BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) CEO, John Chen announced at the CES2016 that Sprint Corp (NYSE:S) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) are on board as Priv Carriers but that Sprint has announced that it will no longer be one.
The company launched its first Android phone last year whose flagship is known as the Priv but it did not announce carrier deals. Blackberry Priv was designed especially for Blackberry fans who still love the physical keyboard. Mr. Chen revealed at the CES2016 that Sprint and Verizon would soon be jumping on board. AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) was the first carrier to offer the Priv. However, Sprint recently revealed that it would no longer be a carrier. No reason was given but the telecom firm claims it will maintain open communications about the matter.
The announcement reiterates claims that the Blackberry Priv failed to take off or to capture as much interest as expected among Blackberry users. Mr. Chen stated that the firm managed to sell 600,000 Blackberry Privs in the fourth quarter of 2015, and the price was lowered by $50. Company officials believe that the steep pricing of the device might have contributed to the low sales performance. The CEO reported that sales dropped almost by $200 million in the last three months ending in February.
Mr. Chen also announced recently that the firm will introduce two mid-range Blackberry devices this year, and they will also run on the Android OS like the Priv. He also revealed that one of the devices will feature a physical keyboard while the other one will feature a full-touch display. The two handsets will target the mid-range market which the company believes will be more lucrative than the premium market.
The CEO also stated that creating a premium device was not the wisest decision, saying that enterprise clients wished to purchase the device, but its price tag was too high. Most customers want to purchase the product at about $400. The failure of the Priv to take off as expected was initially blamed on the delay in making deals with carriers. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) recently announced that it will no longer support Blackberry Apps for Whatsapp and Facebook. Though this is a huge blow for the company, the introduction of the two new handsets is expected to be a saving grace.