RIM clarifies $99 Torch price point

The cost of a single BlackBerry Torch may total $171.05, but Amazon is currently offering the smartphone at a sweet $99 price point.

Indeed, a RIM spokesperson contacted TG Daily to refute reports that the online retailer had slashed the price of the company’s flagship device by more than half.

“[While] it is true that Amazon is offering an amazing price and this is great news for customers, it is inaccurate and misleading to suggest that a price cut has been implemented,” explained the spokesperson.

“Amazon actually launched the BlackBerry Torch from the very beginning at $99 and that is obviously a common online pricing and promotional strategy that has been used with many other product introductions in the past.”

Meanwhile, iSuppli – which conducted a thorough teardown of the device – confirmed the Torch delivered a “rich feature set,” with three user interfaces (UIs): a capacitive touch screen, an optical track pad and the first slider QWERTY keyboard found in a BlackBerry.

“On the inside, the Torch’s electronic design heavily leverages subsystems used in previous members of the BlackBerry smart phone line, specifically the Storm2 and the Bold 9700,” iSuppli principal analyst Andrew Rassweiler told TG Daily in an e-mailed statement.

“With this evolutionary approach, RIM has delivered a smart phone with an enhanced feature set that largely matches those of the BlackBerry’s chief competitors: the iPhone and the Android-based handsets.”

According to Rassweiler, the Torch boasts a number of other firsts for the BlackBerry line, including the newly rewritten OS 6, as well as social feeds, universal search and a faster WebKit-based browser. 

“The new BlackBerry smart phone also contains a GPS Integrated Circuit (IC) from CSR plc, the first time iSuppli has seen this new chip in a product teardown.

“On the other hand, the Torch also bears some similarity to smart phones from other brands. Mechanically, it is comparable in complexity and cost to HTC Tilt 2.

“Likewise, the Torch integrates Texas Instruments Inc.’s WL1271x WLAN/BlueTooth IC, which can be found in [other] products, including Motorola’s Droid X and Microsoft’s Kin 2.”