In a piece out today from TheNational, BlackBerry CEO, John Chen, admitted that the other fruit themed company will solely focus its efforts on Android devices.
“Mr. Chen said that while BlackBerry would continue to release updates for [BlackBerry 10 OS], there were no plans to launch new devices running the operating system.”
This would mean that the current BlackBerry 10 OS devices, the Classic, Passport, and the Leap will presumably be the last devices running the OS.
Further complicating the handset problem BlackBerry faces, Mr. Chen also told the paper that the price of the first ever BlackBerry running a version of Android, the Priv, was too expensive at the $700 price point.
“A lot of enterprise customers have said to us, ‘I want to buy your phone but $700 is a little too steep for me. I’m more interested in a $400 device’.”
I really liked BlackBerry and had used a few of their devices, most notably, the BlackBerry Curve and Storm. (Yes, I was one of the few people who liked the ‘unique’ touchscreen on the BlackBerry Storm and Storm 2.) It is sad to watch a market leader essentially transition from a hardware/software company to a services company. (IBM sans their PCs anyone?) With only 600,000 devices having been sold last quarter, according to TheNational, it is hard to see a strategy that will make the handset unit of the company profitable over the long-haul.