updated 01:10 pm EDT, Wed September 8, 2010
ATT hints BBerry Torch sales not up to targets
(Updated with AT&T response) AT&T's President of Wireless Operations in the US West, Fred Devereux, hinted today that sales of the BlackBerry Torch were disappointing. He told those at Seattle's Mobile Future Forward conference that he was "surprised there hasn't been a faster adoption" of the phone, which he thought was the best-ever BlackBerry to date. He didn't provide numbers, but the statement was unusual and backed unofficial analyst views that sales had cooled quickly after launch.
Follow-up remarks suggested that Apple and Google may have been the primary factors. There was "tremendous momentum" for Android, Devereux said. The company only has a handful of Android devices headlined by the Samsung Captivate, but the iPhone has been a perpetual strong seller at AT&T and this year is still seeing shortages, even after nearly three months of availability.
Various factors have been speculated behind any possible sluggishness in Torch sales. As the BlackBerry is still led by corporate sales, many customers may simply be tied to work accounts that won't or can't upgrade automatically. Enterprise buyers often evaluate phones over a period of time before committing. Electronista and others have also pointed out technical issues that may have disappointed buyers and led them to switch, such as a display resolution and processor unchanged from 2008 despite the more demanding BlackBerry 6 platform.
Regardless of choice, the executive thought it was "amazing" how many could spend $200 on a smartphone and noticed the trends weren't slowing. "People are not buying basic phones anymore," he said.
Update: AT&T said it's "pleased with Torch sales so far," although it stopped short of quantifying details.