Thanks to iSuppli, we know that the cost to manufacture the BlackBerry Bold is about $170. A sale price of $660 gives RIM a tidy $490 profit on the phone (less marketing and shipping expenses). That margin surpasses Apple's highly profitable iPhone.
I understand the appeal of buying phones without having to sign a new contract. Tying yourself to a network operator for up to two years at a stretch can be frustrating and limiting. The Bold is not the most expensive handset out there by any means, either. The Nokia N96, set to become available in the U.S. later this quarter, will sell for about $800 unsubsidized.
Still, $660 is steep price to pay for certain freedoms. Is it worth it?
(By the way, the Bold is back-ordered on BestBuy.com, and won't ship for several weeks. It is set to appear in AT&T retail shops next week. AT&T hasn't said what it will charge for an unsubsidized Bold.)