BlackBerry is planning on releasing two new phones that are powered by the popular open-source operating system of Android, and it might be the thing that can save the company, as it is possible that the BlackBerry brand and its signature devices are on their way out. This is what is known about BlackBerry's two new Android phones with their release date, specs, and price.
According to Tech2, BlackBerry is planning on launching two mid-range Android smartphones this year. This is what John Chen, CEO of Blackberry, reports, but there is no current time frame at this time. Chen does say that one phone will have a full touchscreen and another will have a QWERTY keyboard, and they are currently code-named Rome and the Hamburg.
That isn't about all that John Chen said, but he did talk of the price with very little detail on the specs. Chen did say that the price would be around $300 to $400, which means that they will be less high-end of a product as the Priv, which recently had a price slash from $649 from $699.
BlackBerry has sold about 600,000 units in the past three months, which was a lot lower than the 850,000 units that was predicted by analysts. According to The Verge, Chen calls the Priv "a misstep" and "the fact that we came out with a high end phone [as our first Android device] was probably not as wise as it should have been". He also stated that the high price was pretty steep, and most customers would rather purchase a $400 device versus a $700 one.
Hopes are pretty low for BlackBerry now. The Next Web reports that BlackBerry now wants to make affordable Android phones, but will anyone care? A similar headline on Forbes reads that BlackBerry is throwing a "Hail Mary Throw" with its Two New smartphones.
In the past, BlackBerry has targeted sales of up to 5 million phones per year to keep the company profitable, and so something needs to happen to make that work. Considering that the Samsung Galaxy S7 has shipped about 10 million devices since last February, BlackBerry faces some stiff competition.
So the question is, is BlackBerry dying? There was a time when BlackBerry devices meant something. At the time of their inception to the marketplace, the smartphone revolution didn't happen yet. During that time, they were the only devices that could allow for sending and receiving of emails with the QWERTY keyboard.
However, when the iPhone hit the market along with other phones that could do the same with just a touchscreen, BlackBerry's place in the mobile market seriously waned. Unless BlackBerry can put something on its current new devices that no other Android device has, then they will be pretty much ignored by the mobile community.