TCL COMMUNICATIONS is feeling pretty pleased with itself after flogging, er, 850,000 BlackBerry devices in 2017.
That figure comes courtesy of IDC's Francisco Jeronimo, who recently brought us word of Google's lacklustre Pixel sales. He revealed to The Verge this week that BlackBerry devices - all models, not just the newest BlackBerry KeyOne flagship - achieved just 850,000 shipments for the whole of 2017.
By comparison, HMD Global managed to sell 4.4 million Nokia-branded phones in just the fourth quarter of the year.
Despite these abysmal sales figures, BlackBerry and TCL are said to be coming into this year "with a feeling of mission accomplished" " following its first flagship launch as a united venture. They told The Verge that the company is very content with those numbers, considering its latest BlackBerry KeyOne handset an "unqualified success."
However, the firm isn't just considering actual sales as a success, but also "channel presence," meaning having the phone available in most direct sales channels.
As reported by CNET, BlackBerry Mobile's chief commercial officer, Francois Mahieu, said at MWC this week that he would like to see the company claim three to five per cent of the market for premiums smartphones in 2018.
"It doesn't have to be a niche business," he said. "I would not be satisfied with market share in premium (phones) that is sub-one percent forever."
However, according to Counterpoint Research analyst Neil Shah, that will require the firm to ship around 10 million units per year. "That looks difficult for now," Shah said.
In a bid to get to grow its smartphone sales more than 10-fold, TCL has promised at least two more BlackBerry phones for the remainder of 2018.
One of these is likely the so-called BlackBerry Ghost, a full-screen handset destined for India that was outed by Evan Blass on Twitter earlier this week (below).
BlackBerry 'Ghost': a bezel-less, premium Android handset from licensee Optiemus; coming soon to India. pic.twitter.com/KTAvKbDl5v— Evan Blass (@evleaks) February 26, 2018
This high-end phone will be made by Indian telecommunications giant Optiemus after it acquired the license last year to develop and sell BlackBerry products in the country.
Blass says that the device, which appears to have a rather slim bezel, will run Android — but that's about all there is to know at this point. µ
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