BlackBerry launched its first smartphone running Android in 2015. This year the company plans to launch another one, or possibly two. But there’s one thing you shouldn’t expect to see from BlackBerry in 2016: any new phones running the company’s own BlackBerry 10 operating system.
In an interview with CNET, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said that the company only plans to launch Android phones this year.
BlackBerry isn’t quite putting all its eggs in one basket. Existing phones that run BB10 software will continue to be supported, and BlackBerry hasn’t ruled out launching new BlackBerry phones sometime in the future.
But the company whose products were once practically synonymous with “smartphone,” has lost a lot of market share in the past few years, as competitors including Apple, Samsung, LG, and HTC have picked up steam.
BlackBerry phones with Android software allow customers to access the million+ apps available for the Android ecosystem. Meanwhile, BlackBerry has ported some of its core apps and services to the platform. And the first Android phone from the company had a feature that’s hard to find on other high-end Android smartphones: a physical keyboard.
It’s not clear whether the phones BlackBerry plans to release will have keyboards. But they’ll almost certainly have BlackBerry’s software for security, communications, search, and other functions loaded up. Whether that’s enough for BlackBerry to revive its reputation as a go-to phone for businesses or to attract new consumers remains to be seen.
But Chen tells CNET that he expects the company to make a profit this year. Just this week BlackBerry announced that the BlackBerry Priv would be available for Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile after launching as an AT&T exclusive in 2015.