BlackBerry announced Friday it is releasing an Android phone, after financial reports revealed the company's second quarter 2016 losses were worse than expected. A flagship device, known only at this stage as the "Priv," is the first device revealed by the company that will run Android.
The news came alongside a disappointing set of quarterly financial results. Losses excluding some items were 13 cents per share, or $84 million, in the period ending August 29. Estimates placed losses around 9 cents per share.
"Today, I am confirming our plans to launch Priv, an Android device named after BlackBerry’s heritage and core mission of protecting our customers’ privacy," CEO John Chen said. "Priv combines the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform."
One analyst had called on BlackBerry to release an Android phone before the announcement. Daniel Chan from Scotia Capital said the company could save $266 million per year by scrapping BlackBerry 10 and switching to Android. While the platform is "technologically superior," it is also "the primary source of losses" for BlackBerry, Chan said.
BlackBerry 10, released in January 2013, was meant to be a revival of the BlackBerry platform, rewritten from the ground up. The 10.2.1 software update, released in January 2014, gave devices the ability to run Android apps for the first time. 10.3.1, released in February 2015, introduced support for the Amazon Appstore. Chen has said in previous statements that BlackBerry will not ditch its own platform, but with another step taken towards Android, the future of the BlackBerry OS could be in doubt.