You read that correctly. If you live in North America, BlackBerry will pay you $150 to trade in your old iPhone for the new BlackBerry Passport. According to Fortune, BlackBerry says the offer is worth up to $550. As of Thursday morning, BlackBerrys were the most sold unlocked phones. The trade-in program may have contributed to that.
The IDC forecasts that BlackBerry’s already small global share in the smartphone market will shrink even further to 0.8% this year, according to Bloomberg. BlackBerry wants to make a comeback, and the Passport may be helping. 200,000 BlackBerry Passport units were sold in the first two days, which exceeded BlackBerry’s estimates by far.
The BlackBerry Passport has a 4.5″ square screen, which is unusual for a touch-screen smartphone in addition to a mechanical keyboard like the majority of BlackBerry phones. The black version of it is $500, the white is $600, and the red (which is actually black and red) is $700. That makes me glad I don’t have a preference for red phones!
What Has Been Killing BlackBerry?
Potential factors that contribute to the demise of manufacturers include poor product quality, poor customer support, exorbitant prices, and much more, but the smartphone and tablet industry is affected immensely by the availability of apps.
I know BlackBerry’s quality and prices to be decent. However, Android and iOS platforms are almost completely dominant, so nearly everyone wants to develop apps for them instead.
According to Fortune’s Geoffrey Smith:
BlackBerry’s overall shipments of smartphones have collapsed in the last three years as both Apple and, increasingly, Samsung Electronics Co. have eaten into its once loyal fan-base among corporate executives. From a peak of 52.3 million in 2010, shipments fell to less than 14 million in the last fiscal year.
Please note that the smartphone market has grown since then, so this isn’t a very reliable estimate, as the overall number of smartphone sales increased.
BlackBerry’s solution: Support Android apps. Ever since the release of version 10 of BlackBerry’s OS, the installation of Android apps was supported (via APK files).
Maybe they should market their support for Android apps more aggressively? That might help. I think their support for Android apps could be helpful as long as smartphone shoppers are well aware of it.
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