What BlackBerry's Android Phone Could Mean for Its Hardware Business

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2015-09-26 Print this article Print
BlackBerry, smartphones, Android, BlackBerry Priv smartphone, iOS, enterprise mobile security

Jan Dawson, chief analyst of Jackdaw Research, told eWEEK that "the big question is whether BlackBerry can really turn handsets around at this point, or whether it's simply too late for the brand, which has been tarnished by all that has happened over the last few years."

Dawson said his sense is "that many users have moved on at this point, and that even if enterprises like the Android platform, employees won't. The reality is that there are still some industries where BlackBerry devices are the only option, and therefore, I think it's likely that Blackberry will continue to make devices for some time to come, but the question is whether that can ever be a profitable business for them again." 

Ken Dulaney, an analyst with Gartner, said that although he has not yet seen a new Priv handset, he's disappointed with its sliding keyboard form factor, which he called awkward to hold and use based on past experiences. A touch-screen keyboard found on most phones today has become a natural feature for almost all users, he said.

"It's an artificial compromise where BlackBerry is trying to use its strength in keyboards somehow to make themselves differentiated from other Android phones," said Dulaney. "What they should do is just a straight touch-screen and then put in all the great BlackBerry security features."

If the company did that, it would be better than phones from other vendors, he said. "It's almost as if they tried too hard here."

The Priv announcement was a highlight on a day when the company posted fiscal 2016 second-quarter non-GAAP revenue of $491 million, down 47 percent from $916 million in the same quarter a year earlier. For the latest quarter, which ended Aug. 29, BlackBerry reported a non-GAAP loss of $66 million after adjustments, which resulted in a loss of 13 cents per share.



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