Dubai – Blackberry will launch two mid-range Android handsets this year, chief executive John Chen has said. One will have a physical keyboard, the other a full touch-screen. Blackberry has no plans to develop handsets for its own operating system, BB10, but will continue to issue updates for existing devices.
Its sales fell by almost $200 million in the three months to the end of February. Chen said its first Android device, the Priv, had been too expensive.
“The fact that we came out with a high-end phone was probably not as wise as it should have been,” he told United Arab Emirates news website the National.
He said that a lot of enterprise customers have told them they would want to buy their phones, noting that at $700, the phones are a little too steep for many of them. “Many are interested in a $400 device.”
Chen had previously blamed the company’s poor sales figures on delays in negotiations with mobile networks about its Priv handset.
Last month, Facebook and its Whatsapp messaging service announced they were to stop supporting their Blackberry apps. Blackberry said it was “extremely disappointed” by the decision.
“If Blackberry is determined to remain in the hardware business, the decision to offer new devices with mid-range pricing is a sensible move,” said analyst Ben Wood from CCS Insight.
“We believe there is an opportunity with business users who don’t want the expense of giving iPhones to their employees and want a robust, affordable and secure Android smartphone tailored to business use.”