BlackBerry to Launch Android Smartphone

26 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

BlackBerry Plans Android Device as Loss Exceeds Expectations.

In its second quarter financial results, BlackBerry said it “plans to launch a flagship handheld device that will run on the Android operating system with BlackBerry security.” Originally rumored to be called the BlackBerry Venice, sporting a BlackBerry-esque sliding keyboard (H/T evleaks), the Canadian company stated in its Q2 report that it is “focused on making faster progress to achieve profitability in our handset business,” before confirming the launch of “Priv,” a name that was first rumored earlier this week.

CEO John Chen has vowed to sharply increase revenue from mobile device management software and from secure enterprise server licensing fees to make up for plunging contributions from handset sales. 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. Device revenue fell 52 percent to $201 million, as the company shipped the fewest number of smartphones since 2007, according to data gathered by Bloomberg.

The Waterloo, Ont.-based company’s fortunes have plunged amid competitive onslaughts in hardware from Apple and Samsung, and overall revenue has been tumbling for more than two years. However, the company still had enough cash to purchase Good Technology earlier this month for $425 million, and said it increased its cash balance by $37 million during the quarter. While BlackBerry is seen posting a money-losing quarter, it is still expected to report more than $1.766 billion in net cash after debt, bolstered by one-time items and disciplined spending control.

BlackBerry has said it expects its acquisition of secure mobile platform company Good Technology to add $160 million to fiscal 2016 software sales, despite a short-term drag on earnings reflecting the $425 million purchase price. You’ll get to keep your current user name (as long as it doesn’t contain invalid characters, in which case you’ll have to go through a few extra steps to make the transfer), and all your old comments will eventually (not immediately) migrate with you. Chen has outsourced some manufacturing and continues to pare jobs as he seeks to break even on hardware, which he calls a necessary platform for building software sales. Chen has been guarded about reports that BlackBerry is building a phone using Google’s Android open-source operating system, which could be fortified with BlackBerry security features. Some analysts say Android would broaden Blackberry’s hardware reach, while others suggest it would undermine the company’s’ reputation for secure mobile solutions.

Chen has said organic growth is not sufficient to meet the company’s software revenue target and has acquired smaller companies with a focus on boosting mobile security. The Good Technology deal is not expected to close until the third quarter, but Chen could highlight revenue brought in by other acquired enterprises, such as Secusmart and WatchDox, and from long-term division QNX, which provides auto infotainment systems.

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