BlackBerry is not going to be releasing a smartphone using its own operating system this year, according to comments made by CEO John Chen
. In an interview at CES, Chen advised that the mobile phone manufacturer will be releasing at least one new product this year, with the potential for another smartphone, but instead of running BlackBerry 10, new launches will instead be using Android as the operating system, potentially indicating a major change of strategy at the troubled device producer.
The revelation comes just two months after BlackBerry launched the Priv
, the company's first Android smartphone. Following a 60-day exclusivity period with AT&T in the United States, Chen notes the Priv could then be sold on Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. As for current sales, Chen told CNET
it's "so far, so good," and that he was taking a "cautiously optimistic view" of the device's prospects.
The CEO hopes the Android-based Priv will help make the company more visible, in an attempt to repair the ailing brand, though Chen did not reveal details of other devices coming out this year that could do the same. BlackBerry could regain good will from consumers migrating away to iOS and Android with these non-BlackBerry 10 devices, and though Chen suggests there could still be another BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the cards if the company's fortunes change enough, he notes it is too early to talk about such plans.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen
Depending on how well-received the Priv is, BlackBerry does have the potential option of dropping its mobile operating system entirely and pinning its hopes on another. It already has BBM apps
on most mobile platforms, along with the Experience Suite
for enterprise communication and productivity on iOS, Android, and Windows devices, so a switch in operating system is entirely possible.
Even so, BlackBerry 10 will apparently still be around for this year at least. BlackBerry is seeking national security certification for BlackBerry 10, something which would allow its current devices to be used in high-level government and corporate environments. If it does achieve that goal, BlackBerry would still have the issue of its earlier devices being covered, and not the Priv or other launches destined for this year, limiting the hardware the certification reaches.