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Analyst: iPhone sales strong, Atrix 4G and BlackBerry weak

updated 10:00 am EDT, Mon May 9, 2011

Canaccord says iPhone strong but RIM, Motorola low

An investment note from Canaccord Genuity lead analyst T. Michael Walkley on Monday suggested that some of the halo devices for Android and BlackBerry were struggling to get sales even as Apple was succeeding. The iPhone and iPad were still selling very well at AT&T and Verizon in April and, in many cases, were outselling flagship Android devices. The iPhone 4 was the best-selling smartphone at both carriers, and the $49 iPhone 3GS was outselling both the HTC Inspire 4G and Motorola Atrix, according to checks at several stores.

The research also suggested that the wave of 4G-badged phones was having trouble or not achieving the expected results. Verizon shipped 260,000 HTC Thunderbolts in its first quarter, but sales were tapering off and were burnt by higher than usual returns from owners complaining about early LTE phones' poor battery life. The phone was mostly sapping Motorola Droid X sales.

Inspire 4G sales were much better than most other Android phones at AT&T, by a ratio of three or four to one, but were mostly taking away sales of Windows Phone 7 devices and the Atrix 4G, not iPhones. T-Mobile sales of phones like the Cliq 2 also weren't faring well.

Tablets were facing a similar effect, Canaccord said. The Motorola Xoom still wasn't selling well at Verizon due to the $800 price and stiff competition from the iPad 2. Even the original iPad sold more briskly, as 16GB and 32GB discontinued versions sold out in two weeks.

HTC independently of Verizon was selling well, and LG's G2X was the top-selling phone at T-Mobile for its first two weeks on sales, but other phone makers weren't doing well. Samsung had good sales at T-Mobile through the Galaxy S 4G, but it was floundering at AT&T and Verizon, where the iPhone and HTC phones were tops.

RIM meanwhile was facing not just pressure at home but, increasingly trouble in the international sales of low-end phones that it has been using to keep sales high. BlackBerry Torch sales were softening in key areas like Western Europe, but the cheap Curve 8520 was also struggling worldwide against phones like low-end Android devices and even Nokia Cseries phones. Sales of the BlackBerry PlayBook were cast as "modest."

The current shape of the market could lead to trouble, especially for Motorola, the analyst team said. Motorola's decision to delay the Droid Bionic could lead to even lower share at Verizon during the spring. The new summer shipping window could also see the Bionic smothered by the next iPhone's launch presumed coming in a similar timeframe.

Analyst checks aren't completely reflective of sales, but the investigations bear out NPD reports of Android share finally dropping at the start of the year.

by MacNN Staff



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