The BlackBerry PRIV has drawn both positive and negative opinions since it was officially announced earlier this fall. In fact, one could argue that there’s not a single tech enthusiast anywhere who remains completely indifferent on the first Android-powered phone from Waterloo. You’ll either love it or hate it, and it’s either the device that will save BlackBerry or a desperate last-gasp attempt at survival which confirms that it’s dead. Ask John Legere, T-Mobile‘s outspoken CEO, and he’ll tell you the company is on its way back up…
It’s not exactly a lengthy interview, but during a word-association game with Roger Cheng from CNET, he was given the word ‘BlackBerry’. His response: “On a comeback.”
It’s an interesting choice of words for many reasons. Perhaps most intriguing is that it wasn’t too long ago T-Mobile and BlackBerry renewed their relationship, having publicly separated in 2014. During the ‘break’, T-Mo actively encouraged its customers to trade their old BlackBerry in for a new smartphone, preferably one made by Samsung or Apple. What’s more, T-Mobile doesn’t yet have the BlackBerry PRIV on its store shelves. But that’s something which could change in the near-ish future:
As reported by CNET:
“While we don’t carry the Priv right now, we may have something to report soon,” a T-Mobile spokeswoman said. “We are definitely talking with BlackBerry.”
BlackBerry, meanwhile, was pleased with the support. “I’m energized about our renewed relationship with T-Mobile and I’m excited about what 2016 will bring we continue to move forward together,” CEO John Chen said in an e-mail.
As things stand, AT&T is the only carrier selling the BlackBerry PRIV among the big four US carriers, although Verizon will be selling it soon. If T-Mobile and BlackBerry’s words hold any weight, it could mean that by the new year, we’ll have the top three US carriers all selling the physical QWERTY-equipped Android slider.
Perhaps one thing we can glean without much thought is that both are clearly keen on working with each other, and so neither is willing to say anything controversial, or critical about the other. Currently, the only handset made by BlackBerry on T-Mo’s shelves is the Classic, the year-old, mid-range BB10 OS smartphone. The PRIV is an entirely different device. It’s a flagship, competing in many ways with the likes of the Note 5, LG G4, HTC One M9 and other high-end smartphones already available from the Magenta carrier. It represents a much bigger risk.
On a more positive note, taking John Chen’s words as they are, BlackBerry may genuinely be looking forward to a long, fruitful relationship with America’s Un-carrier. Perhaps that future includes the unannounced, and recently leaked ‘Vienna’ smartphone. Whatever the real meaning behind the words, John Legere is clearly among the minority who see BlackBerry as on the way up, not on the way out.
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