Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry is reporting that burgeoning demand for its newly launched Passport is exceeding the company's expectation. People in several regions are finding it hard to get their hands on the handset, which according to the company's CEO, John Chen, is a good thing as it means the Passport is popular.
The Passport is BlackBerry's first major device to be launched after John Chen took over the reigns of the struggling Canadian manufacturer last November. It's a big gamble for the company, given its odd dimensions and sole focus on productivity and complete disregard for multimedia and leisure use.
“I’m glad to have inventory issues. It shows that people want the phone,” said Chen, according to a Taipei Times report. “We took a very conservative approach and didn’t order too many.”
Earlier reports said that BlackBerry pre-sold over 200,000 units of the Passport in the first two days, selling out on the BlackBerry site in six hours and within 10 hours from Amazon's web store. Those numbers are pretty impressive for a company that's been written-off by many business and technology writers in recent times.
According to the company, 30 percent of all smartphone users see their devices as a tool rather than an entertainment portal. With the Passport, the company pretty much disregards the larger market, instead focusing on people who want productivity powerhouses.
It is yet to be seen the full scale of the Passport's success, which will indicate whether BlackBerry has indeed managed to mount a comeback in the smartphone space. While the company's strategy may seem odd, it makes perfect sense given that majority of manufacturers are using multimedia as a way to sell their devices, but there are few companies catering to business users.
“That is not a space that we can afford to be in now. Being sexy and being a workhorse are two different things,” added Chen.
If BlackBerry manages to keep up the good sales of the Passport and finally turn a profit in upcoming quarters, they're bound to be the greatest comeback story in the first half of this decade. While that may be great, we're still putting our money against the company as it lacks significant presence in the low and mid-range market, and also there's Apple and Samsung to compete with at the high-end.