TCL aims to claw back BlackBerry market share

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TCL’s sole focus on hardware can help BlackBerry brand regain market share

TCL Communication has claimed it can help BlackBerry reclaim some of its former market share in the handset space.

This was the claim made by TCL Communications vice president of partnerships and global accounts Erik Vallet (pictured) shortly after the BlackBerry KEYone was launched.

It was the first large scale handset event at Mobile World Congress (MWC) and marked the first major BlackBerry device launched under the TCL.

One major feature of the KEYone device includes the classic QWERTY keyboard BlackBerry devices are well known for on smartphones such as the Bold and Curve.

TCL Communication acquired the rights to manufacture smartphones under the BlackBerry name in December for an undisclosed fee, just two months after the Canadian handset maker ceased all internal production.

New device launch

Pricing for the device starts from £499 and it will be available from April, with Carphone Warehouse confirmed as a stockist.

It comes after BlackBerry announced Q3 revenues for the three months ending August 31 plunged by nearly a third from a year ago to £256 million.

Software and services made up £119 million of this overall figure, whilst hardware only contributed £80 million. The former smartphone giant has seen shipments plummet from 52 million in 2011 to just seven million in 2015.

Vallett claimed TCL’s sole focus on hardware can help the BlackBerry brand regain marketshare.

“BlackBerry’s latest focus on software partly contributed to its more recent drop in the hardware business.

Keyboard demand

“We’re a manufacturer who solely focuses on hardware. Our own internal research shows that customers, both enterprise and consumer professionals, want the keyboard. Older BlackBerry devices lacked the Android operating system and access to major apps, which many consumers want.

“The new device has that. The landscape has obviously changed with Apple and Samsung being the leaders. It’s too early to say how much exactly, but I’m sure the new device can help us gain back some market share.”

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