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BlackBerry Phones Need More Quality Apps: Chen

BlackBerry CEO John Chen believes the company’s handsets need more apps but did not comment on whether the upcoming handsets will run on Android or not, says a report from Re/code. Chen also talked of the other things that BlackBerry is working on to grow its revenues.

Chen not happy with apps

Several recent leaks of BlackBerry’s upcoming handset clearly show a homepage with several standard Google Android apps. However, Chen hints that it’s much more than just loading Android onto a BlackBerry phone.

“It is a little more complex, which is why it is not done,” Chen said during a talk in Palo Alto, Calif.

Chen further talked about the below-expectations performance of the recent handsets from the Canadian firm and cited the lack of apps as a primary reason for the failure. He further said that though the company has included Amazon’s Android App Store on its devices, there still are not enough apps. Noting that the apps on BlackBerry devices are not competitive with those offered on Google Play and the iTunes store, Chen said the company is working hard on improving this aspect.

BlackBerry may exit handset business

Chen said he wants the company to continue with the handset business but stressed that he cannot see the company losing money indefinitely. “If I can’t make money on the phone, I will be out of that telephone handset business,” Chen said. “There is a timeline; I won’t tell you when.”

The BlackBerry CEO has plans of increasing the company’s revenue from patent licensing, but he emphasized not becoming a patent troll as it is distasteful for him as an engineer. Chen added that people should be encouraged to use BlackBerry’s technology and should also be willing to pay for it. He pointed towards a recent deal with Cisco under which the companies have access to each other’s patents, and BlackBerry is also making revenue from it.

Moving beyond smartphones, BlackBerry is making use of its servers for managing handsets from other brands. It also entered into a deal with Samsung for securing the Korean company’s phones for businesses.

On Monday, BlackBerry shares closed up almost 3%. Year to date, the stock is down by over 31%, while in the last year, shares are down by over 25%.