Do or Die For BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY)’s Smartphones with PRIV?


It is going to be a do or die situation for BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB)’s new Android Phone Priv. An indication to this effect came from none other than its CEO, John Chen, himself. The company’s CEO had stated in the past that the smartphone maker can leave the market in case it fails to sell five million phones a year. Chen said that he considered the level to be necessary for its smartphone operations to be profitable.

Achievable Target

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) CEO’s five million phones target a year is a small drop in the ocean for smartphone makers like SAMSUNG LTD (F) (ADR) (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). However, it is a big number for the Canadian company currently due to hectic competitive activities in the smartphone segment throughout the globe. But the number seems to be achievable for the company, and that might prove to be a turning point for some positive smartphone division. The company has been suffering YOY sales drop in its smartphone market, which is languishing less than a percentage. Chen said that if the company could not achieve the numbers with the Priv, consumers will not be able to see anymore smartphones from the staple of BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY).

The company is pinning its hopes heavily on Priv that pairs with Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Android version. That meant the device would have the apps and services of Google, as well as, BlackBerry. The device would also have a niche with its keyboard enthusiasts apart from the users of the high-end government, as well as, enterprises. In the second quarter, the Canadian firm was able to recognize sale of only 800,000 phones. In comparison, the first quarter witnessed 1.1 million sale of the device while the year-ago quarter recorded 2.1 million sales. The last two quarter figures suggest the reason for Chen to be chasing towards the five million devices target to sustain the business.

Taking Pre-Orders

Interestingly, retailer in the United Kingdom, Carphone Warehouse, has started taking the pre-orders for BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s Priv Android smartphone. The device with a slide-out keyboard and touchpad is priced about Pounds Sterling 579.99 or $899 without any subsidy. There is also monthly payment plans offer starting with $76 a month. The company has promised to make delivery by November 6. The retailer has confirmed the specifications of Priv. Accordingly; it will have 5.4” 2K OLED display and 18MP camera along with dual-LED flash. The device comes with Snapdragon 808 processor, 2 MP front camera and 3GB RAM with an internal storage of 32GB. Aside from that, the device will have a big 3,410 mAh battery.

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) expects a big volume from its Priv Android-enabled device. John Chen indicated that its security is on par with Knox of SAMSUNG ELECT LTD (F) (ADR) (OTCMKTS:SSNLF). The advantage for Priv is that it will have better battery technology, antenna, physical keyboard, and high-end specifications. These features would make the device a compelling one versus Samsung or any other gadgets.

Upgrading Phones Not An Easy Thing

The company would not find an easy task in convincing the consumers to upgrade their phones to acquire the Priv Android. The brand, BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), has slowly waned since the carriers too were not encouraging the sale of the device. The company’s CEO, Chen, indicated that he was working with the carriers directly to sell the latest Priv Android device. He pointed out that the carriers were excited to offer the gadgets as the carriers knew that Android and also help customers. In any case, the success of Priv will dictate the future of the smartphone for the Canadian firm.

Viraj Shah

Viraj Shah has completed M.Com (Finance) and is currently pursuing his CFP. He tracks US markets along with other global markets like India very closely. He is very passionate about stocks, real estate, and technology. He also believes that money can always be made in the market.

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