BlackBerry’s first Android-based device, the Priv, seems to be doing better than the previously released BB 10 devices. This has left BB10 device users apprehensive that the Canadian firm will eventually abandon the platform. However, CEO John Chen reassured them that nothing like that is going to happen and that their smartphone platform is “far from dead.”
BlackBerry 10.3.3 soon
In a recent blog post, Chen said that though BlackBerry had all its focus on discussing self-driving cars, global carrier support for PRIV and consumer healthcare apps at CES 2016, shifting energy towards all these exciting opportunities does not mean that the BB10 operating system “is dead? Far from it.”
BlackBerry already has plans to release security and privacy enhancements for its BB10 customers in 2016. Version 10.3.3 is said to be certified for NIAP (national information assurance partnership) compliance and will be available to the Passport, Classic and other BB10 device owners. NIAP compliance means the version has cleared the “strictest” government-grade security tests. Chen also said that the company plans to release version 10.3.4 sometime later in the year, which will come with even more security improvements.
He did not add much detail in his blog post but said, “While we continue to invest in BlackBerry 10 in 2016, we will also develop another Android-based phone. We’ll share more details about our roadmap when we’re ready.”
Second Android phone in the works
Chen revealed at CES that the Priv will no longer remain exclusive to AT&T in the U.S. and will also be available via T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon. In 2016, BlackBerry might release two phones running on Google’s Android OS, according to recent reports.
Last month, Chen for the first time hinted at the company’s plan of a second Android phone. He hinted that the company will target the mid-range segment with its next Android smartphone but stressed that it will have more of its focus towards the high-end. Apart from the phone business, Chen also discussed the Canadian firm’s new QNX-based self-driving car software.
On Monday, BlackBerry shares closed down 2.53% at $7.51. Year to date, the stock is down by over 19%, while in the last month, it is down by over 2%. The stock has a 52-week high of $12.63 and a 52-week low of $5.96.