Last year, BlackBerry took a huge risk by ditching its own OS, known for security and privacy, in favor of Google’s Android. The BlackBerry Priv, with a slider-physical-QWERTY keyboard, garnered many favorable reviews on its debut. However, the sales figures have reportedly been disappointing so far.
It’s a known fact that BlackBerry was banking on Priv to turn the company around. Even with lower-than-expected sales, the Canadian tech giant is not giving up on the Android OS. BlackBerry CEO John Chen recently confirmed that two Android handsets are under development and they are mid-range devices, unlike the high-end Priv.
According to UAE-based The National, Chen reportedly admitted that the price of Priv put off enterprise customers. “The fact that we came out with a high end phone [as the first Android handset] was probably not as wise as it should have been,” he added further.
However, Chen was happy to admit that BlackBerry’s idea of securing Android handsets — the OS is known for its vulnerabilities — is something that appealed to enterprise consumers. The risk apparently paid off in regaining trust from the company’s core target audience.
“We’re the only people who really secure Android, taking the security features of BlackBerry that everyone knows us for and make it more reachable for the market," Chen added.
BlackBerry Priv debuted at $699 in the U.S. last year. At the time, not all tech enthusiasts were impressed with the idea of bringing the retro physical keyboard back to smartphones, even with Android OS onboard.
Following the release of new devices with top-of-the-shelf configurations, such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5, BlackBerry recently cut the price of Priv by $50 permanently.
Speaking of the new devices, Chen reportedly said that one of the two upcoming Android devices will feature a keyboard, while the other will be a touchscreen device. The handsets are expected to be priced in the $300-$400 range, according to Android Headlines.
Apart from the dwindling sales, BlackBerry also faces some other issues as well. Recently, Facebook and WhatsApp decided to stop supporting apps specific to BlackBerry’s BB10 operating system. The OS powers BlackBerry’s square-design clad Passport, Classic and Leap.