Last year at MWC 2017, TCL unveiled the BlackBerry KEYOne, and now, a year later, we’ve received information on the scope of what the company thinks about the KEYOne phone and it’s outlook moving forward. IDC’s Francisco Jeronimo says that it shipped just 850,000 BlackBerry devices last year. This is a very low number that’s far behind other companies like Samsung and Apple that are moving millions of units.
Despite moving just 850,000 units, according to The Verge, who spoke to two members of the BlackBerry Mobile team, they say that last year’s sales of KEYOne phone are a success. Apparently, TCL and BlackBerry were coming into this year “with a feeling of mission accomplished.” So where exactly is this thought process coming from? It’s not actual sales numbers, rather it has more to do with how available their devices have become to consumers. With KEYOne, the device is available in many direct sales channels and that was very important to BlackBerry. The company is pleased with its performance in 2017. BlackBerry plans to launch two new phones this year as well.
Speaking to CNET, BlackBerry Mobile’s chief commercial officer, Francois Mahieu, said that he would like the company to grab three to five percent of the market share 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.” In order to do this, it would require sales of at least 10 million units per year, according to Counterpoint Research analyst Neil Shah.
One of the biggest factors holding BlackBerry back is the fact the phones no loner run on its own OS, rather the phones run on Android now. Because of this, the company has had to put more effort into making this widely known. But since the company only sold 850,000 units last year, those efforts will need to be increased and the company will need to give the market more time to shift its thinking of BlackBerry. The company already plans to shut down its own app Store at the end of 2019. Speaking in regards to getting increased market share, Shah told CNET, “That looks difficult for now.” And difficult it will continue to be until BlackBerry steps up its efforts.