BlackBerry CEO John Chen told reporters at a roundtable discussion at the Waterloo, Ont. headquarters on Wednesday that the company is in the middle of testing a smartphone prototype. It was in the works already when the Canadian firm decided to end its hardware development business to focus on the software business, notes the Financial Post.

BlackBerry
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BlackBerry CEO testing a new handset

Chen told the reporters, “The one with the keyboard, I guess it’s kind of resting in my office… I’m testing it right now.”

Chen, however, refused to reveal more details about the mysterious handset. He did not tell when or if they are intending to launch the phone in the market.

“We’re not making any announcement of whether there is one or isn’t one. There exists in this world one,” the CEO said.

Before telling that some carriers have already seen the handset, Chen said it is standard for BlackBerry personnel to test devices before they go up for sale. The Waterloo-based company is expecting to make a decision on the launch of this device once they come up with a business case.

“We’ll go from there, we’ll make a decision from there,” he said.

Chen was certain that the company will complete its promise to stop designing phones. However, he was not very forthcoming when answering questions on the future of the device, notes the Financial Post.

“I guess if I decided to go ahead with the phone, then that might be the last BlackBerry-designed phone in terms of hardware,” he said. “If I decide not to go forward with the phone, then you might have seen the last BlackBerry-designed phone (the Priv).” The Priv, which was launched in November last year, got great reviews but did not sell well due to its high price.

DTEK50’s successor on the way?

In June, when the Canadian firm reported its financial results, Chen indicated that they had at least two mid- to high-range devices in development. The company unveiled the Android-powered DTEK50 in July, a modified version of a smartphone built by China’s TCL Corporation.

Last week, information regarding the DTEK50’s successor was posted on BlackBerry’s website accidentally. Shortly after news sites noticed the specifications for a new phone code-named the DTEK60, the Canadian firm took down the page marked as “do not publish.” Also the U.S. Federal Communications Commission approved a new BlackBerry device last Friday.

On Thursday, BlackBerry shares closed down 4.68% at $7.94. Year to date, the stock is down more than 15%, while in the last year, it is down more than 22%.