Has the Priv Started a Turnaround for BlackBerry?

Priv_Custom_openBlackBerry has been in a poor position for several years now, as the growth of Bring Your Own Device obliterated the need for a specific, business-focused device, and the popularity of iOS and Android left the BlackBerry OS without the app market to compete. However, the companys latest financial reports and its new Priv handset are giving CEO John S. Chen reason to celebrate.

While the firm still reported a net loss on its shares, with prices down $0.03 per share, this drop was less than predicted by Wall Street analysts, and overall revenues were also up on projections, with the company bringing in $557m (£374m) during Q3 2015, up 14 per cent from the previous quarter.

“I am pleased with our continued progress on BlackBerrys strategic priorities, leading to 14 per cent sequential growth in total revenue for Q3,” said Chen. “We delivered accelerating growth in enterprise software and higher revenue across all of our areas of focus. Our new Priv device has been well received since its launch in November, and we are expanding distribution to additional carriers around the world in the next several quarters.”

The Priv represents something of a a gamble for the firm, abandoning its BlackBerry 10 OS for a version of Googles Android operating system, and making use of a sliding QWERTY keyboard. While the smartphone is currently only available in the US and Canada, it has reportedly sold around 700,000 units since November, and will expand to 31 countries by February 2016.

While this initial boost is good news for the beleaguered BlackBerry, Chen has said in the past that the company needs to sell 5m handsets a year to break even in terms of hardware, and the Privs sales are nowhere near that yet.