BlackBerry thinks the high-end phone market has gone soft, so it's now dropping down a peg by zeroing in on the mid-range phone market.
The National spoke to the CEO of BlackBerry, John Chen, and claimed BlackBerry plans to launch two new Android phones this year, even though it just launched the Priv Android phone at the end of 2015. The company is eager to offer more devices because the Priv, which launched with a $700 price tag (now $650), was probably too high-end and expensive for people to consider.
“The fact that we came out with a high-end phone [as our first Android device] was probably not as wise as it should have been," Chen told The National, while declining to say how many Privs were sold in the last quarter. “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’."
BlackBerry sold 600,000 handsets during the quarter ending in March. It is unknown how many of those were Privs, but analysts forecasted it would move 850,000 handsets. Eager to meet expectations, Chen told ETTelcom.com he "truly" believes BlackBerry can make money in handsets and admitted he'd get out of the handset biz if the market won't let him make it profitable.
Before that ever happens, however, BlackBerry will shift to the mid-range this year to improve its sales. The two phones it is planning will run Android, as the company is moving away from making BB10-powered handsets, and we know one of the phones will have a hardware keyboard while the other will be a full-touchscreen device. You can expect these devices to cost up to $400 each.
We don't yet know about other features nor when the phones will retail.