The BlackBerry Priv might look like the company’s Hail Mary — swapping BB10 for Android with a physical keyboard — but its chief executive, John Chen, revealed more devices are in the pipeline before BlackBerry makes a decision on the hardware business.
In an interview with Fox Business News anchor Liz Claman, Chen said that “we have a range of products after [the Priv], which are actually quite exciting.” He didn’t go into further detail about the devices, but Chen said later in the interview the future will involve building on-top of Android’s ecosystem.
The term devices might include tablets and wearables, two markets where BlackBerry’s unique design could make a difference. The BlackBerry Playbook was the last tablet launched by the company in 2011, which failed to penetrate the mass market.
Chen made it clear in the interview that he wants to remain in the mobile business, saying he is “never going to give up” on phones. We assume he means both hardware and software, since earlier in the interview he said market performance of the Priv would impact future projects at BlackBerry. Past reports also suggest that if the BlackBerry Priv fails, the company might quit the hardware business.
The BlackBerry Priv is currently exclusively available on AT&T, but Chen said he would love to work with Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint in the future. Chen didn’t mention how long the BlackBerry Priv will remain an AT&T exclusive.
Most of the interview covered privacy and security, one of the key factors of the BlackBerry Priv. Chen said that it would be naive to say the phone is unhackable, but it is much safer than most of the Android devices on the market due to the company’s enterprise-level security.
BlackBerry once held over 70 percent of the mobile market, but the once unstoppable giant now sits at under one percent. Chen said that while he doubts BlackBerry will ever reach its peak market share, the Priv should be able to push the company above one percent.