BlackBerry Priv Sells Well, May Save Blackberry After All


Is it possible to be a fanboy without really using any of the favored company’s products? If so, I’m a bonified Blackberry supporter, and any positive word regarding the Canadian OEM always brightens my day. And although the news this time is mixed, it’s of an upward trajectory for the most part, stirring some life into the struggling company. Chief Executive John Chen reported on Friday that the newest Blackberry handset, the Priv has been very well received, selling out on Amazon at one point and being a part of the 700,000 total units sold in the third quarter of 2015 with the company exceeding investor expectations overall.

It was no secret that Blackberry’s Android phone may very well have been the last grab at remaining in the smartphone manufacturing business. After years of stubbornly pushing its own capable but unpopular OS,  the company finally conceded that the old adage  “If it aint broke, don’t fix it” was very true and Blackberry was in fact very, very broken.

To much anticipation they released the Priv, a great and fairly unique take on the world’s leading OS. 700,000 handsets is almost laughable when compared to the  48 million iPhones Apple sold but that would be the wrong perspective on the issue. Blackberry is in the process of rebuilding and recovery. A process that will take time as last quarter had a larger overall total of 800,000 total units while the same time last year saw 1.9 million. But the Priv has only enjoyed a rather limited release with many world-wide markets and local and foreign carriers still planing on offering the smartphone. There is also the question if how much of a drop there was in BB10 devices sold amid fears of it being dropped in favor of Android altogether.

Courtesy of Blackberry

Courtesy of Blackberry

Additionally, Chen reported that Blackberry reported losses of $15 million, or three cents a share for Q3, with revenue at $557 million. Wall Street expected BlackBerry to report a loss of 14 cents a share, with revenue forecasts of $489 million. This boded well for BB’s stock as it jumped more than 10 percent to over $9, before settling in the mid $8s for the day. It must be noted though that most of the revenue did come from Good Technology Corp. software, proving to be a smart acquisition by Blackberry back in  September.

“My first goal is to get us into a break-even position with the device business, because you really couldn’t do anything strategically with a business that continues to lose money. We’re in that ballpark now.” – Chief Executive John Chen 

The success of the Priv puts Blackberry in a comfortable position to expand and improve on the line extending the lifeline of the company and allowing them to exist and hopefully grow in the hardware industry. As much as the handset impressed most users out of the gate with a great physical keyboard, solid specs and smart, unobtrusive software additions, there is plenty left over that can find it’s way into the Priv 2. A newer chip to replace the older (but still competent) Snadragon 808, a fingerprint scanner and an improved camera occupy the top of the list.

Depending on how the next few quartets go, Blackberry will also have to address the elephant in the room: What is the future of BB1o? If the Priv and consequent hardware continues an upward trend, is BB10 needed at all? Will it find a home in a strictly enterprise-only market? Time will tell.

UPDATED: Article was updated with corrected sales figures.

Do you think Blackberry stands a better chance now, or is it still early to tell? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.

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