Android powered BlackBerry devices. We never thought we’d see those words uttered from anyone’s lips much less the CEO of BlackBerry. But since falling on hard times BlackBerry has turned to Android to be its possible savior and at the very least keep the company alive. BlackBerry introduced us to the BlackBerry Priv, a high end physical keyboard device running Android Lollipop and hopefully soon Marshmallow. While the Priv hasn’t really proven itself in the market, falling short of its 800,000 unit target last fourth quarter, BlackBerry isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.
If Blackberry is anything, they are persistent. BlackBerry CEO John Chen indeed confirms that the company will be launching two new Android powered BlackBerry devices in 2016 and these will be aimed at the mid-range market. The Priv was a test to see if high end smartphone buyers still had a need for a physical keyboard and now BlackBerry is going to see if the actual market might lay a tier lower in the mid-range market. Chen does admit that the $700 Priv probably wasn’t the device they should have made as their first Android powered device so a $400 device could make a huge difference.
Mr Chen admitted that the Priv “was too high-end a product”, with its target market of enterprise customers put off by the handset’s US$700 price tag. “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,” Mr Chen said during a visit to Abu Dhabi. “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’.”
Chen touted the security of BlackBerry as a main selling point for it’s Android powered BlackBerry devices saying the company is the only one who has properly secured Android. No word on what the phones will look like or specs for the devices. One would assume the target competition is the Nexus 5X and iPhone SE so we can probably expect similar powered devices from BlackBerry along with that physical keyboard.
What do you think of BlackBerry attempting one more run at an Android powered device? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.