Blackberry CEO, John Chen said in an interview with The National, that their first Android smartphone, the PRIV didn’t do as well as they hoped, and that they’ve got two more Android smartphones in the pipeline. “The fact that we came out with a high end phone (as our first Android device) was probably not as wise as it should have been.”
That quote right there, tells you all you need to know about the state of things at the Canadian-born company right now. If you read my review of the PRIV, you’d remember that my verdict was that it was a pretty good phone, with very good ideas but they wouldn’t move many units until the price started to drop. (It has).
Blackberry sold 600,000 phones in its last quarter, and hasn’t said how many of those are the PRIV. My guess? Not too many (more on that later). You should probably push out more than 600,000 units in the first three months, if you even dream of hitting 5 million by the end of the year. Yet, Mr. John Chen is still pretty confident he can find a way to make the smartphone arm of the business profitable again. Fingers crossed.
To save them, he’s looking at releasing two new devices this year, rumors say. (It’s almost like the blurrier the image, the more value it holds as a leak). Code-named the Rome and the Hamburg, they will both target a sub-$500 price point.
Not so fast; this price-range comes with its own set of unique challenges. So, I’m not too optimistic about their chances if Blackberry thinks magically lowering the price of their devices will make the pain go away. Afterall, isn’t that what EVERYONE else is doing?
Lower prices, increase specs, repeat.
After a while, the space becomes crowded and you end up getting sucked into a never-ending race to the bottom. Speaking of the bottom…let’s talk about PRIV sales. When reviewing the PRIV, I noticed that making a Blackberry run Android involved listing Blackberry-specific apps on the Google Playstore, and as with all Play Store apps, you could see how many people were running the app on their phones. The install count on Blackberry-specific apps at the time, was 10,000+, which is assigned to apps that have been installed on between 10,000 and 50,000 phones.
This is not official information, so make of it what you will. No comment. 🙂