Is RIM's BlackBerry Torch off to a weak start?

Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) may face an uphill battle in making its BlackBerry Torch device a mass market hit, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs. 

RIM has much riding on its BlackBerry Torch.AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) began selling the device Aug. 12, and Goldman's channel checks found that the launch has so far been "underwhelming." AT&T is selling the phone for $199.99 with a two-year contract. RIM is using the gadget to showcase its new BlackBerry 6 platform, an attempt to keep pace with other smartphones while keeping its core users happy.

Goldman found that few of the stores it called had sold out of the device. Additionally, most customers who purchased the Torch were current BlackBerry users. The findings contrast with blockbusters like the HTC Evo and Incredible and the Apple iPhone 4, which launched to widespread demand and suffered high-profile shortages.

The Torch has both a touchscreen and a slide-out Qwerty keyboard. The device also has a 5-megapixel camera with flash, WiFi and 4 GB of built-in memory plus a microSD/SDHD memory card slot that supports up to 32 GB cards.

Representatives from RIM and AT&T declined to comment.

For more:
- see this BusinessInsider article
- see this WSJ blog post (sub. req.)
- see this Mobile Burn post

Related Articles:
Sound off: What analysts are saying about BlackBerry 6
RIM, AT&T debut BlackBerry Torch 9800 slider
RIM set to unveil new BlackBerry, reportedly planning tablet
RIM rolls out revamped BlackBerry App World
Report: Smartphone surge continues unabated in Q2
RIM assuages shareholder unease with BlackBerry 6 promises