BlackBerry was once a leader in the smartphone market, but now the company has more modest ambitions. The company’s CEO, John Chen, in an interview with The Verge at the Code Mobile conference yesterday, said that his goal is now to sell 5 million smartphones in a year, which is the minimum requirement for generating profits from the business.
Is it the end of BB10 devices?
Chen hinted that in case the company fails to meet this target, then it would exit the hardware business altogether. This would mark a huge shift from BlackBerry, we all know. The Canadian firm sold just 800,000 phones in the third fiscal quarter.
Though Chen did not commit to never using BB10 again, he noted that the market for BB10 devices has been primarily in the high-security business such as among governments and hospitals. The Canadian firm will keep supporting its customers with software updates, but since such customers do not upgrade their devices frequently, therefore, the company does not have a good enough reason to come up with new hardware.
Priv – “make or break” for BlackBerry
BlackBerry expects its upcoming Android-based device, the Priv, to generate a huge volume of sales. What makes the Priv stand apart from Samsung’s devices and others is that it boasts better battery technology, better antenna technology, a physical keyboard, and other high-end specs, Chen said.
However, pushing customers who do upgrade their devices frequently to buy the Priv will be a difficult task. Purchasing a BlackBerry device in U.S. carrier stores has almost become impossible for years, and when people think of buying a new device, they just don’t think of BlackBerry. Chen wants to rectify this, and he is working directly with carriers to sell the Priv. The carriers are excited to offer the device because their staff members are familiar with the functioning of Android, Chen said.
A company such as Apple or Samsung setting a target of selling 5 million phones a year is a drop in the bucket, but the same number is kind of a “make or break” one for BlackBerry. If the Canadian firm fails to hit the target with the Priv, whether or not it will try to achieve success with a new handset is something we all want to know, but we will have to wait for it.