BlackBerry CEO won’t commit to BB10 devices, hints at leaving handset market

BlackBerry logoBlackBerry is interesting again. The company has finally given in to the mobile OS duopoly and is gearing up to launch its first-ever Android device, the BlackBerry Priv. A change like this is huge for the company, and, naturally, there are a lot of questions about what an Android phone means for the future of BlackBerry. The company's CEO, John Chen, was recently interviewed at Vox's "Code Mobile" conference. There is no video of the interview yet, so all of our quotes come from The Verge's liveblog of the event.

Chen was, of course, asked about the future of BlackBerry and what the company's first Android phone means for the company. "Android in enterprise is a very underserved space," he said. "With our connection, our accounts, our knowhow, it has expanded our servable market. I love BB10 and I win in the very high-end there. But the very high-end is not big. In order to make money in the handset business, I need to expand that pie."

Saying that the switch to Android is about selling phones is also a bit of an admission that most of the public doesn't want a device with the BlackBerry OS. That's a pretty obvious thing to say about an operating system with a 0.3% market share but still good to hear from the CEO.

When asked if there would be new BlackBerry 10 devices "in a year or two from now," Chen was surprisingly non-committal: "Well that's going to be dictated by business choices," he said. That sounds to us like, if the Priv sells well, BlackBerry would consider becoming a full-time Android shop.

Chen later added, "Sometime next year we have to make our device business profitable, otherwise I have to rethink what I do there. My job is to make sure the value of the company is protected and increases. We do what makes sense to serve the customer." Chen then brought up the hypothetical of leaving the smartphone hardware business entirely: "Even if I'm not in the handset business, getting into providing security for Android lets us provide solutions via software."

BlackBerry CEO won’t commit to BB10 devices, hints at leaving handset market

With both a complete switch to Android and an exit from hardware altogether floated in this interview, Chen seems ready to do whatever it takes to stop his company from becoming the next Nokia. BlackBerry seemed to have waited until the last possible moment to try to turn things around with Android, but the Priv seems like an interesting, even exciting phone from the beleaguered company.

Chen said BlackBerry will be bringing the company's trademark focus on security to Android, as well. "We've created a patching mechanism that will address attacks a lot quicker than others to protect the customer," Chen said. "There are many safeguards and locks in place, but it's not foolproof 100%, nobody can say that. We're probably the same level as Samsung's Knox. The only other commercial phone that can say they have the same or better than us is maybe the BlackPhone."

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Android, BlackBerry, mobile phones, smartphones

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Resty#10 0
Investment industry does someohw like entertainment industry. For actor / actress or singer, bad news is better than no news.In the investment industry, there are too many people with positive or neutral views. If one keeps on being negative, one can differentiate himself/herself from others.I think his employer shares the same views in order to get more popularity.Redmonkey
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