updated 08:25 am EST, Mon January 26, 2009
RIM on Storm Sales
The BlackBerry Storm's initially buggy software was not only the product of being rushed for Verizon but should have been expected, Research in Motion co-chief Jim Balsillie tells the Wall Street Journal. He acknowledges that the phone was shipped "by the skin of our teeth" to meet the Black Friday deadline and help Verizon's sales but defends the decision by saying the need to patch the phone's code later is part of a "new reality" of shipping large amounts of smartphones.
Rumors shortly into the launch had suggested a high return rate as a result of the glitches, though Verizon has since denied the claims. RIM adds that it's also expecting to fix the remaining problems with the Storm in upcoming patches and confirms a recent firmware leak which shows that the handset will abandon RIM's longstanding SureType portrait keyboard in favor of a more iPhone-like QWERTY layout.
The iPhone 3G itself encountered significant launch issues that included problems with crashing third-party apps, a tendency to drop the 3G connection and other issues that weren't fully resolved until September.
Balsillie also characterizes the first touchscreen BlackBerry as an "overwhelming success" and claims that RIM is struggling to meet demand with shipments of about 250,000 phones per week. The number would give the Storm alone about 3 million units per quarter and potentially puts RIM's total BlackBerry sales per quarter significantly above those of Apple, which shipped 4.36 million iPhones this past fall.