BlackBerry boss mulls mid-range Androids

Punters punt pricey Priv so BlackBerry heads for the ~$400 price point

BlackBerry's CEO has used an interview with United Arab Emirates outlet The National to announce plans to move the troubled mobe-maker's Android efforts downscale.

Last year, the company launched into the Android market with the high-end Priv, which garnered good reviews.

Sales, however, were another matter, and the Priv only landed in about 600,000 customers' pockets in the final quarter of financial year 2016.

Chen said as much to The National, calling the Priv “too high end” and adding that launching into the Android market at the top end was “probably not as wise as it might have been”.

Enterprise customers, he said, are asking for a US$400 mobe rather than the Priv's $700 price tag, so that's the market the company has in mind.

Getting an enterprise device – with BlackBerry's security intact – down to $400 will be difficult, and Chen left open the option of leaving the hardware business entirely.

Mr Chen said that BlackBerry’s handset division had shown some signs of improvement during the last quarter, with losses halving compared with the previous quarter, but said that the company would exit the segment if it could not achieve profitability.

“I love our handset business, but we need to make money”, he told The National.

He also pronounced formal last rites over the company's BlackBerry 10 operating system: it will continue to receive updates, but there won't be any new BB10-based devices. ®

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