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Best Buy Wants A Whopping $660 For BlackBerry Bold

If you had any desire to snag yourself a BlackBerry Bold free of contract, you may want to think twice. The unlocked, unsubsidized version of the Bold is on sale at BestBuy.com for $660.
If you had any desire to snag yourself a BlackBerry Bold free of contract, you may want to think twice. The unlocked, unsubsidized version of the Bold is on sale at BestBuy.com for $660.AT&T and Research In Motion just recently announced that the Bold will be available on November 4 for the subsidized price of $300. That means if you agree to a new two-year contract and send in a rebate, your eventual out-of-pocket cost for the Bold will be $300 (not including activation and taxes). I argued last week that the $300 price point is a bit on the high side given what the competition is offering for just $200. Many smartphones on AT&T's network cost $200 or less. In fact, several RIM devices can be had for less than $100.

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.)

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