For BlackBerry, 2016 looks set to be “the year of Android phones.” That’s right, the company that saw its business decimated in the face of competition from Android (and iOS) devices has decided to put any development of new BB10 phones on the back burner, opting instead to follow up its recently released Priv handset with a couple of additional smartphones for Google’s mobile platform.
And this isn’t simple speculation. This is straight from the mouth of BlackBerry boss John Chen, who discussed the matter with Cnet this week.
The CEO declined to go into details about the new devices, and refused to offer any dates for when they might hit the market. However, it’s possible one of those smartphones is the rumored “Vienna” handset. Apparent press snaps of the phone reveal an always-present physical keyboard, a feature that distinguishes it from the Priv, which comes with a retractable one. To find out more about BlackBerry’s Vienna device, be sure to drop by DT’s dedicated page here.
For many, the mobile company’s switch to Android last year with the Priv was too little too late, but with sales described by Chen as “so far, so good,” BlackBerry evidently sees Android as the way forward as it looks to grab back users who’ve deserted it in recent years for rival, more popular platforms.
Giving hope to BlackBerry fans, as well as his employees and company shareholders, Chen insisted this week, “We can make money in devices, and I think we’re close.”
Things are certainly looking up for the Waterloo, Ontario company. It reported an 11.8 percent jump in revenue in its last reported quarter, marking the first time in two years since it had two consecutive quarters of increasing revenue.
During his most recent earnings call last month, Chen said his priority was to get BlackBerry “into a break-even position with the device business, because you really couldn’t do anything strategically with a business that continues to lose money,” adding, “We’re in that ballpark now.”
So what about BB10? BlackBerry isn’t about to ditch the platform, that’s for sure. And if it can make a go of its Android phones, we could even see some new BB10 devices somewhere down the road. But for this year it seems BlackBerry only has eyes for Android.