John Chen wanted to sell five million smartphones over the course of a year or so to see if BlackBerry would have a new mojo in the Android world. While it is looking on track to get there soon, the CEO of the company did make a comment about the long-term viability of selling mobile phones.
“My number one focus is to stay in the hardware business beyond September, but I’m also a realist, I’m not going to stay in the business and continue losing money,” Chen said.
The executive revised BlackBerry’s unit sales goal to three million a year at an average price of $300 in order for the hardware unit to break even. Fiscal year 2016 saw 3.2 million total sales, but a device breakdown isn’t available. But investors took last quarter’s flabby sales (600,000) and the slow carrier roll-out of the Priv handset poorly, just as the company’s overall revenues slumped to $464 million — $100 million below Street estimates and 30 percent off the quarterly number from a year before — and tanked BB.TO shares.
The company is looking to shoot up software and licensing revenue by 30 percent this year from the $527 million made last year. Chen also teased a mid-range Android phone for release in the middle of the year, before September.