Blackberry announced its first Android powered smartphone late last year and the phone launched on AT&T shortly thereafter. Other carriers followed, and things looked bright for the Candian firm. There’s no doubt here that the Priv is a solid device, but with a high price tag and features that not everyone actually cares about, it was always going to be a tough sell.
The company estimated that it would push about 850,000 units in Q4 of 2015, but it only sold about 600,000 units in total in that time. It’s tough to say exactly why things fell below expectations, but one anonymous executive from AT&T had a little bit of insight on the topic (via CNET)…
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The executive said that, while Blackberry was trying to sell to Android users, they were actually selling mostly to loyal Blackberry users. Interestingly many of those users had a lot of trouble adjusting to the Android OS despite BlackBerry’s added features (and great, relatively timely updates!), leading to a higher return rate, at least on AT&T.
“The BlackBerry Priv is really struggling,” the anonymous high-level executive from AT&T told CNET. “We’ve seen more returns than we would like.”
Despite all of this, Blackberry is still expected to release two more Android phones later this year. It seems BlackBerry will learn from its mistakes on the Priv this time around, aiming these new devices at lower price points. The $699 price and high monthly costs of the device on carriers no doubt contributed to the lack of sales, so a lower cost option should do much better. An AT&T executive further made this clear by stating the following:
There isn’t much volume growth in the premium segment, where Apple and Samsung dominate.