We got some validation this afternoon for our Nov. 20 BlackBerry Storm review thesis, which was “RIM’s BlackBerry Storm is no iPhone, but should sell well.”
Indeed, RIM’s (RIMM) new Storm is no iPhone — a recent RBC/ChangeWave survey suggests only 33% of new Storm owners were “very satisfied” with their purchase, versus 77% of “very satisfied” original iPhone buyers.
But that hasn’t stopped Verizon and RIM from selling a lot of Storms. How many? We don’t know — RIM doesn’t disclose specific gadgets’ unit sales. But it’s big enough that it’s “really quite surprising” to RIM — which still can’t build them fast enough to meet demand.
A few points from RIM’s Q3 earnings call this afternoon:
- Storm launch has been “exceptional,” demand “even stronger than anticipated.”
- Not able to meet demand for the product in North America even after replenishing supply regularly.
- First day of Storm sales, Nov. 21, was the highest number of new subscriber signups in a single day in RIM’s history.
- 75% of sellthrough going to new BlackBerry customers — versus upgrades — in the U.S. The Bold, on the other hand, is the opposite — mostly upgrades to existing BlackBerry subs.
- Continues to be Verizon’s (VZ) best-selling device almost a month after launch.
This is very good news for Verizon, which needs any help it can get competing with Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone at AT&T (T). Moreover, BlackBerry Storm subscribers are required to sign Internet access plans, which will significantly increase the amount of money many spend on monthly service with Verizon.
It’s not good news for Apple, which is also competing with T-Mobile’s exclusive Google (GOOG) G1 this Christmas — which, like the Storm, didn’t exist last quarter.
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