LIVE FROM CES 2016: BlackBerry’s Android-powered Priv smartphone is to be available from Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon now that AT&T’s exclusive 60-day deal has come to an end.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen (pictured) made the announcement at a briefing here in Vegas this morning. “I can’t tell you timing yet but that’s now all the major carriers in the US carrying Priv.”
Chen also put an upbeat note on whether the company has a future in the device space, the subject of much recent speculation. “I believe we can make money on devices and I think we are close,” he commented.
“I’m trying to rebuild a sub-volume basis that is very competitive but we have a lot of knowhow. We know we can extend the consumer [base] to pro consumer. It’s worth a shot at it. By adopting Android we solved the enterprise gap. The value add is all the privacy features we put in.”
Chen said the company is seeing a run rate of 700,000-800,000 smartphone units a quarter. “We are going to try and build a lasting business. There’s a reasonable shot at getting to 5 million units.”
Chen has not yet revealed sales numbers for the Priv, its first Android powered smartphone that launched November 6 last year. At the company’s most recent quarterly results Chen said the device had been well received in the market. Today Chen said he expects to see the device in 31 countries in the next few quarters, up from four in the previous quarter.
Chen also said it was “too early” to know whether it would continue longterm with its BB10/Android dual OS strategy.