This doesn’t bode well. In the same week as Sprint launched the BlackBerry Q10, several months after the competition, so a report appears in the Wall Street Journal that nobody cares about the BlackBerry 10-powered QWERTY phone. Quoting executives from U.S. and Canadian carriers and retailers, sales of the phone have apparently been, “Dismal.”The owner of Verizon re-seller Wireless Zone, Chris Jourdan, said he ordered just a few of the phones on release, and the ones sold to customers were subsequently returned. He added his shops saw, “Virtually no demand,” for the device and has returned the ones which haven’t sold.
A Canadian network executive, who wasn’t named, said, “The Q10, the one we all thought was going to be the savior, just hit the ground and died. It didn’t drive the numbers that anybody expected.” As for Sprint, a spokesperson said to the WSJ people are often enquiring about phones with physical keyboards, however it’s telling there’s no mention of BlackBerry. In other words, are people asking Sprint for Android-based QWERTY phones? However, Sprint did say it had interest in the BlackBerry Q10 from business customers.
BlackBerry’s last earnings report showed it had sold 6.8 million phones between March and June, but only 2.7 million were BlackBerry 10 devices. Since then, it has launched both the budget BlackBerry Q5 (running BB10), and the equally cheap BlackBerry 9720, which runs BlackBerry OS 7.1. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins admitted the earlier launch of the touchscreen Z10 wasn’t perfect either, and has seen the company’s market share drop in both the U.S. and Europe, despite the new phones going on sale.
International sales aren’t much better
None of this is good news for the struggling company, which recently announced it would consider selling up, and reports are equally concerning from other parts of the world. BlackBerry has traditionally sold well in the Middle East, India, and Africa. In the Middle East, retailers are also reporting significant drops in BlackBerry sales, while Samsung continues to rise. During the first three months of 2013 in India, BlackBerry’s market share dropped from 25 percent to 12 percent, despite considerable market growth.
This week BlackBerry started a joint marketing campaign with Samsung for its BlackBerry Messenger app in Africa, which is turning into BlackBerry’s last stronghold, as it has not only seen some growth, but also regional network Vodacom said in May it has more BlackBerry users than Windows, Android and iOS users combined.
We’re expecting one more device to come from Blackberry this year, the big-screen BlackBerry Z30. Whether it will have a significant impact on sales remains to be seen.