BlackBerry to Launch Android Smartphones in Mid-range Segment


You must be wondering what Blackberry is now up to. Well Blackberry is planning to launch two new smartphones in the mid-range segment. One smartphone will have a physical keyboard while the other one will sport a full touchscreen and both devices will run on Android.

According to the company’s chief executive, John Chen, BlackBerry plans to launch two mid-range Android handsets this year, and it is yet to come to news as when these new handsets would go on sale. BlackBerry admitted that its recent flagship Android device, the BlackBerry Priv, was priced too high for enterprise customers.John Chen admitted that the slider phone was “was too high-end a product,” priced at the US $699. “…A lot of enterprise customers have said to us: ‘I want to buy your phone, but $700 is a little too steep for me. I’m more interested in a $400 device.’” (Recently, The Priv’s price was reduced to $649.),” he said.

With disappointing sales number and high price tag for Blackberry Priv,  the sales of the device plummeted to just 600,000 units last quarter, the company has now realised how to make it more reachable for the market.

In a further blow to the company, Facebook and WhatsApp also had announced in March that they would drop support for their apps on BlackBerry’s BB10 operating system, which is on BlackBerry’s Passport, Classic and Leap devices.

Mr Chen said that while BlackBerry would continue to release updates for BB10, there were no plans to launch new devices running the operating system.

Mr Chen said that BlackBerry’s handset division had shown some signs of improvement during the last quarter, with losses halving compared with the previous quarter, but said that the company would exit the segment if it could not achieve profitability.

BlackBerry intends to launch two mid-range smartphones rumoured code-named as the Rome and the Hamburg. Few blurry images of the two new BlackBerry device were found on BlackBerry Central and are supposed to be renders, as the pictures don’t reveal much. Irrespective of looks of the devices, these two smartphones would be Chen’s last attempt to keep the firm as a hardware company.

Previously, he targeted a sale of 5 million phones per year which would keep the unit profitable, and if he fails to achieve the goal, he would be left with no other option other than to abandon the effort.