Blackberry to launch Two Mid-Range Android Devices, Plans to Abandon BlackBerry 10 OS

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In 2015, Blackberry announced they were set to launch their first android device called the Blackberry Priv. The Priv was set to retail at $699, making it a high end device aimed at competing with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+, iPhone 6S Plus and other high end devices. Blackberry released its Q4 2016 numbers last week, where the company announced a loss of of $238 million despite reporting a profit in the same period a year earlier. In the earnings call, the company stated it had sold only 600,000 devices in the last quarter.

The 600,000 devices sold fell short of an 850,000 devices target which the company and analysts set for the quarter.  The loss was according to Blackberry CEO John Chen attributed to distribution issues as contract negotiations took longer than planned with certain major carriers, including Verizon. In an interview with Abu Dhabi’s The National, Chen also admitted the high price of the devices discouraged alot of users from snapping up the device.

In the earnings call,  John Chen also said the company will look towards making mid-range devices with a focus on security as they feel the high end market segment is saturated. Chen told The National, Blackberry wants to launch the two mid range devices running on Android. Chen further said they did not plan to launch new devices running on Blackberry 10 but will continue supporting the platform with updates.  The two devices are code named Rome and Hamburg with one fully touch screen and the other having a merge of the two.

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