AAPL Stock: 117.81 ( -0.22 )

Printed from

Marvell says RIM backing away from high-end smartphones

updated 08:55 pm EST, Fri March 4, 2011

Marvell hints RIM focusing on low-end BlackBerry

Marvell in its financial results call on Friday may have given signs that RIM is stepping away from high-end BlackBerry phones. CEO Sehat Sutardja blamed a steeper than expected 34 percent revenue drop primarily on RIM moving to "entry-level smartphones," where Marvell doesn't have chips to offer. Most of Marvell's designs in the BlackBerry line have focused on flagships like the Bold and Torch.

Sutardja didn't say how much of the transition was already taking place or if it knew where RIM's business was going.

The transfer would support beliefs that RIM is increasingly turning to beginner smartphone owners or to those in developing countries. Android and iPhone sales go primarily to customers that can afford a smartphone-level subscription, BlackBerry customers can often pick a cheaper messaging only plan or use prepaid service. RIM's most popular phones for more than a year have been the Curve 8500 series and the Curve 3G, both phones that are often cheap on contract or inexpensive enough to be bought outright for a prepaid user.

RIM has been gradually losing share over the last several months and just at the start of the year sank to third place in terms of platform, just behind Google and Apple. It was symbolically outshipped by Apple twice in a row in the last two quarters of 2010.

RIM's departure may not be permanent. Its 2011 BlackBerry roadmap has revealed that many of its future phones, including flagships like the Storm3, are using Qualcomm's Snapdragon chips. The PlayBook is also using a Texas Instruments OMAP processor. RIM may primarily be phasing out Marvell out of discontent with its high-end roadmap and focusing on cheap phones in the short term.

Performance has been one of the most commonly cited flaws of BlackBerry phones in recent years. The complaints culminated with the launch of the Torch, which used a two-year old, 624MHz Marvell processor at a time when Apple, HTC and Motorola were all using modern 1GHz processors. Its problem was compounded when it opted to run the more demanding BlackBerry 6 platform on the phones; in some cases, it led to performance about half as fast as rivals and occasional sluggishness just in basic navigation. [via MarketWatch]

by MacNN Staff



  1. FreeRange

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    A grossly mismanaged company that just doesn't get it. They are still a one trick pony.

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969



    ...Marvell is trying to allay fears that their CPUs are no longer competitive by claiming RIM is simply not making high end phones, rather than making high end phones with their competitors' CPUs.

  1. vistate

    Joined: Dec 1969


    last i checked..

    rim was moving toward Texas Instruments for their playbook...smartphones as well???

    hmmm...electronista...ijobs kool-aide drinking frenzy

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented