You can now get up to $600 if you trade in your iPhone to switch to a BlackBerry Passport. The offer, lasting from Monday to Feb. 15, allows iPhone users to trade in their iPhone (from the 4S model onward) for up to $400 with an additional $200 topped up from BlackBerry.
The deal conditions are simple: Buy a BlackBerry Passport from BlackBerry directly or from Amazon, and once you send in a box label and order confirmation to BlackBerry, they’ll send you a prepaid Visa in the mail six weeks later. The amount you’ll be paid will mainly be determined by the make and condition of the iPhone, pending company inspection.
The Passport, a square smart phone with a 4.5-inch touchscreen display and keyboard, was released on Sept. 24 to a market that’s exceedingly skeptical of BlackBerry’s survival as a hardware seller.
This isn’t the first time that smart phone sellers have offered cash incentives to gain a customer base. T-Mobile offers a similar trade-in program with similar offerings. The company will pay for your termination fee and your old phone in exchange for a phone and contract on its networks, though it won’t limit your choice of phone in the way BlackBerry will. Competing carriers – AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon – offer similar trade-in programs, but they only pay out in gift cards limited to their own networks.
While BlackBerry’s offer might just be enough to recoup some of the costs of buying the phone, this last-ditch effort to get people to switch might be too little too late to save it from severely shrinking. BlackBerry’s market share has plummeted consistently throughout the past two years. The company is capturing less than 1 percent of the market share in the United States, with 0.5 percent worldwide market share, according to a report from the IDC.
The company’s recent efforts to reshuffle its market offerings weren’t met with open arms. The IDC reports that the company’s BB7 operating system still outpaced BB10 even though the new system has been out for over a year since the report was released. What does this mean? Either users are buying older phones, or current users aren’t upgrading. And no new purchases means no new profit for the company.
BlackBerry still enjoys some prominence in South Africa. According to a report from the South African Broadcasting Corporation, 37.9 percent of South Africans own BlackBerries as their Internet browsing device. The report also shows, however, that owners will prefer their next phone to be a Samsung, Apple, or even Nokia phone compared to a BlackBerry.
Overall, the market looks dismal for the BlackBerry Passport. While this trade-in program might just be right for a market niche looking to trade in an iPhone, it’s safe to say the company won’t capture minds and wallets like it may have years before.