BlackBerry to release two new Android smartphones


BlackBerry will release two new Android smartphones this year, the company's chief executive has said.

In an interview with the Abu Dhabi news website The National, John Chen also said that BlackBerry's first Android device, the Priv, was a miscalculation and "too high-end a product".

"A lot of enterprise customers have said to us, 'I want to buy your phone, but 700 US dollars (£490) is a little too steep for me'," he said. 

Instead Mr Chen suggested that consumers were now more interested in mid-range smartphones that are priced at around 400 dollars (£280).  

The launch of the Priv, BlackBerry's first smartphone to branch out from their own operating system and instead work on Google's Android, was designed to help boost sales that have fallen dramatically in recent years.

Instead, sales continued to slow, dropping to 600,000 units in the last quarter - down a further 100,000 on the previous quarter.

Software continues to be a profitable area for BlackBerry, with the company forecasting 30% growth in the coming year. 

However, BlackBerry will continue to create hardware that will run on Android, with Mr Chen announcing that another phone with a physical keyboard - similar to the Priv - as well as a touchscreen device are both to be released this year, though no release dates have yet been confirmed. 

BlackBerry has struggled to maintain a central position in the smartphone hardware business in the wake of large growth by Apple, Samsung and others in recent years.

Last month, both Facebook and WhatsApp also confirmed they will stop to offer support for BlackBerry versions of their apps.