Just earlier this month, the tech industry was all abuzz with the news that Alicia Keys had been tapped by BlackBerry to serve as the company’s global creative director. But it seems the partnership hasn’t yielded the boost or excitement the company was hoping for.
On the surface it seems like it was looking up for the sagging BlackBerry. Besides the flurry of activity surrounding Keys’ appointment, the company debuted its new BlackBerry 10 smartphones, which are due in the U.S. in mid-March.
But reports Forbes, “sales have dramatically underperformed previous estimates, mainly because of supply constraints and limited support from carriers.” It appears the company is having trouble competing with a host of new Android and Window phones, and possibly a new iPhone expected in the first half of 2013, according to Canaccord’s analysts.”
The BlackBerry 10 phones are so bad that, as Forbes reveals, RIM has revised its sales estimates for the new Z10s downward. They’re now expected to move only 300,000 in the February quarter, down from a previous estimate of 1.75 million units.
Limited supply is one of a few problems BlackBerry is facing, capping the company’s capacity to sell BlackBerry 10 products, reports Forbes. But it isn’t alone in this problem. Apple faced this problem with several of their iPhone models, being unable to make enough phones to meet the demand.
While this has been a problem for BlackBerry in the past, with the new the Z10s and Q10s the demand is low, due in part to pricing. “BlackBerry’s new smartphones cost about the same as their major competitors Apple and Samsung’s competing models after taking into account carrier subsidies,” says Forbes.
Not only are consumers lukewarm to the new models, carriers also are unenthusiastic. According to the magazine, Sprint will only be launching the Q10, while T-Mobile will only commercialize the touch screen-only Z10. Verizon Wireless and AT&T, the two largest U.S. providers, will carry both models.
So what role is Alicia Keys meant to play in all of this? Marketing had better get on this fast in order to leverage Keys’ popularity to generate some sort of something for the brand.