BlackBerry has announced a $250 discount on the regular prices of its Passport smartphones and $224 off its Priv handsets through Oct. 19 in a special sale being held on its BlackBerry.com website.
The sale brings the price of a black Passport phone to $249, down from the regular $499, while the Passport Silver Edition handset is $299, compared with its regular $549 price. The Priv smartphone (pictured) is on sale for $425 in black, down from its regular $649 price.
BlackBerry announced the special prices in emails to customers and on the company's website. The special pricing is available while supplies last, according to the company.
Also on sale are an assortment of accessories for Priv Passport smartphones, including cases, chargers and more for 40 percent off their regular prices. The sale prices on accessories, which began Sept. 13, remain for a very limited time and will end Sept. 27.
The BlackBerry Priv, which the company announced in September 2015, runs on Android 5.1 and includes high-end enterprise security features that have been found in BlackBerry devices for years. Even the name of the phone is an abbreviation of the word "privacy." The Priv was introduced in hopes that it would help the company reclaim some hardware market share that it lost to Android phones and Apple's iPhones.
The Priv, which features a 5.4-inch curved glass display, a 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor and 3GB of RAM, includes a slide-out QWERTY keyboard as well as a touch-screen display. It also includes an 18-megapixel rear-facing camera with a special Schneider-Kreuznach lens and dual flash, a front-facing 5MP camera, 32GB of on-board storage, a microSD slot that accepts cards up to 2TB for expanded storage and a 3,410mAh battery.
In April, BlackBerry dropped the price of the Priv smartphone to $649, a $50 cut from its previous price, as it worked to increase sales, according to an earlier eWEEK story.
The BlackBerry Passport handsets were introduced in September 2014, featuring a 4.5-inch square HD display, a traditional physical keyboard, the BlackBerry 10 OS operating system and a long-life 3,450mAh battery. Also included is a 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor, a 13-megapixel main camera and 32GB of on-board storage.
In August 2015, BlackBerry unveiled the Passport Silver Edition handset with a silver finish, an updated back gripping surface and keyboard improvements. The Passport Silver Edition also differs from standard Passport models through a reinforced stainless steel frame, rounded corners and beveled edges around the front-facing camera and a protective border around the rear camera.
The company launched its Leap smartphone in March 2015, which replaced the traditional BlackBerry physical keypad with a modern touch-screen aimed at getting the company's devices into the hands of younger mobile professionals.
BlackBerry Dropped the Classic in July
In July, the company announced that it was dropping the production of its Classic QWERTY keyboard-equipped smartphone just a few days after the U.S. Senate unveiled its plans to stop offering BlackBerry phones to members once its existing supplies of the company's handsets were distributed. The moves, though unrelated, offered more support for the widely held industry beliefs that BlackBerry is continuing on a road map that will see it become a mobile security software company in sharp contrast to its former position just 10 years ago as a powerhouse in the enterprise smartphone market.
The BlackBerry Classic debuted in December 2014 with a 3.5-inch square touch-screen HD display, a 2-megapixel front- and an 8MP rear-facing camera, a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 16GB of internal storage.
In July, BlackBerry unveiled its latest smartphone, the $299 DTEK50, an ultra-high security touch-screen Android handset that doesn't include the company's iconic physical QWERTY keyboard. It is the vendor's second Android phone, coming after the Priv. The DTEK50 features a 5.2-inch full HD display, a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor, an Adreno 405 graphics processor, 3GB of memory and 16GB of on-board flash storage.
BlackBerry's fall from dominating the enterprise smartphone market has been swift and stunning. In early 2006, before the first iPhones appeared from Apple, half of all smartphones sold were BlackBerry models. By 2009, though, its share of the global smartphone market was down to 20 percent. The company continues to face competition from Apple, Samsung, Google and others.
BlackBerry also has been having a tough time financially for some time. In late June, BlackBerry reported a fiscal 2017 first-quarter net loss of $670 million, compared with a net loss of $238 million in the fourth quarter. The company's GAAP revenue was $400 million, while its non-GAAP revenue was $424 million for the first quarter.