Android fails to revive BlackBerry

BlackBerry‘s Android model, the Priv, failed to revive the company’s phone sales. According to Juniper Research, BlackBerry only sold 734,000 phones in the last quarter of 2015 — a total of 3.7 million for the full year.

If anyone is interested, the phone went on sale in Australia today.

Microsoft‘s Windows phone fared little better than BlackBerry with just 4.5 million sold during 2015. Market share dropped 57 percent. If there was a new Microsoft phone launched during the year, no-one told us about it in New Zealand.

BlackBerry and Microsoft are just two victims of a wider malaise. Worldwide phone sales have stalled, if not peaked. The total number of phones sold in 2015 from all brands was 1.4 billion and, for now, no-one is predicting more than a percent or two increase in sales for 2016.

Samsung still sells more phones that any other company. It saw a one percent increase in 2015 to a total of 317 million sales. Even evergreen Apple warned of slowing sales.

Elsewhere it’s a bloodbath. Sony and HTC both saw huge drops of 36 percent year-on-year despite interesting new launches.

A number of readers have commented that moving to Android would save BlackBerry or Microsoft’s phone business. It was never going to happen. Even the companies that have stuck to Android for years struggle to earn money from making phones.

A better strategy for Microsoft and BlackBerry would be to focus on phone software, both have key apps that large companies — read that as deep pockets — need.

Update: Original story said LG sales were down 36 percent instead of HTC.