Sun, Apr 03, 2016 - Page 13 News List

BlackBerry mobile shipments plunge, despite Android

NY Times News Service, OTTAWA

BlackBerry Ltd’s attempt to revive its once-mighty smartphone business by using Google’s Android operating system is off to a disappointing start.

BlackBerry on Friday said that, despite the move, it sold just 600,000 smartphones during its most recent quarter, which ended on Feb. 29, a drop of about 100,000 units from the previous quarter.

It did not say how many of those smartphones were the new Android model, known as Priv. However, during a conference call with analysts, BlackBerry chairman and CEO John Chen (程守宗) acknowledged that Priv did not sell as well as he had hoped.

Chen said that Priv sales suffered because of general slowness in sales of expensive smartphones, as well as delays in getting wireless carriers and stores to sell it. As he had done in the past, Chen vowed to stop making mobiles, the product that came to define the company, if that part of the business remained unprofitable.

However, Chen said that for now he remained confident that BlackBerry could find a way to continue making mobiles without losing money on them.

“I still believe we have a shot at it,” Chen said during a conference call with analysts. “Hopefully I’m not naive.”

As Chen looks for answers on the hardware side of the business, he has staked BlackBerry’s future on selling software and services that allow businesses and governments to control their employees’ smartphones and tablets and also increase their security.

Driven in part by the acquisition of a competitor, Good Technology Corp, BlackBerry said its software revenue rose 113 percent in the year. However, overall annual revenue for the smartphone maker declined by one-third to US$2.16 billion and its net loss fell by a similar ratio to US$208 million.

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