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If unsuccessful, the BlackBerry Priv might be the last BlackBerry smartphone ever

Posted: , by Mihai A.

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If unsuccessful, the BlackBerry Priv might be the last BlackBerry smartphone ever
In a panel interview earlier today at the Code/Mobile conference, BlackBerry CEO John Chen made some rather interesting affirmations regarding the company's future.

Chen said that BlackBerry's goal is to sell five million smartphones per year, a threshold that would allow its handset division to reach profitability. Obviously, the upcoming BlackBerry Priv, the company's first Android smartphone, is the device that's expected to carry most of the weight.

Based on BlackBerry's most recent earnings report, which confirmed that the company only managed to sell 800,000 phones in the second quarter of the financial year, it looks like BlackBerry has high hopes from the Priv.

If the company doesn't meet this goal, Chen said that it wouldn't be unthinkable for BlackBerry to exit the smartphone market. In other words, if the BlackBerry Priv turns out to be unsuccessful, then it could well be the last BlackBerry smartphone ever. If that turns out to be the case, then BlackBerry could move on to focus on its business as a provider of security technology for other platforms, such as Apple's iOS or Google's Android.

Speaking of the BlackBerry Priv, the handset will run Android, but the iconic smartphone maker will also bake in some of its security technology. Interestingly, John Chen also mentioned that his company's mobile security technology matches Samsung's Knox in terms of features. However, the BlackBerry CEO believes that the Priv will outpace other devices when it comes to battery life, antennas, and text input (thanks to the phone's slide-out physical keyboard). 


Although it might seem like the BlackBerry Priv is aimed at enterprise users due to its security features, Chen said that this is not the case. Instead, the BlackBerry Priv will be a product that aims for the high-end sector of the smartphone market. The BlackBerry CEO also said that you'll be able to buy the Priv directly from all four major carriers in the US.

Chen's comments on the future of the BlackBerry smartphone business come just a few days after the Sony CEO announced that his company might stop making smartphones if 2016 doesn't mark a comeback to profit for Sony's smartphone division. That's an odd coincidence, don't you think?

source: TheVerge

73 Comments
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posted on 08 Oct 2015, 15:58 6

1. shinywindow (unregistered)


And it still would have been better than anything krapple ever put on the market hahah!

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 16:12 8

5. Bm888 (Posts: 513; Member since: 06 Jul 2015)


Going by Priv Leaks. . .it's an awesome device by all means. .but sometimes or mostly nowadays. .good devices aren't necessarily attracting a cloud as people are largely being "fun boys" or "loyalties " of certain Oems even if they ain't offering the best in smartphones industry. ..all in all wish BB the best in priv and outright sales ....

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 17:06 3

26. zeeBomb (Posts: 2139; Member since: 14 Aug 2014)


Final fanta-sony 2016: Tales of BlackBerry

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 22:27

50. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 14208; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


The Death of Blackberry by Mxyzptlk. Look for my Pulitzer prize.

posted on 09 Oct 2015, 08:51

66. DoggyDangerous (Posts: 896; Member since: 28 Aug 2015)


they should exit. Sony, HTC and black berry should exit smart phone business if they cannot make attractive devices to attract customers. Why keep on lingering when they are continously failing?
Atleast, Sony should focus more on its imaging business. Sony is doing good break throughs in sensors, so why not focus all the reasorses and energy to take more profit from image business?

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 16:00 3

2. IAMBLCKJ3ZUS (Posts: 307; Member since: 29 Sep 2015)


Honestly they could sell alot, but so many people will associate the blackberry name as old. They should join Microsoft to take that chunky fat green robot down always eating snacks like marshmallows and lollipops. Windows for life the messiah has spoken.

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 16:05 1

3. Tuxedo (Posts: 350; Member since: 19 Mar 2013)


DOA. Great way to show weakness BB. Good luck.

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 16:07 11

4. Ordinary (Posts: 2347; Member since: 23 Apr 2015)


Source: TheVerge

Seems legit.

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 16:12 4

6. Commentator (Posts: 3709; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


"Sometime next year we have to make our device business profitable, otherwise I have to rethink what I do there." -John Chen

https://live.theverge.com/live-code-mobile-2015-john-chen/ (An interview with The Verge's Walt Mossberg)

So yeah, it actually "seems legit"...

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 16:21 4

8. Ordinary (Posts: 2347; Member since: 23 Apr 2015)


He has been saying that for a year now and nothing.

http://www.techweekeurope.co.uk/workspace/blackberry-smartphones-exit-john-chen-143562

And he said rethink which could mean a lot of stuff... Verge is known for yellow journalism.

