While many aspects of the new BlackBerry 7 smartphones stand out, one aspect in particular stood out when they were finally released. While AT&T went the discount route, offering the Torch 9810 for $50, other carriers didn’t exactly follow suit. If you want to get the Bold 9900 on T-Mobile you’ll have to shell out $300. The 9930 on Verizon costs $250. Even the $200 price tag on the 9930 from Sprint seems like a lot when compared to other smartphones it offers. It’s curious that, at a time when RIM faces increasing scrutiny, that the company, along with the carriers, have chosen to price these new smartphones at the top of the market. Yet, given recent survey data, there might be a rhyme and reason to this after all. According to a report from ProperMobile (via 24/6 Wall St.), BlackBerry users are slightly more affluent than other smartphone users. To wit, 11.3 percent of BlackBerry owners make over $150,000 per year, while the number of Android users is about four points lower. The number of iPhone users is only slightly below that of BlackBerry, but that’s pretty predictable. I was pretty certain, really, that iPhone users would come out ahead. There is other information mentioned in the survey, but it pretty much boils down to media appreciation. Apple users are more likely to use Netflix (not necessarily on their phones, of course) and download apps. This makes a degree of sense. If someone has Netflix, chances are she wants Netflix on her phone as well. If a user values apps, he’ll go with Apple because they have the most robust app environment. The BlackBerry, of course, has few apps and no Netflix. Not only does this survey help explain the relatively high cost of new BlackBerry devices, but it stresses the importance of the QNX line to RIM’s future. Sure, maybe RIM settles in as the provider of phones for high-end business users. But that’s still a niche. If they want to compete with Android and Apple, they have to tackle that consumer market. That means creating media-rich and easy-to-navigate devices. We know it’s possible with QNX. Now it’s time for RIM to deliver.
Why did RIM price BlackBerry 7 smartphones so high?
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