The BlackBerry KEYone is being considered a success by BlackBerry and TCL executives in spite of what industry experts consider to be a lack of noteworthy sales, according to a new report out of The Verge. The report draws on comments made by BlackBerry’s Francois Mahieu and TCL’s Alain Lejeune and contrasts them with numbers said to have come from IDC’s Francisco Jeronimo – also responsible for providing recent figures for the Essential PH-1 and Google’s Pixel 2 line.
Where the discrepancy seems to arise is in how “successful” is defined. For example, the report highlights BlackBerry and TCL's “mission accomplished” consensus is based on how widespread (at the country and carrier level) KEYone availability is. For example, at this year’s CES event TCL confirmed the KEYone is now available in more than fifty countries and it is this sort of metric the company representatives are drawing on when considering the success of the phone. In contrast, however, the number reportedly from Jeronimo suggests 850,000 BlackBerry phones in total shipped in the whole of 2017. To qualify the number, that is 850,000 BlackBerry phones inclusive of the KEYone – not just the KEYone. Which if correct, would suggest BlackBerry phones in general have yet to gain enough traction to be considered successful at the sales level, let alone the KEYone.
One of the additional points made in the report is the suggestion BlackBerry’s OS is one of the key issues. This is interesting as the BlackBerry KEYone (and the rest of the company’s current smartphone portfolio) does not run on the company's own OS, but on Android. However, the suggestion is when consumers see the BlackBerry name there is an assumption that it does run on BlackBerry's own solution. Something the company seems to be aware of as one of the reported goals already in place is to educate the market on the employment of Android. In spite of the comments made here, it is clear BlackBerry is aware that it needs to grow its market share, and considerable. As comments from the same company exec (Mahieu) made during MWC 2018 to another news outlet states the current goal of the company is to secure a minimum of 3-percent of the global premium smartphone market within the next few years.