RIM needs to sell 1m BB10 smartphones

Michael Carroll
30 Jan 2013

Canadian smartphone vendor RIM must sell at least a million BlackBerry 10 (BB10) devices within three months to maintain its business credibility, a senior Informa Telecoms & Media analyst claims.

The vendor is set to unveil its first BB10 devices today, however Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa, says shipments of less than a million units will impact the market’s confidence in RIM’s ability to execute its marketing strategy. Saadi notes such figures are not guaranteed, with consumer reaction to the new user experience a crucial factor in the vendor’s success or failure.

“In developed markets, BlackBerry is no longer perceived as a premium brand and subscribers in these regions have deserted the platform in their masses due to the lack of attractive devices,” Saadi notes, adding. “In emerging markets, the situation is different. The introduction of affordable BlackBerry devices such as the BlackBerry Curve has enabled RIM to attract a large audience.”

Saadi points out that RIM’s success in emerging territories is also due to declines in its average selling price – down from $280 in 2010 to $200 in 2012.

However, the vendor also faces a battle to win the hearts and minds of retail sales staff in order to make BB10 devices a success. “Sales representatives often prefer to sell…phones as quickly as possible, preferably ones that don’t require too much effort in educating the consumer,” Saadi says, pointing out that early shipments of the iPhone, Android and Windows Phone smartphones all hovered around a million units in the first three months after launch.

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