Beleaguered handset maker BlackBerry is targeting iPhone users with an offer the company hopes they can’t refuse. A new trade-up program is aimed at convincing Apple smartphone owners to try the new BlackBerry Passport -- and the firm is offering up to $550 for the experiment.
Starting December 1, Apple iPhone users can choose a BlackBerry Passport and get up to $400 back on their iPhones, plus an additional $150 from BlackBerry. That offer is good through until February 13, 2015 in North America and is available to owners of the iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, 5S, and 6.
The BlackBerry Passport has a 4.5-inch square screen with a 1:1 aspect ratio, 1440x1440 pixel (453 dpi) HD display and Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The device totes the BlackBerry 10.3 operating system, with features like BlackBerry Assistant, BlackBerry Blend and Amazon Appstore. “The BlackBerry Passport was created to drive productivity and to break through the sea of rectangular-screen, all-touch devices,” said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO at BlackBerry.
A Risk-Free Experience
We caught up with Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics, to get his take on the BlackBerry promotion. He told us he doesn’t think the company will get too many takers on its potentially costly promotion.
“BlackBerry’s problem is that it has dropped out of the consideration mix. People don’t even talk about them anymore. People don’t consider them a viable option,” Entner said. “BlackBerry needs to get devices in the hands of average consumers who will hopefully rave about the device and get people excited about it again. BlackBerry basically wants to make buying its device a risk-free experience.”
Still, Entner is not holding his breath on BlackBerry’s behalf. Most consumers are still buying Samsung and Apple devices. Entner said that’s because these two companies have successfully captured the consumer’s imagination even in the presence of better devices.
Killing the Opposition
“For a while the Nokia devices were the best product out there. The HTC One was the absolute best device on the market for a while,” Entner said. “Both devices got completely shunned by consumers, who just bought an Apple or a Samsung device. You have to admire those two companies for terrific marketing. They completely killed the opposition.”
Logic would seem to defy consumers picking an inferior product and feeling good about it. But Entner said that’s the power of marketing -- and that’s where other device manufacturers have fallen short to Samsung’s and Apple’s efforts.
“Blackberry had for a while poor products on top of poor marketing, which usually kills you and it almost did,” Entner said. “Now they are trying to get the word of mouth going again.”