Tag: smartphone industry

BlackBerry is placing its focus on software as smartphone business trembles

As its handset sales remain lower than the Canadian company had hoped, it has slashed 200 jobs.

The restructuring strategy at BlackBerry has been continuing and, on the heels of a job cut affecting 200 people, the struggling Canadian handset manufacturing is now directing its attention toward software.

The company barely has any mobile device models left on the market shelves and their sales simply aren’t cutting it.

Because of this, BlackBerry appears to be shifting its focus in order to send its resources in the direction of mobile apps for consumers and services for businesses – areas in which the company has managed to excel, over the years. The market share of global smartphone sales currently held by the Canadian mobile device maker is a measly 0.3 percent (as of the third quarter of 2015), according to data from Gartner. That said, when it comes to business security software and other forms of applications, the brand is managing to steadily improve its position.

Even the switch that BlackBerry made to Android does not appear to have been enough to boost its smartphone sales.

Blackberry - Focus on SoftwareJohn Chen, CEO of the company, announced that the company didn’t intend to step away from hardware and, as a part of that strategy, the company released the Priv smartphone, which was based on Android instead of on its own proprietary operating system. The hope was that the more popular mobile platform, in combination with the exponentially larger availability of mobile apps, would be enough to draw consumers back to the brand. Unfortunately, while it did see an increase in sales, it doesn’t look as though it was enough to rescue its hardware business.

The device, itself, is quite unique, and it isn’t difficult to see why the company would feel that it had draw for consumers. Its large 5.4 inch touchscreen also offered a slide-out physical keyboard, for users who would prefer the ease of a mechanical way to type. Its 18 megapixel primary camera (which also allows for 4K video recordings) featured autofocus and an image stabilizer. It is NFC technology enabled and offers about 22 hours of battery with standard device usage. It also comes pre-loaded with security and privacy apps. Its retail US price is $699.

That said, while it doesn’t look like BlackBerry has reached the point where it is phasing its smartphones out of production, predictions look as though its hardware options are going to become slimmer as the year progresses.

BlackBerry Priv will make or break the company’s hardware, says CEO

The success of the upcoming Android based smartphone will decide whether or not devices are in its future.

According to a statement from CEO John Chen, if the BlackBerry Priv does not manage the become profitable within the span of a year, it will likely mean that the company will step away from the hardware market of smartphones and will turn its attention toward selling secure software on various large mobile platforms.

This statement was made in California at Code Mode while showcasing the next BlackBerry smartphone.

Chen explained that the company is currently in a make or break phase when it comes to its hardware segment. The BlackBerry Priv simply needs to turn a profit next year, “Otherwise, I have to think twice about what I do there.” It looks as though the company is seriously considering a withdrawal from the smartphone hardware market if it doesn’t manage to be successful with its new upcoming Android based device.

That said, Chen has said that he is confident that the BlackBerry Priv has the potential it needs to succeed.

He explained that “Android in the enterprise is a very underserved space. With our connections, our accounts, our security know-how, this has expanded our market. The market wants privacy and security and they also want apps.” Because of this, Chen feels that he has found a place for the company’s hardware that could be a very profitable and a very defining one.

BlackBerry has always been a pioneer within the mobile device space, particularly when it comes to smartphones. In 1999, it was the first to launch a two-way pager, and its cell phone and smartphone handset had long been the dominant player in the marketplace, even among competition from extremely powerful players including Apple, Samsung, and others.

However, the company’s user base bottomed out and the company is still losing money on hardware even though it has strategically outsourced some of its manufacturing to Foxconn in Taiwan.

The hope the company has is that the Android operating system in the BlackBerry Priv will allow it to see successes that simply were not great enough in the recent handsets the company has released, including the Classic and the Passport. Chen’s goal is for a minimum of five million handset shipments per year.