BlackBerry Ltd Not Ruling Out Handset Running on BB10

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BlackBerry is not ruling out a new phone running its own operating system, even at a time when its hardware sales continue to decline and it is pushing ahead with new Android-based smartphones. Recently BlackBerry’s chief operating officer announced that they are not backing away from BB10, reports Bloomberg.

Bringing the best of both worlds

Last week, BlackBerry revealed it was discontinuing its keyboard-equipped Classic model. This move set off a whirlwind of articles in the tech blogosphere, where writers suggested that the Canadian firm was abandoning the keyboard and its proprietary operating system BB10. However, COO Marty Beard told Bloomberg in an interview on Monday that neither of those assertions is true.

“We are absolutely not backing away from BB10,” Beard said. “The company’s never said that we would not build another BB10 device.”

Beard said that investors should realize that BlackBerry’s Android software is just as unique as BB10. He added that the company is pulling all the top features from BB10 and adding them to its version of the Android operating system. The Canadian smartphone maker is creating a hybrid OS with the best of both worlds, said Beard.

“The market doesn’t seem to understand. It talks about them as very binary,” the executive said.

BlackBerry, which is still selling its Passport and Leap BB10 phones, says the final decision will be based on what customers want: Android-based phones or pure BB10 phones.

Will BlackBerry cut handsets completely?

Last year, the Canadian firm started making handsets running on the Android operating system because developers had stopped building applications for BB10. At that time, CEO John Chen said they would keep making BB10 for its security-conscious customers, but BlackBerry’s version of Android software would eventually be secure enough to replace the BB10 operating system if needed.

Beard declined to provide more details about the next handsets but said the announcement for BlackBerry’s next handset is “very, very imminent.” Also the next handset will be Android-based. The Waterloo-based smartphone maker has its annual Security Summit scheduled for July 19. Chen has already said that the Android-based Priv did not sell well as he was hoping.

The Waterloo-based company has at least two new phones in the works and is aiming to make the unit profitable by September. But according to some analysts, only cutting handsets completely would restore the market’s confidence in the company.

On Monday, BlackBerry shares closed up 0.45% at $6.69. Year to date, the stock is down more than 28%, while in the last year, it is down 13%.

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