Upon its launch late last year, the Android-based BlackBerry Priv seemed like a desperate attempt of fallen phone giant BlackBerry to get back into the smartphone game. However, an AT&T executive has let slip that, in sales, the handset is utterly tanking – with a particularly high rate of returns.
This high-ranking executive, who asked not to be identified, told CNET that the Priv is “really struggling”, adding: “We’ve seen more returns than we would like.” The source noted that, while BlackBerry and AT&T had expected an Android handset sporting a physical keyboard to fly off the shelves, most buyers actually turned out to be BlackBerry loyalists.
This became an especially big problem when these faithful struggled to adapt to the Android operating system following their familiarity with the BlackBerry operating system – resulting in unexpectedly numerous returns. The exec added that the unlocked Priv’s hefty $699 price tag was another hindrance. This is close to the iPhone 6S starting price, but Apple and Samsung have sewn up the premium market.
The Priv’s poor commercial performance could be what finally tips BlackBerry to abandon phones – as, in October, CEO John Chen said would be on the cards if the company fails to amass a profit in 2016.