“BlackBerry plans to launch two mid-range Android handsets this year, one with a physical keyboard and one with a full touchscreen,” CEO John Chen said in an interview to The National during his visit to Abu Dhabi. He also admitted that the Priv “was too high-end a product”, with its target market of enterprise customers.
In another interview to Economic Times, during his visit to India, John Chen said:
India at one time was quite a big market for us. Over the years, things have changed. I am here to meet our people, partners, and the government. Also to see the market and come with a better idea and information about how we invest back into the market.
India is going to be a booming economy, especially the SME (small and medium enterprises) model, which is going to be big. All of the policies of the government are aimed at lifting people and providing more opportunities, which are mainly SME based.
We passed danger. We have a strategy, and are now putting people and infrastructure together to execute the strategy. We picked 10 countries right now, including India, to go beyond main markets such as US, Canada, UK and Germany where we have always been in. It needs patience, but we are committed.
The CEO also said that the company will launch new mid-range smartphones priced around $300-400 (Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 26,700 approx.), but he said he doubt that BlackBerry can compete on the low-end in this market.
These upcoming mid-range smartphones are rumored to be codenamed Hamburg (with full touch screen) and Rome (with a physical keyboard and a touchscreen) and are expected to launch in autumn and the end of 2016, respectively. Are you waiting for a mid-range Android smartphone from BlackBerry?