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 16:28 2

12. Commentator (Posts: 3709; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


If you read that article, it says that he wants to be profitable by the end of 2016, which he is restating now...

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 16:49 5

23. Ordinary (Posts: 2347; Member since: 23 Apr 2015)


"Chen is adamant that BlackBerry could return to profitability by the end of March 2016, and said that the firm was “ahead of schedule” despite losing £3.5 billion during the previous financial year. However he freely admitted that time was not on his side and that it was necessary to have a short term plan to keep the company afloat while also planning for the future."

Here he doesnt say anything about dropping phones but rather trying to gain profit in next years. In both interviews he doesnt claim to drop phones if profits get lower. Altough it might happen, it obviously isnt now or next year. They have also other incomes.

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 16:55 2

25. Commentator (Posts: 3709; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


How is that obvious?

I'm not saying he will leave the business, nor am I saying he won't (only John and possibly a few in his inner-circle know that for sure), but a statement like "if unsuccessful, the Blackberry Priv might be the last BlackBerry smartphone ever" is a totally justified hypothesis.

Yeah, the Verge is biased (which they even recently admitted to), but this is a fairly conservative way to read John's statement; It only makes sense to exit a market you have no chance of being profitable in, and some would argue they should have left the handset business years ago.

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 17:08 3

28. Ordinary (Posts: 2347; Member since: 23 Apr 2015)


It is obvious cause they wouldnt made Priv in the first place and update BB for the next year:

http://www.phonearena.com/news/BlackBerry-10.3.3-now-scheduled-for-a-March-arrival_id74095

Spend $425 million on mobile security:
http://www.phonearena.com/news/BlackBerry-spends-425-million-to-acquire-mobile-security-firm-Good-Technology_id73421

I highly doubt that if he wanted to close BB devices off he wouldnt do all of that.

It isnt justified really when it can means a lot of things but clickbaits creat most views and discussions just like me and you now :D

I agree but would you start making a phone that you arent sure if it would sell well or not? I know that it could mean an act of trying to make profits but if you already said last year that you will be "possibly" quitting you wouldnt try to spend more on making a totally new phone. He knows more than us hence why he wouldnt quit in the near future. Just my opinion.

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 17:17 2

29. Commentator (Posts: 3709; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


Fair enough, I just hope whatever decision Chen makes ends up making the company stronger. They have too much to offer to potentially squander it. If that means swallowing their pride and exiting the handset industry, so be it.

I do think 5 million devices is attainable, but we'll see.

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 18:54 1

39. lyndon420 (Posts: 4560; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)


We need to see more BB commercials and movie placements compared to Samsung. For instance in the new Avengers movie they're using Samsung phones and apple managed to squeak in their beats headphones as well.

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 20:01 4

45. meanestgenius (Posts: 12994; Member since: 28 May 2014)


NO ONE is going to beat out Samsung and Apple when it comes to product placement and commercials, so there's no way that you can compare BlackBerry to them in that fashion.

posted on 09 Oct 2015, 09:07 2

67. meanestgenius (Posts: 12994; Member since: 28 May 2014)


"Wherever there is high-stakes crime solving, political intrigue or maverick justice going down, you are sure to find a BlackBerry smartphone.

In other words, BlackBerry devices are showing up in an awful lot of the hottest TV, cable, and on-demand series.

“Have you seen this woman?” A BlackBerry Classic on Fox TV’s Rosewood.
We can’t say we blame the shows’ creators for equipping their stars with our devices. If you’re going to play a politician, doctor or renegade cop you need your smartphone to be just as glamorous and no-nonsense and kick-a** as your character.

The lead character in Amazon’s psychological drama, Hand of God, uses a Porsche Design smartphone.
It goes without saying that high-ranking White House officials like the ones in the Tea Leoni vehicle, Madam Secretary, would follow the real-life President’s example and choose BlackBerry. So does another U.S. president – the fictional one on the ABC series Scandal.

Fictional U.S. President played by actor Tony Goldwyn on ABC’s Scandal also uses a BlackBerry (Porsche Design) device.
Same goes for the crime-solving FBI agents on Fox’s Bones (the long-running series starring Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz) as well as the high-tech cops on CBS’s CSI: Cyber starring Patricia Arquette.

What else would those crazy Sense8 kids depend on but a smartphone that practically reads their minds?

Fox TV’s Bones husband-and-wife team nabs perps with the help of a BlackBerry Z10.
Here are some other shows in which BlackBerry phones have made recent cameos (did you see them?):

Netflix’s House of Cards with Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright (which also helped lure iPhone users with our popular ringtone)
HBO’s The Brink with Jack Black and Tim Robbins
FX’s Justified with Timothy Olyphant
ABC’s Last Man Standing with Tim Allen
Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black with Taylor Schilling
Fox’s Rosewood with Morris Chestnut
Tim Allen of ABC’s Last Man Standing riffs on a BlackBerry Passport."

