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AT&T admits the BlackBerry Priv is “really struggling”

An unnamed AT&T executive has spoken out about the BlackBerry Priv, saying it is "really struggling" and that AT&T has seen a lot of returns.

Published onJune 6, 2016

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According to a high-level AT&T executive, the BlackBerry Priv is “really struggling”. Speaking with CNET, the unnamed exec also admitted that AT&T has been seeing “more returns than [it] would like”. Carriers talking trash about their hardware partners is a pretty rare occurrence, so for us to be hearing this you know the once-cozy relationship between AT&T and BlackBerry must have soured somewhat.

Physical vs. on-screen buttons - what's your pick?

AT&T has long supported BlackBerry as a hardware partner, but the troubled company’s foray into Android hasn’t been as successful as both companies had hoped. BlackBerry has been reporting lower than projected sales volumes and AT&T has now admitted there is a high rate of returns. The reasons for this state of affairs do not paint a pretty picture for BlackBerry’s future.

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For starters, BlackBerry’s assumption that there was a latent desire for a physical keyboard in the ranks of the Android faithful was sorely misplaced. On-screen keyboards have become so ubiquitous that a physical keyboard is little more than a novelty these days.

Furthermore, the switch to the Android operating system has proven to be problematic for the BlackBerry faithful that took a punt on the Priv. Difficulties assimilating have caused many of them to return the phone.

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While those from the Android side that have used the Priv generally tend to enjoy the experience, the Priv’s size, price and physical keyboard meant it was always going to be a niche product. But BlackBerry seems to have thought it could be a runaway success.

That hasn’t happened and now BlackBerry’s relationship with one of its strongest carrier partners seems to be going down hill as well.

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BlackBerry’s CEO, John Chen, previously stated that BlackBerry would exit the phone business if it could not turn a profit in 2016. With sub-standard sales volumes and a high rate of returns, it now seems unlikely the company will meet that goal, despite BlackBerry claiming to still be on track.

Even with two other BlackBerry Android phones reportedly in the works, BlackBerry’s “Hail Mary”Android gamble may have failed to pay off.

What do you think of the Priv? Would you like to see more BlackBerry Android phones?

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