CEO of BlackBerry John Chen recently sat down with The National for an interview, and during this session, Chen stated that the company will be releasing two new Android-powered mid-range smartphones this year. These phones will precede the pretty mediocre PRIV (the company’s first try at an Android device) which counted for less than 600,000 cell phone units BlackBerry sold last quarter. Chen stated in the interview that the PRIV “was too high-end a product” even for the enterprise market. So obviously, he hopes that the company will have better luck with mid-range devices.
Chen did mention some features that each phone will have during the interview. First, the devices are likely to run Android Marshmallow, something that’s currently on it’s way to the PRIV. Second, one device will feature a physical keyboard (which is what makes BlackBerry BlackBerry) while also possibly ditching the PRIV’s slider design. Third, the second device will feature a full touchscreen with no physical keyboard, so forget spending a full two minutes texting your friend “New phone, who dis” on your new BlackBerry if this phone’s your choice. And fourth, Chen said that a $400 price point would come off more appealing to enterprise customers. Of course, some sacrifices will have to be made in order to get a phone down to that price, so it’ll be interesting to see exactly what the company strips from the handset(s).
I honestly can’t believe BlackBerry is gonna try an Android-powered device again. It’s even worse because it’s two devices this time around. The reason I say this is because recently, Chen stated that if they don’t reach a profit this year hardware-wise, they’re gonna have to exit that market and focus solely on software. If BlackBerry wants to score a win with their next devices, they’re gonna have to add some kind of a feature that will catch the eye of potential customers and ultimately lead to them purchasing a unit. But if they don’t and keep a similar “meh” factor like with the PRIV, you can say “goodbye” to BlackBerry hardware.