BlackBerry has recently released the company's first Android smartphone, the BlackBerry Priv. The new device boasts its privacy features, and shortly before its release, it has garnered positive feedback from online tech communities. The smartphone will hit the market this week, months after rumors about it have circulated over the internet. Despite the hype and the positive feedback, the BlackBerry Priv may be the Canadian mobile maker's last attempt at making a profitable smartphone.
According to a report from Live Mint, BlackBerry's share in the smartphone market falls under one percent. Releasing an Android smartphone means serious competition from many other well-known names in the business. "Perhaps there's something else in the pipeline, but this device does seem like a last stand," Analyst Brian Colello from Chicago's Morningstar Investment Services said.
Colello stressed that while the company has been releasing new smartphone models over the last few years, it is still "trying to get a hit with any form factor, any price point and now it's with a different operating system." BlackBerry CEO John Chen has been working closely to shift the company's fortune and is still holding on to the smartphone business, which accounts for 40 percent of BlackBerry's earnings.
Chen has earlier said that the company may quit making mobile phones if it has ceased to earn from the devices. "The end of BlackBerry smartphones may come within the following year if the phones still don't turn up profit," he said in a conference last October. Chen is targeting a $500 million revenue in software sales by March 2016, and has also recently acquired Good Technology Corp.
BlackBerry has shipped 800,000 mobile phones in the quarter that ended in Aug. 29. The number is BlackBerry's lowest since 2007. BlackBerry Priv will begin selling in online stores and retailers this coming Nov. 6, according to Digital Trends. The high-end Android phone is make or break for BlackBerry.