BlackBerry shares made their highest jump since January after the news of the company’s flagship Android slider device – the Priv – being sold at Wal-Mart came up. The stock gained by as much as 11% at 2:35 p.m. in New York.
Wal-Mart pushing up BlackBerry stock
BlackBerry unveiled the Priv last month, and it is available to U.S. customers through AT&T, Amazon and the official BlackBerry website. The Canadian firm is continuously adding new sales outlets for the Priv to take advantage of high demand during the busy holiday shopping season. Wal-Mart’s U.S. website lists the Priv as out of stock.
BlackBerry started shipping the Priv in early November. In the U.S., the phone is available for $699, and Wal-Mart is selling it at the same price. The retailer is selling the Priv’s factory-unlocked STV100-1 variant.
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It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the surge in BlackBerry’s stock is because of Wal-Mart indicating that it ran out of stock of the Priv. The device is also showing as not available on Best Buy’s site. The Priv was initially rolled out to Singapore, the Philippines and Malaysia.
Will the Priv save BlackBerry’s handset division?
BlackBerry’s hardware sales and revenue from the division have been on a continuous decline, forcing the Canadian firm to transition towards software. The Priv, a slider phone with a QWERTY keyboard, is the first handset from BlackBerry to run on Android. There are many customers who prefer BlackBerry devices but aren’t content with having limited applications. Thus, the Priv will appeal to such people who can now take advantage of popular Android apps on a secure BlackBerry device.
BlackBerry’s smartphone sales registered a decline of 50% on a YoY basis in the most recently completed quarter. BlackBerry Chief John Chen has said a number of times that he will either make the company’s hardware business profitable or will exit the device business. Previously, Chen also said that the company needs to sell atleast 5 million devices a year to break even.
On Thursday, BlackBerry shares closed up 7.06% at $7.89. Year to date, the stock is down 32.88%, while in the last five trading days, it has lost 4.53%. The stock has a 52-week high of $12.63 and a 52-week low of $5.96.