The BlackBerry Priv is not your typical Android handset, but then again BlackBerry is not your typical manufacturer. When it was officially announced that BlackBerry was finally making a device running on Android, many had high hopes for the phone, perhaps because BlackBerry is somewhat iconic in the realm of smart mobile devices. Despite the initial excitement around the BlackBerry Priv, though, excitement seems to be thinning out since the phone's launch, as its first carrier partner, AT&T, has recently acknowledged the troubles that the handset is having when it comes to sales numbers.
According to a high-level executive at AT&T, the BlackBerry Priv has been returned quite a bit having stated that they've "seen more returns than they'd like," while also pointing out that the BlackBerry Priv is "really struggling." Back at the end of March, predictions were that BlackBerry would end up shipping 850,000 Priv units, but not more than a day later it was revealed that sales numbers were lower than expected, as BlackBerry only ended up shipping 600,000 units of the Priv instead. That isn't a high number considering that, even though it started out as an AT&T exclusive device, it's now carried by the three largest wireless carriers in the U.S., including T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.
Part of BlackBerry's issues with the Priv sales numbers revolve around what was initially a very high price tag. When it was launched it was set at a cost of $699 for the unlocked model, and although it offered some unique features, like the physical keyboard, the price was higher than many consumers were willing to pay. Both BlackBerry and AT&T also overestimated the demand for an Android device like the Priv with a physical keyboard, as the AT&T executive notes that many consumers buying the device were those loyal to BlackBerry, but were having a hard time transitioning off of BlackBerry's platform to Android, which caused more returns of the phone than they had anticipated. BlackBerry has at least one more smartphone on the way for this year which will run on the Android operating system, but if BlackBerry isn't able to turn around their profits this year with the help of this new device, it's possible that they may end up exiting the phone business as stated by BlackBerry's CEO John Chen last Fall.