BlackBerry has launched a rebate offer of up to $550 to iPhone owners who are willing to trade their iPhone 4S through iPhone 6 smartphones in for a new BlackBerry Passport phone. The company also announced several Black Friday deals on the Passport phone and on its BlackBerry Z30 smartphone, as well as six-month, no-interest payment plans through PayPal Credit.
The BlackBerry Passport Trade-up program, which was announced by the company on Nov. 24, provides a rebate of up to $400 depending on the traded iPhone, as well as an additional $150 rebate for all iPhone users, according to the company. The rebates are only valid for customers in North America.
Customers who trade their iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s or iPhone 6 smartphone in for a new BlackBerry Passport will receive their rebates in the form of Visa prepaid cards. The offer is good for purchases made from Dec. 1, 2014, through Feb. 13, 2015, through ShopBlackBerry.com or Amazon.com, according to the company.
Interested customers can get an estimate of the value being placed on their current iPhone by entering information about their device at tradeup.blackberry.com, according to the company.
The Passport smartphone retails for $699.99 before rebates, but has been on sale for $599 since it was launched. The devices first went on sale in September and sold out within 6 hours of their announcement on BlackBerry's own Website and within 10 hours on Amazon.com after they went on sale, according to an earlier eWEEK report.
The new BlackBerry Passport smartphones for enterprise users include a full HD display that is 4.5 inches square, which will allow 60 characters to be typed across its screen, compared with about 40 for a typical smartphone, according to BlackBerry.
Black Friday Deals
Just in time for Black Friday shoppers, BlackBerry is also offering a $100 discount on black Passport smartphones beginning immediately, giving U.S. consumers the devices for $499 when purchased through ShopBlackBerry.com and on Amazon.com.
The BlackBerry Z30 smartphone is on sale this week for $225, which is a $274 discount from its normal $499 price, according to BlackBerry.
Customers can choose to make their purchases for the special pricing events using PayPal Credit to get no-interest payments for six months, according to BlackBerry.
The rebate offers and Black Friday specials come at an interesting time for BlackBerry as it seeks to rebuild its reputation and market presence after some very difficult years.
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.
BlackBerry spent much of 2012 and 2013 trying to shake off the image that it was finished, especially compared with its presence five years earlier when its devices were the "enterprise gold standard" for mobile business communications.
In September, BlackBerry reported that its revenue dropped to $916 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2015, down from $966 million in the first quarter. The company also posted a GAAP net loss of $207 million for the second quarter, which ended Aug. 30, compared with a $965 million loss in the same quarter of 2013, according to a previous eWEEK report. Those figures compare to a modest net profit of $23 million earned in the first fiscal quarter of 2015, which ended May 31.
The company is expected to release its latest smartphone, the BlackBerry Classic, formerly known as the BlackBerry Q20, sometime in December. The Classic will include features users already loved, while adding improvements and refinements that the company hopes will make the Classic even better.