TCL unveiled the Blackberry KEYOne at MWC 2017 and now, a year later, we have an idea of how well it sold as well as a glimpse into the company’s outlook going forward. IDC’s Francisco Jeronimo says that just 850,000 BlackBerry devices shipped last year, a very low number that’s well behind those of companies like Apple and Samsung. But according to The Verge, who spoke to two members of the BlackBerry Mobile team, the company considers last year’s sales a success.
Blackberry Mobile and TCL are apparently coming into this year “with a feeling of mission accomplished,” which has less to do with actual sales numbers and more to do with how available their devices are to consumers. With the KEYOne, having it be available in many direct sales channels was important, and in that regard, TCL is pretty pleased with how 2017 went. The company plans to launch two new phones this year.
As CNET reports, BlackBerry Mobile’s chief commercial officer, Francois Mahieu, would like to see the company grab three to five percent of the market for premium smartphones. “It doesn’t have to be a niche business,” he said. “I would not be satisfied with market share in premium (phones) that is sub-one percent forever.” And that would require sales of around 10 million units per year, according to Counterpoint Research analyst Neil Shah. One factor holding Blackberry Mobile back is that many consumers don’t yet know that BlackBerry phones now run on Android, not BlackBerry’s own OS, says The Verge, and the company has had to put in a more concerted effort to make that more widely known. BlackBerry plans to shutter its app store at the end of 2019.
In regards to BlackBerry Mobile getting that increased market share, Shah told CNET, “That looks difficult for now.”