BlackBerry set to launch two mid-range smartphones

BlackBerry is set to return its focus to the mid-range smartphone market after acknowledging that its most recent venture – the BlackBerry Priv – was too expensive for some of its customers. 

Two mid-range Android handsets will be launched later this year, one with the traditional Qwerty keyboard that characterises the brand and another with a full touchscreen. 

John Chen, chief executive officer of the company, told Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National that the Priv was too high-end, with some customers alienated by the USD 700 (AUD 950) price tag. 

"The fact that we came out with a high-end phone [as the first BlackBerry Android device] was probably not as wise as it should have been," he remarked. 

This comes in the wake of an announcement by the firm that it had sold just 600,000 handsets in the first quarter of 2016, which was well below the projected figure of 850,000. 

Another blow dealt to the company recently was that both Facebook and WhatsApp announced that they would be dropping support for their apps on BlackBerry's native BB10 mobile operating system (OS). 

Mr Chen said his company still plans on releasing regular updates for BB10, but does not expect to release any new devices on the OS. Instead, it is likely Android will be the ongoing focus. 

Despite these negative factors, Mr Chen said BlackBerry's handset division has shown some sign of improvement in the last quarter, with losses halved compared to the previous three-month period. 

He added that BlackBerry devices remain a unique proposition: "We're the only people who really secure Android, taking the security features of BlackBerry that everyone knows us for and [making] it more reachable for the market."

Written by Mazuma

Mazuma Mobile is Australia's most trusted mobile phone recycling service.

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