BlackBerry Z10 makes a profit, but BB sales plummet

BlackBerry has sold a million BlackBerry Z10 phones for a surprise profit, but sales are plummeting and loyal customers drifting away.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
2 min read

BlackBerry has sold a million BlackBerry Z10 smart phones to turn a surprise profit, but the company still has a lot to do to fight off Android and the iPhone as sales fall and loyal customers drift away.

Let's run the numbers: in the three months up to the start of March, BlackBerry made a profit of £65 million, a big jump from the loss of $125 million this time last year.

Part of that profit was driven by the fact that each Z10 commands a healthy profit as it costs less than £100 to build.

This profit is a bit of a surprise given that, all told, sales fell by 36 per cent. BlackBerry sold 6 million smart phones -- and 370,000 PlayBook tablets thanks to serious discounts -- which is the lowest number in nearly five years.

Loyal family

BlackBerry also has to worry about the shrinking number of people sticking with BlackBerry when changing phones. Loyalty has always been a big deal with BlackBerry as users are often loath to quit the signature BlackBerry clicky keyboard and the BlackBerry Messenger app all their friends use, but affordable and versatile Android smart phones have made inroads into that market.

In the last three months, a total of 3 million people ditched BlackBerry.

Starter for BB10 

Britain was one of the first places to see the Z10 hit shops, ahead of the US where the phone went on sale last week. It's the first phone to use BlackBerry 10, the latest generation of BB software, and will be followed by the more traditional keyboard-packing Q10 in April. Experts say the loss of subscribers is worrying, but it's too early to judge BlackBerry 10.

"The next quarter will provide a much better basis for judging BlackBerry long-term as we'll have a full quarter of availability, the launch of the Q10, the US launch and an increase in marketing," said Jan Dawson at Ovum.

Are you one of the one million to have bought a Z10, or have you ditched BlackBerry for good? Can BlackBerry ever compete with Android? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.