Apple's iPhone 3G reportedly achieved in the same quarter.



Anonymous people familiar with Verizon's phone sales tell the Wall Street Journal that about 500,000 Storm devices passed through the carrier's gates in the month after its launch on November 21st.



While its sales figures are deemed "promising," the smartphone missed more than half of the fall calendar quarter due to delays. Its results also purportedly pale in comparison to AT&T's for its flagship iPhone: although Apple in its latest quarterly report didn't break down iPhone 3G sales by region, the newspaper claims that AT&T will report selling about 2.4 million iPhones in the same period when its quarterly results are made public on Wednesday.



Moreover, the very mixed reception for the Storm is allegedly the byproduct of a launch strategy that put timing over quality. Sources for the Journal say that RIM and Verizon were so eager to launch the first touchscreen BlackBerry ahead of November 28th -- also known as Black Friday and the biggest shopping day of the year -- that the two started shipping units with glaring bugs that have included crashes, severe lag and other problems.



The early hiccups required a similarly rushed fix in December and are still being mended. RIM's co-CEO Jim Ballsillie notes that one upcoming patch will change the Storm's vertical keyboard from the prediction-heavy SureType format (also used on the BlackBerry Pearl) to a conventional QWERTY format like those on iPhones and a handful of other devices.



RIM and Verizon alike counter claims that the launch has been less than ideal. Balsillie doesn't divulge specific numbers but says that his Canada-based company is building about 250,000 Storms per week. He acknowledges that the software was flawed but that bugs in complex phones are the "new reality."



A Verizon spokesman in turn says that, despite claims to the contrary, return rates on the Storm are below 10 percent and that early results have "lived up to our expectations."



Even so, the build rates and customer acceptance are potentially sobering for the two firms, which paired up specifically to answer Apple's cellphone. At the height of its launch popularity during the summer, the iPhone 3G was rumored in production volumes as high as 800,000 per week, or more than three times RIM's present manufacturing rate.



RIM's current all-time high was in its September-to-November fiscal quarter, when it nearly topped Apple's iPhone 3G launch performance by shipping 6.7 million BlackBerries, albeit during a quarter in which the Storm had just a week on store shelves.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 94
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    As bad as these numbers sound, after actually trying to use a Storm I believe they may be over-stated. It's hard to believe that 500,000 people bought one of these POS's in just under two months and less than 10 people took it back?



    Also, even if sales are at 500,000 the channels would already be glutted with the things if the manufacturer was making 250,000 a week. Sounds kinda fishy all round to me.



    Edit: just realised that "single digits" refers to percentage likely.



    Edit 2: The sales period seems like only two solid weeks, so if manufacturers are making 250,00 a week, then all that's really happened here is that the two weeks worth of manufactured goods have moved to the stores. This doesn't necessarily mean they sold any.
  • Reply 2 of 94
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A Verizon spokesman in turn says that, despite claims to the contrary, return rates on the Storm are below 10 percent and that early results have "lived up to our expectations."



    What 9.9% returned?

    I know one person personally who did.
  • Reply 3 of 94
    Quote:

    The sales period seems like only two solid weeks, so if manufacturers are making 250,00 a week, then all that's really happened here is that the two weeks worth of manufactured goods have moved to the stores. This doesn't necessarily mean they sold any.



    Yeah, I'd be very interested to see just how many Storms have actually been activated, although if the outlook is as bad as it seems, I doubt RIM or Verizon are going to be very willing to give out that information.
  • Reply 4 of 94
    tenten Posts: 42member
    Three person's I personally know, that bought the BBS, all returned within the 30 day period and bought the iPhone instead... the BBS has helped promote the iPhone.



    One Verizon friend, is going to try the BBS for 30 days... if he doesn't like it, he's jumping ship to AT&T for the iphone.



    One thing is for sure, AT&T really made out getting the iPhone exclusive... too bad Verizon told  to take a hike.



    Once the exclusive is over, RIM doesn't have a prayer.... most people I know are not holding out for RIM, rather, they are holding out for Verizon. If Verizon were smart, they should be contracting with  right now for the next big thing.
  • Reply 5 of 94
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post


    What 9.9% returned?

    I know one person personally who did.



    Me too. I played around with it and the GUI is very slow and the click screen is counterintuitive.
  • Reply 6 of 94
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ten View Post


    Three person's I personally know, that bought the BBS, all returned within the 30 day period and bought the iPhone instead... the BBS has helped promote the iPhone.



    One Verizon friend, is going to try the BBS for 30 days... if he doesn't like it, he's jumping ship to AT&T for the iphone.



    One thing is for sure, AT&T really made out getting the iPhone exclusive... too bad Verizon told  to take a hike.



    Once the exclusive is over, RIM doesn't have a prayer.... most people I know are not holding out for RIM, rather, they are holding out for Verizon. If Verizon were smart, they should be contracting with  right now for the next big thing.



