The BlackBerry Torch 9800 is barely making a spark.
RIM's supposed latest and greatest smartphone was set to save BlackBerry amid a three-way summer smartphone battle with Google Android and the Apple iPhone, but according to reports the price has been slashed and RIM only sold a handful of the smartphones during its launch.
The BlackBerry Torch 9800 may have been a victim of its own hype. The first smartphone to pack in RIM's BlackBerry 6.0 operating system was treated to an invitation-only launch day and a massive media campaign to spread the word. But from the looks of it, that word fell on deaf ears.
The slick smartphone is the first BlackBerry to feature a touch-screen and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and was RIM's answer at the hot phones from Google Android -- the HTC EVO 4G, Motorola Droid X and a host of others-- and the Apple iPhone 4 with iOS.
Amazon.com has already lopped $100 off the price tag of the BlackBerry Torch and is now charging $99 with a two-year AT&T contract. The price reduction comes just five days after the Torch was released. AT&T and Best Buy, however, continue to charge the full $199 with a two-year service agreement.
Meanwhile, early reports indicate that RIM only sold 150,000 BlackBerry Torch 9800s during the launch, according to Mobile Crunch.
While 150,000 is a solid showing, it's peanuts compared to the massive amount of sales the Apple iPhone 4, the Sprint HTC EVO and other devices have seen so far this summer. Some smartphones have sold so briskly that many of the popular models would periodically sell out and suffer supply shortages.
The Torch was seen as a make-or-break for RIM as the iPhone and Android continue to eat into BlackBerry's portion of the smartphone pie, with Google Android leading the way.
There are several possible reasons why the BlackBerry Torch has failed to set the smartphone market ablaze. It could be the timing hampered BlackBerry Torch sales, as RIM released it right around the launch of the Motorola Droid 2. Or it could be the BlackBerry Torch's AT&T exclusivity that's causing slow sales.
Along with the slide-out keyboard and BlackBerry OS 6.0, the BlackBerry Torch 9800 also features an optical trackpad; a 3.2-inch, 480 x 360 touch-screen display; a 5 megapixel camera; 4 GB of memory and a 4 GB microSD card. The 3G smartphone also offers 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 and MediaSync, which lets users sync media content over Wi-Fi.