BlackBerry to Focus on Midrange Smartphones


There was a time when BlackBerry conquered the mobile spectrum with its portfolio of ergonomic devices designed for both the enterprise and consumer market. However, as of late, the company has been seeing some declines in revenues, with only but a few handsets coming year after year.

Now, the Ontario-based firm has just announced that it is shifting its focus back to the mid-range spectrum after it had admitted that the BlackBerry Priv was too expensive even for its target users, which is the enterprise.

BlackBerry Chief Executive Officer John Chen told The National that the company is set on releasing two mid-range smartphones that are running on Android this year. It will also follow the same setup that the company went back when BB10 OS was announced.

There’s going to be one handset with a physical keyboard, and another with a full touchscreen display. However, Chen did not comment on the expected release dates of the said devices.

Recently, the company had announced that it managed to sell 600,000 devices during the three month course to the end of March. This fell bellow the analyst forecast, which was 850,000. There are also no official confirmation as to how many BlackBerry Privs the company has sold during the period.

“A lot of enterprise customers have said to us, ‘I want to buy your phone but $700 is a little too steep for me. I’m more interested in a $400 device’,” said Chen.

According to GSMArena, BlackBerry’s success stemmed from its midrange offerings in the last decade, including the Curve line-up. The Curve was seen in the hands of all kinds of people, from consumers to those in the enterprise. It became quite popular due to its suite of features such as the company’s ergonomic keyboard as well as BlackBerry’s security expertise.

“Since I started at the company [in November 2013] I’ve been saying I’ll make the handset business profitable. If I can’t make it profitable because the market won’t let me, then I’ll get out of the handset business,” said Chen.

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