Research In Motion’s most recent offering, the BlackBerry Torch 9700, is off to a rough start, with weak sales estimates and Amazon.com slashing the price of the device to just $99.
The Torch, which launched Aug. 12, and features BlackBerry’s new OS 6. According to estimates from analyst firms Stifel Nicolaus and RBC, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, the new phone has sold just 150,000 units since launch. In comparison, Apple said it sold 1.7 million iPhone 4s in its first three days after launch.
One thing that could be holding back the Torch is RIM went with a limited launch initially, giving AT&T a short-term exclusivity for the device.
The BlackBerry Torch features a full touchscreen, slider qwerty keyboard and other hallmarks of the high-end smarpthone. RIM has hopes the device will help it compete with other devices like the iPhone 4 and Android devices from Motorola and HTC.
Gartner recently reported second-quarter numbers that showed RIM’s mobile device sales to end users reached 11.2 million units globally, confirming RIM’s position as the fourth largest brand with a share of 3.4 percent this quarter. RIM falls in behind Nokia (42 percent), Samsung (20.1 percent) and LG (9 percent).
Gartner believes the Torch’s form factor will still appeal more to business users than to consumers and will stop many loyal BlackBerry users from defecting to other platforms, but the firm said the device won’t attract many new users to the brand.
Shares of RIM have fallen steadily since the launch of the Torch, dropping almost $5 per share since Aug. 12. In early morning trading today, shares of RIM were down 2 percent since yesterday’s close of $50.28 to $49.57.