The Motorola Atrix 4G smartphone and Xoom tablet are selling just fine, say their respective carriers, AT&T and Verizon Wireless.
The comments from the two carriers came after separate April 6 reports from Pacific Crest analyst James Faucette and Deustche Bank indicated that sales of the devices were lower than Motorola and many industry observers expected.
“Based on our checks [with channel sources], we believe overall sell-through trends for the Xoom and Atrix have been disappointing,” Faucette wrote. According to Forbes, Faucette consequently slashed his 2011 revenue forecast for Motorola from $13.7 billion to $12.2 billion, while warning that the device maker needs to “quickly adjust and refresh its product portfolio” for the second half of the year, or else it may put itself at greater financial risk.
For its part, Deutsche Bank in its report estimated that Motorola has sold about 100,000 of the Android-based Xooms since the tablet was first released in February. Those are disappointing numbers for a device that was tagged as a serious challenger to Apple’s powerful iPads.
Both reports echo the findings announced last month by Global Equities Research, which said that checks with its channel sources found Xoom sales to be sluggish. The report also suggested that the vaunted Google Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” OS is actually the Xoom’s problem.
Motorola hasn’t issued a formal statement, though a Motorola Mobility spokesperson, when asked for comment, answered, “We are in quiet period and decline to comment.” Verizon Wireless, however, told ComputerWorld, “We are pleased with customer response to the Xoom.”
AT&T, making an effort to embrace the Android operating system since losing its exclusive status with the Apple iPhone, began exclusively offering the Atrix 4G for $200 March 6. In addition to boasting a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, it offers the option (at an additional cost) of being paired with a laptop of sorts that the phone can dock into, to not only charge but act as the brains behind a laptoplike, big-screen/full-keyboard experience. AT&T similarly responded by telling ComputerWorld, “Our customers are very satisfied with the Atrix, and we are equally as pleased with the results to date.”
Neither carrier, however, shared its sales figures for the devices.
Pacific Crest’s Faucette added that Motorola will need to “substantially differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack. If they fail to do so, we believe shareholders may be looking at another meaningful step down.”
Motorola does seem to be trying to offer differentiators. In addition to the Atrix 4G’s unusual form factor options, the Xoom offers some alternative features to those found on the iPad, including a larger screen, the Android OS and 4G capabilities. However, along with the iPad, the Xoom will be facing more competition in an increasingly crowded market from the likes of HTC, Hewlett-Packard, Sony and Research In Motion.
Regardless, Avi Greengart, an analyst with Current Analysis, told eWEEK, “Even if [Faucette’s figures are] accurate, they’re not bad unless you compare them to the iPad/iPhone, which are in a different league than anything else.”
Apple, setting a high bar for all those following, sold 300,000 iPads in the device’s first weekend. During the first weekend of the iPad 2, 14 months later, Apple reportedly sold approximately 1 million units.