The current smartphone sector is extremely competitive and it’s a huge challenge to produce something which has widespread mass market appeal. At the higher end, Samsung and Apple remain the dominant force but there is competition from other leading manufacturers. The LG G4 and its predecessor received superb user reviews but didn’t really translate into the sales numbers the company hoped for. On another note, the advent of cheap Chinese handsets offer superb value for users on a budget. Furthermore, many consumers are content with their existing model and see no reason to upgrade.
Despite Blackberry’s strong history in the mobile market, they’ve struggled to adapt and remain relevant due to the rise of other manufacturers. Part of this is down to their own custom operating system which failed to attract app developers and resulted in a low adoption rate. As a result, many developers believe it’s not a worthwhile financial investment to create apps with such a low return. This also applies to Windows phone models. Eventually, Blackberry realized the dominance of Android and iOS and decided to launch a brand new phone without the Blackberry operating system.
The ‘Priv’ is Blackberry’s first high-end Android device with a concealed keyboard. This is quite a novel idea given the popularity of touch screen handsets. Of course, the Priv offers great flexibility to use the touch screen and a membrane keyboard. This makes it easier to compile e-mails or write large documents. Blackberry’s long-term success in the smartphone market heavily relied on the Priv’s performance and initial sales had been “quite positive”. However, figures released by the company last week showed further decline in their hardware division. This prompted the company’s CEO to suggest Blackberry might pull out of the smartphone sector altogether if they fail to make a profit by September.
To react to this worrying situation, Blackberry have instigated a permanent price cut on the Priv across various regions. For example, in the US, it’s been reduced from $699.99 to $649.99. UK buyers will experience a price cut from £559 to £529 which Europeans can now acquire the handset for €729. In Canada, for some bizarre reason, the price remains unchanged.