    I doubt Apple would make a phone for verizon even if the exclusive deal was over today. I could be wrong, but when they make one phone that works in most countries throughout the world, not sure they would setup a separate manufacturing process just for verizon, but you never know.
  • Reply 7 of 94
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dizzy13 View Post


    I doubt Apple would make a phone for verizon even if the exclusive deal was over today. I could be wrong, but when they make one phone that works in most countries throughout the world, not sure they would setup a separate manufacturing process just for verizon, but you never know.



    You'll have to rationalize that thought with the fact that so many other companies make phones for Verizon. Do you see the contradiction? Also, do you really think that it would cost Apple so much to drop a new chip or two into the iPhone that it wouldn't be worth the HUGE market that Verizon would provide? 65 million subscribers. If Apple could get 5% of that, that's 3 million phones. 3 million times $500 = 1.5 billion. 50% profit margin works out to $750 million profit. How much do you think it costs to put a couple different chips in a phone?
  • Reply 8 of 94
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Worldwide the number are quite different. 3 billion people use GSM while only 450 million people use CDMA. I don't think the numbers support creating a second manufacturing line.



    On top of that Verizon's business model does not fit with how Apple sells the iPhone. They would have to reconcile those differences.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cameronj View Post


    You'll have to rationalize that thought with the fact that so many other companies make phones for Verizon. Do you see the contradiction? Also, do you really think that it would cost Apple so much to drop a new chip or two into the iPhone that it wouldn't be worth the HUGE market that Verizon would provide? 65 million subscribers. If Apple could get 5% of that, that's 3 million phones. 3 million times $500 = 1.5 billion. 50% profit margin works out to $750 million profit. How much do you think it costs to put a couple different chips in a phone?



  • Reply 9 of 94
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cameronj View Post


    You'll have to rationalize that thought with the fact that so many other companies make phones for Verizon. Do you see the contradiction? Also, do you really think that it would cost Apple so much to drop a new chip or two into the iPhone that it wouldn't be worth the HUGE market that Verizon would provide? 65 million subscribers. If Apple could get 5% of that, that's 3 million phones. 3 million times $500 = 1.5 billion. 50% profit margin works out to $750 million profit. How much do you think it costs to put a couple different chips in a phone?



    To futher that, Verizon now has 80 million customers. Also, dont forget that ATT jumped on the LTE bandwagon, so they will have to put the same chipset in the iphone in the future anyway. I am not aware of a company that would pass an opportunity to build for them, it would be financially ignorant.
  • Reply 10 of 94
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post


    Worldwide the number are quite different. 3 billion people use GSM while only 450 million people use CDMA. I don't think the numbers support creating a second manufacturing line.



    That still ignores the point that all phone makers DO find the time and resources to drop a CDMA chip in their phones for Verizon. Just how much do you think it would cost anyway? $750 million?
  • Reply 11 of 94
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,232member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dizzy13 View Post


    I doubt Apple would make a phone for verizon even if the exclusive deal was over today. I could be wrong, but when they make one phone that works in most countries throughout the world, not sure they would setup a separate manufacturing process just for verizon, but you never know.





    All companies will be going to 4G in the 2010 timeframe. Both AT&T and Verizon will be going to LTE, while Sprint will be going to WiMax.



    I'm assuming that the new 2010 model iPhone will still work on AT&T's network. If so, then it will also work on Verizon's.
  • Reply 12 of 94
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,941member
    People just never learn. Apple's iPhone at introduction wasn't exactly picture-perfect either with the firmware issues but smack goes to RIM for coming out with a phone way before it was ready for release.



    An engineer would not ship a product until it is perfect. Meaning, nothing will ever ship.



    Marketing wants to ship a product yesterday to get it in the hands of people. Meaning, "I don't care if it doesn't work, we got to get it out the door."



    I think Apple did a great job with the v1.0 iPhone. Sure it wasn't perfect but it was far more polished and usable. They found a much better balance of stability and worked the kinks out once it went to the masses.



    RIM should just be ashamed. So many companies pull stunts like these and usually end up ruining their reputation in the process. They could have waited a few more weeks. Perhaps for the Christmas holidays. There is just no excuse. RIM obviously won't be going out of business but the folks that put it out too early really should be shown the door. For an executive to imply that these bugs are the "new reality" is just plain ignorant.



    Polish your product buddy. Don't throw crap out the door. If you do, don't complain when it gets thrown back at you.



    </rant>
  • Reply 13 of 94
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A late launch and buggy software are described as normal by Resesarch in Motion



    Late and buggy have been the norm for cellphone makers for years, but now that the iPhone has arrived, that kind of schlock will put a company on the fast-track for bailout funding from Uncle Obama.
  • Reply 14 of 94
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,232member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


    People just never learn. Apple's iPhone at introduction wasn't exactly picture-perfect either with the firmware issues but smack goes to RIM for coming out with a phone way before it was ready for release.



    An engineer would not ship a product until it is perfect. Meaning, nothing will ever ship.



    Marketing wants to ship a product yesterday to get it in the hands of people. Meaning, "I don't care if it doesn't work, we got to get it out the door."



