BlackBerry owners are trading in their devices in record numbers, highlighting RIM's struggles and Apple's expected success with the iPhone 4S. Gazelle, an online tech product buyer, said the number of BlackBerry trades is up from its record highs earlier this month, citing an 80 per cent increase last week. Android trade-ins, along with old models of the iPhone, also spiked. Users' sudden increased fleeing of BlackBerry phones follows the recent outages of Research in Motion's service. BlackBerry users all over the world were left without Internet and instant messaging capabilities for days as RIM struggled to fix the problem. The outages may have been the final straw for many BlackBerry users contemplating moving on to another smartphone.
Apple's release of the iPhone 4S in the midst of BlackBerry service outages, poor sales, and RIM's management dissension, may have combined to trigger the increased user trade-ins. Gazelle also began running a national television ad campaign shortly before the release of the 4S to alert users of the site's existence. The Gazelle commercials inform viewers of the company's buy-back program for old electronics in a fast and efficient way and tell potential traders they "may get more than they think." But the 4S may not be the only device causing smartphone users to trade-up and buy. New smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S2 and Motorola Droid Bionic may be target landing spots for those trading in old devices, and trade-ins of old handsets will likely continue as top-flight smartphones such as the Motorola Droid Razr and Samsung Galaxy Nexus hit the market next month.
RIM currently offers no phones that are in nearly as high demand as its competitors. The company's new BlackBerry 7 devices have performed poorly, which means most customers trading in old devices aren't doing so to pick up the new Torch. RIM is banking on phones running the BBX operating system to save the company, but those aren't coming until next year. Customers trading in their iPhones and Android devices are likely ending up with an updated model of those phones, but those sending Gazelle their BlackBerries are more likely to be saying goodbye to the brand for good.