Blackberry chief executive John Chen has warned that the brand will vanish from the mobile phone handset market if it fails to increase its smartphones slaes six fold.
Speaking at the Code Mobile conference in California yesterday Chen stated that Blackberry must sell 5 million phones per year in order to make the business profitable and if it failed to do so it would exit the handset business altogether.
The target might not be ambitious in relation to the kind of sales which Apple and Samsung make each year however considering Blackberry only sold 800,000 phones in the last financial year the target is massively ambitious for the struggling Canadian company.
Chen unveiled the targets in an interview with The Verge ahead of the release of the new Blackberry Priv, the success of which looks likely to decide the fate of the business.
In an attempt to appeal to a wider audience which has grown accustomed to either Apple or Android smartphones, the Priv will run Android software rather than its own BlackBerry's BB10. The Priv will come with Blackberry’s security technology built-in though, something which it has invested heavily in bolstering over the last two years as it looks to assert its strengths away from those which Apple and Samsung’s are renowned for.
The Priv is scheduled for release at the end of the year and aims to reboot BlackBerry hardware by offering the full range of Android apps along with enterprise-ready privacy features. The name of the device is itself designed to promote the security credentials of the slider-keyboard smartphone. Blackberry says it is the most secure device possible and with largely positive early reviews it has put itself in the best possible position to strive for the ambitious targets set out by Chan.