RIM needed the Blackberry Torch to sell, and sell big. While the venerable maker of business-centric smartphones still holds corporate market share by the horns, there’s nothing like a dose of bad reputation to start leaks of market share all over your product base. Electronista reports that early analysis shows RIM selling only 150,000 units of the Torch on release. While this is certainly no small number, compare it to the iPhone 4’s launch numbers (1.7 million at launch) and you’ll see why it’s underwhelming to say the least.
There are a few possible reasons for the short sales numbers. The core market segment of Blackberry owners, the corporate drones, are not the type to jump on the newest phone on release. Blackberry has never been a fad device, and it didn’t achieve its market dominance by releasing a few whiz-bang devices that overwhelmed retailers with around-the-block lines and mass supply shortages. Also, RIM released an OS update, 6.0, coinciding with the new phone. This update will go out to owners of newer Blackberry models, like the Bold and the Pearl 3G. Many of these owners could simply suffice with the software upgrade and push off the hardware update
The Torch is RIM’s second attempt at a consumer-friendly touchscreen device. The Blackberry Storm was the first attempt at penetrating the touchscreen market and it similarly didn’t fare so great for the bottom line. Many see this release as just another step into market oblivion for RIM, as it continues to underwhelm with hardware releases. Their saving grace is the same thing that’s kept them alive until now; as of now, nobody does corporate and enterprise messaging better. As long as they can hold on to this key market, ho-hum hardware will just be another hurdle to overcome, not the market death that some would suggest.
You can also check out Neowin's review of the Blackberry Torch too.