BlackBerry Priv Android Flagship Is ‘Really Struggling’ Claims AT&T Exec

It hasn't been a rough stretch for BlackBerry over the past several years. The once dominant smartphone outfit has tried numerous strategies to claw its way back to relevance—a name change, new CEO, inevitable layoffs, and more recently going all-in with Android. Unfortunately, nothing seems to be working for BlackBerry, and its flagship Priv handset isn't the savior the company hoped it would be.

An executive at AT&T who asked not to be blamed put it rather bluntly when speaking with CNET, saying the Priv is "really struggling." The executive noted also noted that AT&T is seeing more returns on the device than it anticipated. That's something BlackBerry should be worried about, especially after T-Mobile stopped selling (for a time) its devices altogether in late 2013 because of lagging sales.

BlackBerry Priv

It's a bit unusual for wireless carriers to speak out against handset makers.  The fact that AT&T is doing it, albeit unofficially through an executive who wants to remain anonymous, is both telling and troubling. The executive's comments underscore the situation BlackBerry finds itself in, which is particularly disappointing for the Canadian handset maker because adopting Android was supposed to win back customers.

There's no singular reason for the Priv's inability to turn things around, which makes the situation hard to fix. Part of the problem is that BlackBerry's core crowd, the diehard fans from a bygone era, aren't receptive of the transition to Android. But BlackBerry also shot itself in the foot by initially selling the Priv (unlocked) for $699, a premium that's higher than the starting price for Apple's iPhone 6S.

Despite the ongoing positive rhetoric from BlackBerry, promises of being profitable keep coming up empty. BlackBerry's most recent financial report showed an $18 million loss for the three-month period ended February 29, 2016, along with a steep drop in revenue—$487 million, down from $660 million in the same quarter a year prior.