For best price, sell older BlackBerrys before RIM BlackBerry 10 announcements

If you’re holding on to your old BlackBerry Bold or Torch, Tuesday might be the best time to unload it and make a quick buck.

Technology buyback sites like Gazelle.com and NextWorth usually see a trade-in spike when companies announce new phones. On Wednesday, Research in Motion is expected to unveil companion hardware showcasing the new BlackBerry 10 operating system, so that tradition is expected to continue.

But, it's almost certain that your older BlackBerry will be worth more today than after any new hardware announcements from RIM.

Value proposition

Gazelle.com has seen BlackBerry trade-ins double over the last month. Last week, the reseller had a 510-percent increase over the previous week in BlackBerry devices received.

BlackBerry buybacks are up, but the phones are also retaining their value.

According to NextWorth, an online electronic recycler that also has in-store partnerships with retailers like Target, the average trade-in value of a BlackBerry device is $47 (or 9.4 percent of its MSRP). This is almost even with trade-ins of Samsung phones, which average $54 (or 9.8 percent of purchase price). Apple tops the list at $139, or 21.1 percent of original value.

NextWorth.com
Estimated trade-in and retained values for smartphones from Apple, HTC, RIM, and Samsung.

NextWorth chief marketing officer Jeff Trachsel says BlackBerry’s appearance in the top four for retained value is somewhat surprising, given the rumors of RIM’s demise.

“We’ve been keeping a closer eye than usual on our BlackBerry volume because we’re heading into a launch period,” Trachsel says. “There’s a robust secondary market out there for used BlackBerrys, which is an indication of a loyal fan base. A lot remains to be seen with this announcement.”

Window of opportunity

Trachsel says NextWorth hasn’t seen the run on BlackBerry devices that Gazelle has, but he expects when the BlackBerry 10 phones are announced, sales will spike. However, trade-in values also decline 20 percent to 25 percent when new phones are launched, so customers get more bucks for their BlackBerrys if they sell them now rather than wait.

Gazelle.com
Average trade-in values (TIV) for RIM's BlackBerry Torch 9810

Over at Glyde, market price for the AT&T version of a BlackBerry Torch 9810 is $162, far higher than the $50 with two-year contract the phone retailed for when released in August 2011. Glyde won’t purchase the phone from you, but it will list the device in its marketplace and help you find a buyer.

If RIM has new phones to market after its big BlackBerry 10 event Wednesday, prices and availability for older BlackBerry models will quickly drop.

“A lot of this will depend on how well the new device does, whether it restores the faith in the BlackBerry ecosystem,” Trachsel says. “There is a crop of people out there that would welcome the chance to buy a used BlackBerry.”

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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