BlackBerry plans to launch two mid-range Android phones this year, says CEO

In an interview with the Middle Eastern site The National, BlackBerry CEO John Chen detailed the company's plans for the future. If you haven't been following along, BlackBerry is now an Android OEM, having launched the BlackBerry Priv at the end of 2015. The Priv was $700, a price point Chen admitted "was probably not as wise as it should have been." Now the company is going to try a pair of "mid-range" Android devices.

Chen told The National that "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.'" The report says BlackBerry plans "to launch two mid-range Android handsets this year, one with a physical keyboard and one with a full touchscreen."

Chen's comments line up perfectly with a very blurry image that appeared last week on the BBM channel of BlackBerry Central founder Dylan Habkirk. Pictured are prototypes of the "BlackBerry Hamburg" and the "BlackBerry Rome," both of which are described as "mid-range" devices, with "two new hardware features that haven't been on a BlackBerry before." Habkirk later shared a BlackBerry patent on a fingerprint reader.

BlackBerry has a lot riding on the success of its Android devices. In his interview with The National, Chen stated, “If I can’t make it profitable because the market won’t let me, then I’ll get out of the handset business. I love our handset business, but we need to make money."

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