Sneak Peep into what makes Blackberry PRIV different from other devices
BlackBerry CEO Says Priv Has Been Well-Received, Expected To Launch In 31 Countries By February 2016.
TORONTO: BlackBerry’s pivot to software began to show traction, after the company reported a smaller quarterly loss and its first quarter-to-quarter revenue increase in over two years, sending its stock soaring 13%.For the first time in recent years, BlackBerry’s financial reports are showing signs of recovery, with the once-mobile computing supremo making a number of changes in its marketing and investment strategies.
The BlackBerry Priv was another one of the struggling Canadian company’s big gambles from earlier this year, as CEO John Chen continues to save the firm from the doldrums, if not restore its old glory, which, we’d say, is virtually impossible at this point. The company may break even in the current quarter, but this could be complicated by investments being made toward growing both software and hardware sales, said chief executive John Chen, who sees a return to sustainable profitability in fiscal 2017, which begins March 1. Canadian tech giant BlackBerry reported a “$0.03 per share” net loss in the third quarter of 2015, beating the Wall Street estimates of a “$0.14 per share loss.” The overall revenues gained by BlackBerry also topped the expectations of $489.04 million by posting a good $557 million, according to 24/7 Wall St.
As part of its revised investment strategies, the new hardware and software strategies seem to be working, in light of which falls the latest smartphone by BlackBerry – the Android-powered slider, BlackBerry Priv. BlackBerry has staked its turnaround on software and more aggressively licensing its trove of patents after its once-dominant handsets conceded the consumer smartphone market. “BlackBerry hit a software number that investors have been looking for them to hit for quite some time,” said Morningstar analyst Brian Colello. “I think the investment in security, in software, is the right move.” The better-than-expected results were driven by a sharp jump in software and patent licensing revenues and a higher average selling price for phones, driven by the Priv, its new Android-powered device. “We’re planning on other Android phones, but it all hinges on how we do with the Priv,” said Chen at a media roundtable, adding the Priv will be hitting over 30 countries this quarter.
The BlackBerry Priv has been generally well-received, with the flexibility of Android coupled with BlackBerry’s software suites, security features and a signature physical keypad generating hype and interest among a wide base of users – from the feature-savvy youth to the once-BB-loyalist corporate professional. Quarterly revenue fell 31% to US$548mil (RM2.3bil) from a year earlier, but rose 12% from the prior quarter, after nine consecutive quarters of declines. These, apart from the impact of Priv, can be attributed to BlackBerry’s new licensing strategies, that seems to have succeeded in stemming the steep decline.
Unfortunately for those dying to know about the Priv’s sales, Chen has chosen to be as tight-lipped as he could, not letting slip even the slightest clue at the phone’s numbers. “The initial 30 days of sales has been quite positive,” said Chen, keeping it as short and sweet as possible. “I don’t want to overhype things. Software revenue more than doubled in the quarter, putting BlackBerry within striking range of its US$500mil (RM2.14bil) target for the fiscal year ending Feb 29, 2016. BlackBerry sold 700,000 devices, down from about 800,000 in the prior period, but average selling prices jumped to US$315 (RM1,355) from US$240 (RM1,032).
On the plus side, BlackBerry did say that the average price of the smartphones sold in its last quarter was $315, a big year-over-year improvement from the November 2014 quarter’s figure of $240. Chen was almost as cagey when he was asked about how his turnaround schemes have been faring so far. “My first goal is to get us into a break-even position with the device business, because you really couldn’t do anything strategically with a business that continues to lose money,” he said. “We’re in that ballpark now.” We will remain in the phone business one way or the other.” While BlackBerry loyalists and fans across the world can feel more reassured, it will be up to BlackBerry to earn back its niche in the industry. Although, BlackBerry’s year-over-year sales figure is relatively down, the Q3 sales number is better than the figure tallied in Q2 with $201 million. Financial Post, meanwhile, said that better sales and earnings per share, combined with a narrower loss, made the investors happy and following which, BlackBerry shares apparently rose 9.7 percent in Toronto to $11.95, on the day of announcement.
All its stand-out features and quirks are still there, but I’ve found myself gradually drawn in by that keyboard — enough so that my opinion of the phone has changed for good. The Canadian technology company announced that its much-anticipated Priv smartphone will be rolled out in the UAE in early January and in Saudi Arabia in the middle of the month, with a top official in the region guaranteeing users the “best of many worlds”.
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