John Chen, the executive chairman and CEO of BlackBerry hinted the possibility that the company could launch another Android smartphone next year depending on the success of the Priv strategy. Priv is the BlackBerry’s first Android smartphone.
During a recent interview with Bloomberg, Mr. Chen said the respond to BlackBerry’s Priv strategy has been encouraging so far since its launching on November 6. According to him, the company is planning to expand the availability of Priv from four countries to 31 countries in the next 2-3 months.
BlackBerry sold 700,000 devices in the previous quarter, the lowest number since 2007. However, Mr. Chen said he is not looking at volume but on the margin. Priv costs $699 in the United States, in-line with the high-end Android devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S6.
When asked if BlackBerry will consider making a cheaper Android phone, Mr. Chen said, “Depends on the Priv. I guess in the next three months, four months, the results will tell us if this is a good strategy, or the strategy is to combine the best of BlackBerry with the best of Android. If that is what’s well received in the market and there’s a good chance of that, then yes.”
Mr. Chen added that BlackBerry will probably still very much focus on the high-end smartphones or a little bit on a mid-range smartphone coming out next year.
In a blog post, the Canadian technology company said the positive reviews for Priv created a strong demand for its first Android smartphone. The company’s our manufacturing partners are working hard to put a Priv in the hands of everyone who wants to buy the device. Carriers and retailers are now using sales materials, end user handouts and visual materials to show off the features and specifications of the device.
BlackBerry supposed second Android smartphone codenamed Vienna
Last month, the images of a supposed second Android smartphone from BlackBerry were leaked, and believed to be codenamed “Vienna.”
There were also speculations that the Canadian technology company is testing Samsung’s Exynos chips on its devices. The BlackBerry smartphone codenamed STV100-1 with Samsung’s octa-core 7420 processor 2.1GHz was seen in GFXBench listing, according to Gadgets 360.
During the Bloomberg interview, Mr. Chen said BlackBerry is interested in establishing more partnership with Samsung Electronics, but so much on the hardware side. He said, “Using their hardware, letting our software manage it for the KNOX devices. We are doing a lot together on that mostly in the market, meaning with the customer base.”
“Samsung is also a partner of good technology, which we recently acquired and so there are good things to be done there in the market together, but not exactly on the handset itself,” added Mr. Chen.
BlackBerry software for self-driving cars
During BlackBerry’s earnings call, Mr. Chen revealed that the company will be unveiling software for self-driving cars.
When asked by Bloomberg whether the company is considering a partnership with Apple, Google, or Tesla Motors, Mr. Chen said “absolutely, I love to do that.” According to him, BlackBerry already announced some partnerships over the last few weeks regarding its software strategy for self-driving cars, but the three big names were not yet included.
Mr. Chen emphasized that BlackBerry already worked with Google in several areas and he “loves to extend” that relationship. He also indicated that BlackBerry’s QNX technology works with Apple Car strategy as well as with Google. Furthermore, Chen said he also loves to be able to work with Tesla.
Mr. Chen emphasized that it is time for the Canadian technology company to take the next step into the next generation of automobile citing the fact that its software is currently integrated into 60 million cars.