That was taken from here:

http://blogs.blackberry.com/2015/09/ready-for-its-closeup-blackberrys-latest-hollywood-appearances/

Guess BlackBerry has been doing some decent product placement, just not on the level of Samsung or Apple, for obvious reasons.

posted on 10 Oct 2015, 17:50

73. WL2010 (Posts: 3; Member since: 10 Oct 2015)


"We need to see more BB commercials and movie placements compared to Samsung."

In the UK, it is nearly impossible to find a shop which stocks the Blackberry Classic. If people can't see the handset in real life, play with, then it makes it difficult to decide if this the phone you want.

I saw someone I know who has the phone, but I did not know him well enough for me to ask him, if I could try it out.

I have seen the passport in real life, but it is a radical design.

The big phone shops seem to be trying to squeeze Blackberry out of the market.

In Europe, they will have a uniqueness, as no one sells a smartphone with a keyboard (the last one, were on Android 2.0 and were very underpowered phones).

I hope the phone is sensibly priced...

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 16:35 3

13. meanestgenius (Posts: 12994; Member since: 28 May 2014)


Agreed. The Verge is definitely known for such.

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 16:15 8

7. meanestgenius (Posts: 12994; Member since: 28 May 2014)


Although I do believe that what the BlackBerry Priv is bringing to Android will help it differentiate enough from other Android handsets and sell well, I know that if it doesn't sell well, Chen will exit the hardware business, perhaps only offering updates to existing BlackBerry handsets. It would be a sad day indeed if this legend were to exit the hardware business, but Chen is not "married" to handsets, and he must do what is necessary for the company to be profitable and thrive.

But I believe the Priv will be the handset that revives BlackBery's handset sales.

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 17:06 2

27. Subie (Posts: 955; Member since: 01 Aug 2015)


Be a sad day in Waterloo if they stop selling handsets. Personally I'd like to see what a Passport 2 would be like.

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 18:08 4

33. meanestgenius (Posts: 12994; Member since: 28 May 2014)


Agreed. I'd like to see a Passport 2 looking similar to the Classic, but with the size of the Passport. Or perhaps a Classic 2 with high end specs like the Passport and a bigger size. I'd also like to see an all-touch variant of the Passport or a Z30 part 2 with updated specs, just to quell the thirst of those wanting an all-touch BB10 device with updated specs.

posted on 09 Oct 2015, 04:17

62. Losifer (Posts: 28; Member since: 28 Feb 2014)


Man, I'd love to see an updated BB Classic. With BB10 of course.

posted on 09 Oct 2015, 04:58

65. meanestgenius (Posts: 12994; Member since: 28 May 2014)


Agreed! That would be one sweet handset!

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 16:22

9. Cyberthing (Posts: 127; Member since: 18 Nov 2014)


Come on people. Bring out your wallets and save BlackBerry!

I think that no one is standing out that much out of the android OEMs because most of these devices these days perform greatly. I don't think they'll make it in the saturated space. There's not that much money to be made on the high end.

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 16:24 1

10. bravehartbear (Posts: 1; Member since: 08 Oct 2015)


"Sometime next year we have to make our device business profitable, otherwise I have to rethink what I do there." -John Chen

Nice to focus on the negative! Anything that Chen says needs to be turned negative. Why don't we focus on all the positive things that he said.
We need to focus on one negative thing he said, and twist it to make it even sound even more negative.

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 16:26 2

11. Bernoulli (Posts: 4090; Member since: 01 Sep 2012)


Hopefully it isn't, but more importantly a beautiful OS like blackberry's doesn't deserve to die

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 16:38 2

14. Crispin_Gatieza (Posts: 1744; Member since: 23 Jan 2014)


I'm an unabashed webOS devotee and it was sad to see the Godfather of smartphones perish. Now it seems Palm's highest ranking Capo may suffer the same fate. Not because of garbage handsets or a garbage OS, but because of a totally uninformed buying public. Yes, BB had their Storm debacle, but for every Storm there were 20 Cliqs, Status and Charms to lay Android eggs.

posted on 08 Oct 2015, 16:39

15. Tondern (Posts: 116; Member since: 23 Feb 2015)


I love technology and I browse a dozen of these sites every day, I don't see many articles about Blackberry, noone is really promoting them. They only became interesting recently because of their Android-based phone. Otherwise it's just been articles about bad sales or how "safe" their OS is.

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