When the BlackBerry Priv was finally made official a few months back, some were surprised to find that, for a flagship device only powered by a Snapdragon 808 processor, the phone was a bit more on the pricey side — a full $700 unlocked. Addressing questions about whether or not BlackBerry has a more affordable mid-range handset planned is CEO John Chen (the same one who fumbled his own Priv hands-on) in a video interview with Bloomberg.
According to Chen, a mid-range handset isn’t out of the realm of possibility, but it largely depends on how well the Priv is received by consumers over the next 3 to 4 months. Although the Priv may have contributed to the 700,000 units BlackBerry shipped last quarter (lower than estimates), it’s not clear how many of those were actually Priv sales. Although Chen calls this “positive progress,” he says the company is still taking things “one step at a time.” At least for now.
The BlackBerry Priv is still scheduled to launch on Verizon Wireless in the near future, the largest carrier in the US. Chen also mentions that the Priv will be launching in 31 countries over the next 2 and half months, so there’s definitely much more potential for BlackBerry to still make a lot more money off the Priv.
So, when could we potentially see this mid-rage handset launch? Chen says although their main focus will still be on the high-end, we could see this more affordable BlackBerry released later next calendar year (fiscal 2017). There’s a good chance this could be the BlackBerry Vienna we saw leaked awhile back.
While Android enthusiasts tend to demand more high-end devices for OEMs, there’s definitely a huge market for low to mid-range devices as well. Whether BlackBerry strikes gold in that particular market remains to be seen.