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April 12, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 11:28am

BlackBerry plans comeback with two Android phones

News: The company has no plans to develop handsets based on its own BlackBerry 10 operating system.

By CBR Staff Writer

BlackBerry will reportedly launch two mid-range Android devices this year, which will be cheaper than the Priv smartphone.

One device will feature a physical keyboard, the other a full touch-screen.

The company has no plans to develop handsets for its BlackBerry 10 operating system, but will continue to release updates for existing devices.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen told United Arab Emirates news website the National, "The fact that we came out with a high-end phone was probably not as wise as it should have been."

He said several enterprise customers have told the company that they would want to buy their phones, noting that at $700, the phones are a little too steep for many of them. They wopuld be, however, interested in a device priced around the $400 mark.

Chen blamed the expensive Priv phone in part for BlackBerry’s poor sales, which declined by about $200m in the three months to the end of February this year.

The company saw a net loss in Q4 of $487m, with revenues down 30% to $487m.

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Chen said that the BlackBerry’s handset division had shown some indications of improvement in the last quarter, with losses halving compared with the earlier quarter.

Chen, however, said that the company would consider moving solely to software only if hardware does not pick up.

Last September, he said that he wanted to make the company profitable within a year.

Chen had earlier blamed the company’s poor sales figures on delays in discussions with mobile networks on its Priv handset.

Earlier this year, Facebook and Whatsapp said they would stop supporting their BlackBerry apps. BlackBerry said it was extremely disappointed by the decision.

In February this year, BlackBerry cut close to 35% of its workforce working in its Waterloo, Canadian headquarters, with an additional 75 employees being cut in Florida.

According to a report from Mobilesyrup, the job cuts will impact around 1000 employees, with most of the jobs being cut from its BlackBerry 10 and Devices teams. Around 150 jobs will be impacted from its device team.


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