BlackBerry is in the midst of a major change, and CEO John Chen has indicated that 2016 will see a total transition. Having released the Priv several months ago, the Canadian corporation now has plans to launch at least one new Android device this year, and possibly a second. During an interview at CES in Las Vegas, NV, Chen disclosed the details, however stopped short of giving specifics as to what or when.
Currently BlackBerry is gearing up to release the Priv in 31 countries in the coming months, as well as to do a more thorough roll-out in the USA. While the company seeks to gain government certification of its own internally created BB10 OS, there are zero plans to release new hardware currently. Based on this notion, in some considerations, it might be said that BlackBerry’s homegrown platform has thus been discontinued.
It is still possible to release new BB10 devices later however, though should the Android products further take off, the likelihood may even further diminish. Also despite this fact, the company will continue to sell its current line of existing BB10 devices for the foreseeable future.
The interview with Chen also led to some interesting details, such as the failure to launch the Priv on multiple carriers due to a lack of resources to accommodate such a venture. Also touched upon was the initial momentum from the Priv hardware itself, with Chen remarking, “the question is, does it last?” Indeed previous interviews have already revealed that the CEO expects a price cut around MWC 2016, as new hardware makes its way out the gate. On the whole, however, Chen is “confident in profitability this year.”
Picturing the Priv
In terms of Priv sales, Chen categorized things as, “so far, so good…I’m taking a cautiously optimistic view.” The CEO neglected to give any specific numbers however, thus failing to put an end to the ongoing debate as to how many Priv units have been sold. BlackBerry – the company – reported roughly 700,000 devices sold in Q3 2015, however this figure has erroneously been reported as sales of only the Priv, possibly due to the fact that some forget BlackBerry had other devices on sale last year, such as the Passport.
The fact that the Priv was an AT&T exclusive in the USA, was only available in three major markets (the USA, Canada, and the UK), and sold for essentially the last two weeks of Q3 – and at a high price point no less – raises significant scrutiny on the idea that 700,000 units were purchased. Likewise, evidence suggests – but in no way proves – that there may have only been less than 50,000 units sold even as of mid-December.
Thanks to rumors and leaks from late last year, evidence has appeared to suggest an Android-powered Passport may in fact be the company’s new device, however CEO Chen has also indicated the company may focus on a mid-range product should the Priv be a success. It remains to be seen as to what will truly come forth, though with even Samsung predicting a fierce year, BlackBerry may end up facing a very difficult, competitive marketplace.