It looks like the BlackBerry torch hasn’t exactly lit up (apologies for the pun) the public imagination. Reports show that 150,000 units were sold on launch. That’s one tenth of the launch sales of the iphone 4. RIM’s latest handset is playing catch-up with the Apple offering (but then, isn’t everyone) but then again it isn’t really offering any new features. A better OS, yes, but not a radically new one. Having said that, BlackBerry handsets don’t have the same sales profile as the iphone. For starters people tend to get them for functionality, particularly email and BBM rather than looks. In all likelyhood RIM will start discounting the Torch soon and sales will probably be steady as a result. However, RIM are beginning to look like another handset manufacturer who are loosing their way.
I’ve been saying this for a while, and in spite of the launch of the iphone 4, Apple has continued to loose its share of the smartphone market. Based on the first half of 2010, the smartphone manufacturers market shares are:
Nokia: market share 41% (up by 15%)
RIM (BlackBerry): market share 19% (up by 11%)
Apple iphone: market share 14% (down by 4%)
The rest of the market is made up by HTC (8%), Samsung (5%) and Motorola (5%) and one or two others. The biggest growth in OS was Android by over 400%, but that was obviously from a tiny start.
All of the big smartphone manufacturers have their problems, and in terms of design and user interface there is no question that many of them are running to catch up with Apple. Whilst the iphone is big in certain territories such as the US and UK, they are far from dominant in many other territories, where Blackberry often lead. Don’t get me wrong, Apple are a very profitable company and a signficant amount of those profits come from the handset sales. However they are far from leading the smartphone market in terms of sales, but clearly that is not their strategy. Perhaps the iphone 5, shown below may claw some of that share back?