BlackBerry is still alive. Yup, that’s what the launch of two mid-range BlackBerry Android phones this year means. We’ve been saying that the Canadian smartphone pioneer is set to release more phones if the BlackBerry PRIV is successful. We can’t say the first Android-powered BlackBerry phone has sold out but maybe mid-range devices will finally help the company. The PRIV is a premium phone with a high price and perhaps that’s the main reason why people are not getting the phone even if reviews are positive and the fact that it’s security is topnotch.
We have no idea when BlackBerry will be launching the new smartphones but CEO John Chen has recently dropped some hints. Chen said that one of the models could be introduced this coming July with the other one being released before fiscal year ends. He was asked in a conference call when the phones will arrived and he simply answered: “I’m not really prepared to unveil that. I guess, I was thinking about doing that more in July timeframe. I have spoken about having two of them in between now and the end of this fiscal year, and they usually they both of them more in the mid range and mid to high, not going to be a high end phone.”
These mid-range phones have been a hot topic since last year. So far, we know they won’t be part of the premium flagship line. One mid-range will have a full touchscreen display while the other will have a physical keyboard similar to the Priv but with lower specs. The two are codenamed Hamburg and Rome.
Earlier this month, an anonymous AT&T executive said that the PRIV isn’t doing well. That’s despite the fact the smartphone is cool and that software updates are always on time. During the fiscal Q4, Blackberry only sold 600,000 units when they expected to sell 850K. Fiscal Q1 is over and unfortunately, the numbers are still down. Net loss was $670 million with only a $400 million revenue. That’s bad because it’s a 40% drop from last year.
BlackBerry sold only 500,000. That’s a decline from the 650K from last quarter and a 50% drop from last year again. However, CEO John Chen is staying positive (as he’s always been) that BlackBerry “could make money out of our device business”.