BlackBerry pins hopes on an Android phone, Priv, as handset losses continue

26 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

BlackBerry confirms it will launch a new Android smartphone called Priv.

BlackBerry announced its fiscal second quarter financials on Friday, during which it revealed bigger than expected losses as its smartphone sales continue to falter, with the firm shifting just 0.8 million during the three-month period.BlackBerry has been teasing us with its plans for an Android-powered slider smartphone for months, promising in March that the device would be available sometime this year.

In its second quarter financial results, BlackBerry today said it “plans to launch a flagship handheld device that will run on the Android operating system with BlackBerry security.” Early rumors suggested it would be named the BlackBerry Venice, and would come with a BlackBerry-esque sliding keyboard (H/T evleaks). While the decision appeared to be an admission of defeat for the BlackBerry 10, the company said it was still proceeding with an update for its own software as well. The Canadian company stated in its Q2 report that it is “focused on making faster progress to achieve profitability in our handset business,” before finally confirming the launch of “Priv,” a name that was first rumored earlier this week. The Canadian smartphone company reported $51 million (U.S.) of net income for the three months ended Aug. 29, which was an improvement on the net loss of $207 million (U.S.) a year ago, and positive cash flow. We assume this is a play on the word ‘privacy’ given the company’s enterprise security credentials, but this is an assumption that our brain has overridden given that it’s also another word for ‘toilet’, sort of.

In today’s hectic world, where cyber threats are real for everyone, BlackBerry is making sure that our products invoke this mantra that your privacy is your privilege. BlackBerry CEO John Chen, said, “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. With BlackBerry already supporting Android devices though its enterprise-focused BES12 security platform, the company says the new Android smartphone will be tailored for the business community with security in mind. BlackBerry is no doubt hoping that the Priv, which has been the subject of online rumours for months, will persuade iOS and Android users to dump their current smartphones so that it can boost its current 0.3 share of the global smartphone market. However, with Android and iOS claiming 82.2 percent and 14.6 percent of the market respectively, it’s unlikely to find itself in the number one, or even number two, spot anytime soon.

What’s unique about our Android phone is that we are collaborating with Google to bring the best of BlackBerry security and productivity to the Android ecosystem. Recent leaks also point to an 18MP rear-facing camera, a 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM and a ‘near stock’ version of Android 5.0 Lollipop. Today’s confirmation comes as another former mobile phone giant is rumored to be working on new Android devices — photos purported to be of a new Nokia C1 Android phone emerged earlier this month.

There will be a camp that reacts to this news with surprise, while others will see how, over the past two years, we’ve laid the groundwork to make this possible. The remaining 43 percent came from monthly fees generated by older generations of BlackBerry phones for services on the company’s proprietary network. It began with honing in on our DNA of security, privacy and productivity, and then bringing that heritage and continued innovation to other operating systems. The sources both say hundreds of additional jobs have been quietly shed over the summer, affecting offices in Ottawa and BlackBerry headquarters in Waterloo, in particular. The company, which confirmed some job reductions earlier this summer but refused to disclose numbers, declined late Thursday to say how many jobs were part of more recent cuts.

BlackBerry said it had 6,225 full-time global employees as of Feb. 28, its most recent filing with regulators, but those employee numbers are likely much lower after various other waves of cuts throughout its international operations this year. And we are advancing our own platform, redefining the expectations of mobility in today’s age of risk and cybercrime so that we can serve customers even better. At the same time, I want to be clear: fans of BlackBerry’s workhorse BlackBerry 10 smartphones can continue to depend on us, and we appreciate their commitment. There is continued demand for our flagship BlackBerry 10 devices like BlackBerry Passport and Classic by consumers, enterprises and regulated industries.

Combined with BlackBerry’s support of Android for Work on our BES12 platform, the new device will offer best-in-class security for enterprise customers.

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