If all of the rumors are correct three new BlackBerry devices, the BlackBerry Pearl Flip, The BlackBerry Bold, and the BlackBerry Storm, will all come out within about a month of each other. I personally like having choice, however, I wonder if these releases may be a bit too close to each other.
There is no question that RIM’s intention wasn’t to have three back to back to back releases. The BlackBerry Bold was supposed to come back during the summer but RIM and AT&T couldn’t get 3G figured out and there was the little known device, the iPhone 3G, which made its debut back then as well.
I honestly don’t know what RIM’s intentions with the BlackBerry Pearl Flip are. It is the first flip phone BlackBerry and most people that don’t read BlackBerry blogs everyday initial reaction is, “Oh when did that come out”, as they walk passed it to find the BlackBerry Curve in the T-Mobile store.
RIM, Verizon, and Vodafone appear to be throwing serious marketing dollars behind the BlackBerry Storm, RIM’s first touchscreen BlackBerry and it is definitely overshadowing the Flip and the Bold. Since all of these devices, at least for now, are exclusive to a single carrier, RIM’s thought may have been that it doesn’t matter much when we release them. I think, however, RIM forgets that with the exception of Verizon, carrier loyalty really doesn’t mean much.
You already hear a lot of AT&T subscribers say that they will forgo the Bold and switch to Verizon to get the BlackBerry Storm and I’d be willing to bet that AT&T to Verizon churn to get the Storm will be greater than Verizon to AT&T to get the iPhone. This, however is for another post…
At the end of the day, things will probably work themselves out. The Storm is going to sell like mad to prosumers so long as RIM gets the pricing right. AT&T has a massive amount of business users that will eventually swap their aging 8700 and 8800 devices out for Bolds and T-Mobile will eventually offer the Pearl Flip for about $50 if they don’t completely subsidize it and give it away for free with a long-term contract.