BlackBerry CEO, John Chen, believes that a new BB10 based smartphone will only appear based on “business choice.” Which is about as evasive as one can get when asked about the possibility of a new device within the next year or two.
The comments came during an interview with Vox Media, where Chen spoke about the massive change that comes with building an Android device. “Android in enterprise is a very underserved space,” he said; and followed the statement by saying that he loves BB10 in the high-end enterprise space, but that he also needs to expand BlackBerry’s market in order to make money.
Chen believes that the upcoming BlackBerry Priv, which apparently stands for Privacy or Privilege, solves the problems that have been plaguing BlackBerry as a company. That is the ability to accommodate more users, and also increase the number of available apps. Admittedly, it will be easier to market an Android based phone; but it also means walking into an extremely saturated market that is currently dominated by Samsung at the top and cheap Chinese brands at the bottom.
The strength of the Priv will lie in BlackBerry’s ability to provide security. “We want to bring the BlackBerry security knowhow to Android,” he said, which also claiming that the Priv will be the one of the most secure Android phone on the market; coming second to the Blackphone.
While Chen was evasive about new BB10 devices, there are still two known releases to be coming down the road. This is perhaps an indication that the company is waiting to see how the Priv performs before making its next move.
It is difficult to say if BlackBerry will be able to compete in the high-end Android market. The Priv brings some interesting design ideas back to smartphones, and the extra security aspect will matter to those who are concerned with the large number of vulnerabilities that have been discovered in the Android OS. Whether security is big enough a feature to drive people to switch is doubtful, but that just puts the entire future of BlackBerry as a hardware maker in question.