BlackBerry had high hopes for its first Android phone, the Priv, but the smartphone is not a big seller, probably because it is made by the Canadian firm. The smartphone maker was betting big on the Priv, which has a physical keyboard, but it seems like its loyal customers did not want Android but BlackBerry’s operating system.
What’s wrong with the Priv?
Citing an unnamed AT&T executive, CNET said BlackBerry’s first Android phone is not doing as well as expected. The executive told the website that they are seeing a lot of returns for the Priv. This news is not very surprising given the company’s recent history, but what is surprising is that the news coming from an AT&T executive. AT&T has been a close ally of the Canadian smartphone maker, and the comments probably mean it will have a difficult time finding a carrier to sell its future devices.
“The BlackBerry Priv is really struggling,” a “high-level executive” told CNET. “We’ve seen more returns than we would like.”
There could be various reasons, one of them being that BlackBerry customers are finding it hard to switch to Android from the BB OS. Another big reason could be the price. The Canada-based smartphone making giant marketed the smartphone as a high-end device and priced it at $700 – which is more than the iPhone 6s.
The executive said there is not much volume growth in the premium segment, which is dominated by Samsung and Apple. BlackBerry CEO John Chen himself admitted that the Priv was “too high-end a product.” Chen said the fact that they released a high-end phone (as their first Android device) was probably not as wise as they thought it was.
How long will BlackBerry stay in the smartphone business?
In addition, if loyal BlackBerry customers are not impressed by the Android OS and are still clamoring for smartphones running BB 10, then it is not certain how the Canadian smartphone maker will generate any profit. The Canada-based smartphone maker is not planning to release a handset running on the BB10 operating system, said Chen previously.
In October, Chen said if the smartphone company cannot generate a profit in 2016, then it would “think twice” about staying in the smartphone business. For the first quarter of 2016, analysts expected the company to sell at least 850,000 devices, but it fell short of the expectation, selling only 600,000 handsets.
Two new mid-range Android products are rumored to be in the works, and they could be the last chance for the Canadian firm to revive its mobile division.