The sales of the BlackBerry Passport have been nothing short of a commercial miracle in mobile/cellphone terms. Why? Because, possibly out of necessity, BlackBerry aren’t just innovating with hardware or software but also in terms of retail – the way we buy our phones.
Why? Because it is selling out because the PEOPLE want it. Not because big companies WANT you to take it.
What do I mean?
Well, think about the hurdles placed before this product.
Marketing: The truth is that there hasn’t been any of any note other than the shape of the thing itself. The only way news of this device has spread has been through electronic word of mouth -in other words social media. This autumn (or fall if you are that way inclined) the promotion has been all about the iPhone 6. Hell, even Android phones are nowhere to be seen on retailers websites it’s all ‘Bigger Than Bigger’ blah, blah. And, if you go into a store, it’s highly unlikely you’ll see anything other than large iPhone, Samsung and HTC stands, maybe even a Nokia. But no BlackBerry…
Reviews: It was VERY noticeable that within seconds of John Chen announcing the Passport’s launch journalists pushed the Publish button on many, MANY negative Passport reviews. Some even made videos showing how, in their (iPhonian) view, rubbish BlackBerry are as a company. Quite a few included the phrase ‘will the Passport save BlackBerry, I don’t think so.’
Availability: This is the big one. The traditional way to buy a phone is that you get your phone from a carrier. In the UK the phone has usually been ‘free’ and you pay for it over a contract, in other countries there’s a small payment up front followed by the cost of the phone built in. Carriers across the world have turned their back on BlackBerry, often, as the boss of Three UK said because they believed the lie that ‘BlackBerry are dead’. As a result, outside of Canada, it is pretty much impossible to buy a Passport from a carrier! In other words you can’t get one on a contract – there is no cheap route by which you can obtain one.
Pricing – As I alluded above, because you can’t get a carrier locked Passport, then it’s full price unlocked or nothing. That SHOULD have turned off enough people for this to be a tiny niche product hardly owned by anyone.
The Passport first run sold out in 10 hours. Just on Shop BlackBerry and Amazon in 5 countries. Customer reviews are stellar. Reviewers who held back have DRASTICALLY changed their tune as they see which way the wind is blowing. The second batch will disappear quickly. BlackBerry can’t get them out quickly enough.
This shouldn’t be happening.
Ask yourself this, as iPhonians will tell you, the iPhone 6 sold 10 million units in the first week.
The Passport sold 200,000 in 10 hours.
But which feels like the success story??
The carrier backed, fully subsidised, massively promoted device that is available worldwide?
Or the one that the PEOPLE want? The one that is selling out at full price wherever it can be found? With a waiting list as long as your arm?
A straight fight would have been interesting.
Inthe meantime, there’s only ONE thing that’s shifting these BlackBerry Passport’s.