According to a recent report published by Bloomberg, it is highly probable that BlackBerry’s latest smartphone, the Priv, powered by Google’s Android, could be its last entry to the phone industry.
It is well known that the Canadian phone maker has been struggling to get back on its feet since the inception of Apple’s iPhone line-up back in 2007. BlackBerry has made some notable efforts during the last two years with CEO John Chen on the wheel, by releasing a slew of new handsets (Passport, Classic etc.), though none has managed to live up to the company’s expectations.
BlackBerry has deep its feet in many types of waters in order to make a strong comeback; the latest one being the aforementioned Priv smartphone, which is the manufacturer’s first device to run on a non-native operating system, which in that case, is Google’s Android.
The handset has been much-touted for its emphasis on privacy -hence the moniker Priv- and runs on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, with a selection of BlackBerry’s home brewed productivity and security features pre-loaded. One of these apps lets the user know to what degree each application has access to its personal info and location. Hardware wise, the Priv sports a scratch-proof 5.43-inch 2560 x 1440 pixels resolution AMOLED display, with BlackBerry’s signature physical keyboard sliding down under the screen.
Moreover, the company’s CEO has made a number of remarks in the past, stating that if he cannot make BlackBerry’s mobile department lucrative enough, then he won’t hesitate to shut it down and redirect the company’s focus on other ventures.
Relying on these statements and intel regarding BlackBerry’s performance, Brian Colello, a Chicago-based analyst at Morningstar Investment Services, said in an interview:
“Perhaps there’s something else in the pipeline, but this device does seem like a last stand, … We’ve seen new products come out for the last couple years, BlackBerry’s trying to get a hit with any form factor, any price point and now it’s with a different operating system.”
BlackBerry’s share in the global phone market accounts for less than 1 percent while its phone department brings 40 percent of the revenue. With that in mind, the company has been simultaneously initiated higher-margin software sales. In addition to poor results, during an event in October, CEO John Chen stated that the smartphone department could get killed off as soon as next year, if it doesn’t prove to be profitable for yet another season.
BlackBerry’s alleged final trick from its sleeve is classified under the high-range section of the industry, at least when it comes to pricing, since the Priv retails for US$749 unlocked, while it is set to confront flagships from market giants such as Samsung’s current Galaxy S6 and upcoming Galaxy S7 and Apple’s iPhone 6S and 6S Plus handsets.
The primary factor that made BlackBerry bet its money on Google’s Android, and essentially abandon its own software, is the lack of apps that BlackBerry OS suffered from. As the operating system became more obscure, developers were repelled as well, so the issue continued to exacerbate, resulting to a severe rise of users ditching their BB devices. In a nutshell, it would be safe to assume that BlackBerry’s final card could be indeed Android and the road ahead appears to be tough enough as well.