    I think Apple did a great job with the v1.0 iPhone. Sure it wasn't perfect but it was far more polished and usable. They found a much better balance of stability and worked the kinks out once it went to the masses.



    RIM should just be ashamed. So many companies pull stunts like these and usually end up ruining their reputation in the process. They could have waited a few more weeks. Perhaps for the Christmas holidays. There is just no excuse. RIM obviously won't be going out of business but the folks that put it out too early really should be shown the door. For an executive to imply that these bugs are the "new reality" is just plain ignorant.



    Polish your product buddy. Don't throw crap out the door. If you do, don't complain when it gets thrown back at you.



    </rant>



    RIM's real problem with the Storm isn't the bugs. While that's not good, and a number are still lingering, the real problem is with the keyboard.



    To get that "click" they have a bump on the back of the middle of the screen. That sits on a round microswitch. when you press the screen, the switch depresses, clicks, and pushes the screen back up. The edge of the screen is also attached so dirt won't get inside.



    The problem with this whole concept is that it takes some effort to click the "buttons". While a few clicks isn't a problem, typing a paragraph quickly gets tiring. Apparently, according to all the reviews I've read (and bookmarked, in case anyone is interested) that have commented on it, the phone often mistakes a swipe as a click, and visa versa.



    These are serious problems that require a re-design of that entire concept. It's not just a software bug that can be fixed later. The entire phone must be scrapped and replaced.



    I've tried it, and indeed, it is fun to use at first, but the click get old real quick.



    I can't see any advantage to them. they still don't tell you that your finger is hitting the right "key". They don't even tell you that your finger is hitting a "key" at all! You might just be hitting the space between. Anywhere you press, the screen will click. While sounds and such do give you that info, you get that info on the iPhone as well.



    It just wasn't that well thought out. It's "cool", but not that useful.
  • Reply 15 of 94
    prismprism Posts: 75member
    Also keep in mind that there is 1 model of iPhone (apart from memory size differences) and several models of Blackberry. I missed that in the article.

    I don't believe one can compare just the Storm to the iPhone, it should be Blackberry against the iPhone.
  • Reply 16 of 94
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,232member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prism View Post


    Also keep in mind that there is 1 model of iPhone (apart from memory size differences) and several models of Blackberry. I missed that in the article.

    I don't believe one can compare just the Storm to the iPhone, it should be Blackberry against the iPhone.



    You're right, of course, but it's RIM that's comparing the Storm to the iPhone, so it is fair. It's the closest thing RIM has to the iPhone.
  • Reply 17 of 94
    prismprism Posts: 75member
    If it's RIM that does the comparing and making it obviously, then yes it's fair I guess.
  • Reply 18 of 94
    hattighattig Posts: 858member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    RIM's real problem with the Storm isn't the bugs. While that's not good, and a number are still lingering, the real problem is with the keyboard.



    To get that "click" they have a bump on the back of the middle of the screen. That sits on a round microswitch. when you press the screen, the switch depresses, clicks, and pushes the screen back up. The edge of the screen is also attached so dirt won't get inside.



    The problem with this whole concept is that it takes some effort to click the "buttons". While a few clicks isn't a problem, typing a paragraph quickly gets tiring. Apparently, according to all the reviews I've read (and bookmarked, in case anyone is interested) that have commented on it, the phone often mistakes a swipe as a click, and visa versa.



    These are serious problems that require a re-design of that entire concept. It's not just a software bug that can be fixed later. The entire phone must be scrapped and replaced.



    I've tried it, and indeed, it is fun to use at first, but the click get old real quick.



    I can't see any advantage to them. they still don't tell you that your finger is hitting the right "key". They don't even tell you that your finger is hitting a "key" at all! You might just be hitting the space between. Anywhere you press, the screen will click. While sounds and such do give you that info, you get that info on the iPhone as well.



    It just wasn't that well thought out. It's "cool", but not that useful.



    That sounds absolutely pointless, and counter-productive.



    I presume Apple have the patent on capacitive touch clicking by finding the centre of an area of pressure (e.g., a finger tip shaped area) as the likely point of contact? I assume they also have a patent on the keyboard design that works out likely words from your typing pattern rather than the exact place you typed. Both of these will make RIM's job much harder to come up with an alternative.
  • Reply 19 of 94
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cameronj View Post


    That still ignores the point that all phone makers DO find the time and resources to drop a CDMA chip in their phones for Verizon. Just how much do you think it would cost anyway? $750 million?



    Nokia and Sony Ericsson both got out of CDMA because it was unprofitable. Qualcomm control CDMA in the US and everything is done on their terms. They're the ones making all of the profits. The R&D cost simply isn't worth it for a lot of companies.



    Qualcomm's flavour of CDMA is an evolutionary dead-end. There's no logical reason for Apple to bring the iPhone to Verizon.
  • Reply 20 of 94
    adjeiadjei Posts: 738member
    I remember when this phone was released an people were saying this would kill of the iphone if Apple didnt implement all the basic features iphone lacked, this phone sure killed the iphone, just like the G1, now we'll have the N97 and Pre to come have a go.
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