On an analyst call last week Jim Balsille, co-CEO of Research in Motion said, “The launch of Pearl has been the most successful Blackberry launch that we have ever had. Our intention with Pearl was to open up a new market segment for Blackberry and this is what we have experienced.”
There is no doubt that the BlackBerry Pearl plays a huge part in RIM’s better than expected earnings, 95 cents per share, 2 cents more than what the street predicted, however, I just cannot help but feel that RIM left a lot on the table with the BlackBerry Pearl. RIM added 875,000 new subscribers this passed quarter, but, that number might not be related to first BlackBerry owning Pearl users as you might think.
We’ve seen estimates that say only
60% to 70% 30% to 40% of BlackBerry Pearl buyers are first time consumer BlackBerry buyers. If this is the case, the Pearl could have only been responsible for a fraction of the new subscribers RIM added this quarter.
I think that the lack of a BlackBerry Pearl marketing campaign truly targeting new consumers and a discombobulated release of the Pearl on Cingular allowed “the most successful BlackBerry Pearl launch ever” to go largely unnoticed by the audience the BlackBerry Pearl is supposedly targeting.
Was the BlackBerry Pearl launch successful? RIM sold a crap load of devices so, on the surface, you have to say yes, the BlackBerry Pearl was extremely successful. A potential issue for RIM is that the BlackBerry Pearl, although a success, wasn’t overwhelmingly successful with the target audience of first time BlackBerry buying consumers.
Fortunately for RIM, they sold enough BlackBerry Pearls to the ‘wrong people’ that they still beat the street and have now have the hindsight to address getting the BlackBerry 8800 into business users and consumer users hands alike.