Two of the most surprising brands entering the Android marketplace these last 2-3 years has to be BlackBerry and Nokia. Nokia used to be a stable cellular phone brand back in the day and BlackBerry cemented its position before smartphones even became mainstream. Each of these brands have been revived under two different strategies and each of them have had different levels of success.
We’ll start with the BlackBerry brand as the Priv hit the market before an HMD Global smartphone under the Nokia brand name went up for sale. At the time, BlackBerry was still focusing on BlackBerry 10 and most Android smartphones used a virtual keyboard rather than a physical one that BlackBerry is known for. The company launched the Priv as their first Android smartphone, and it seems like sales were good enough to justify further efforts.
BlackBerry ended up licensing out its brand name to TCL (and other companies) for devices they wanted to sell. This ended up taking BlackBerry out of the smartphone hardware business so they could focus on what they were more passionate about—enterprise software. The DTEK50 and DTEK60 hardware were made by TCL while still letting BlackBerry handle the software side of things.
Nokia followed a similar but somewhat different strategy when they licensed their name out to a company called HMD Global. They have released a handful of devices since this partnership was announced and so far they have been really well received by the community. OTA updates with security patches and major version updates are even rolling out to Nokia devices before some of the bigger smartphone OEMs (such as Samsung, LG, and HTC) can get their flagships updated.
While both Nokia and BlackBerry have incredible brand-recognition, we’re seeing these two brands having different levels us success in 2017 with BlackBerry stagnating and Nokia doing rather well for themselves. Data from the IDC shows that BlackBerry was only able to sell 850,000 units during the entirety of 2017 while HMD Global managed to sell 4.4 million devices during the 4th quarter of 2017 alone.