http://www.digitaljournal.com/technology/blackberry-planning-two-mid-range-android-phones-for-2016/article/462595

BlackBerry planning two mid-range Android phones for 2016

Posted Apr 11, 2016 by James Walker
BlackBerry CEO John Chen has said the company will launch two mid-range Android-powered smartphones this year. BlackBerry's first Android device, the premium Priv, has failed to revive the firm's falling sales due to quality issues and a steep price.
A man walks by a Blackberry sign at the Blackberry campus in Waterloo
A man walks by a Blackberry sign at the Blackberry campus in Waterloo
Mark Blinch / Reuters
Chen outlined BlackBerry's plans to United Arab Emirates news site The National, admitting the $700 Priv is prohibitively expensive for most consumers and above budget for the majority of enterprises. He said the phone is "too high-end a product" and BlackBerry should have focused its initial Android efforts on a lower price point.
The Priv has seen strong attention from businesses attracted to its security features. Firms have been passing it on because of its price though, saying "I'm more interested in a $400 device." Giving hundreds or thousands of employees a $700 phone is a risk few companies will be willing to make.
Chen said BlackBerry will launch two new Android phones later this year. Both will be mid-range handsets. One of the pair will include a physical keyboard, like on the Priv, while the other will adopt a more contemporary design without a keyboard.
Specifications and features have yet to be revealed, although it can be assumed BlackBerry is developing even stronger Android security features for the new handsets. It wants to bring its security expertise to Android, locking down the OS and adding new protection features that no manufacturer has done before.
Leaked renders of the BlackBerry  Vienna  [Via CrackBerry]
Leaked renders of the BlackBerry 'Vienna' [Via CrackBerry]
CrackBerry
Pictures of one potential device appeared online over five months ago. The phone, said to be codenamed "Vienna," still hasn't appeared. It isn't clear whether Vienna will make it to production or if BlackBerry will use a new design for its 2016 devices.
The company has previously confirmed it has no plans to launch any new BlackBerry 10 handsets this year. The proprietary operating system has taken a backseat role at the company since the launch of the Priv. Chen confirmed BlackBerry will continue building updates for BlackBerry 10 but has no plans to launch a new device running it.
Recently, Facebook and subsidiary WhatsApp announced they will be withdrawing their official apps from BlackBerry 10, a move that will likely make the platform less attractive to new and current users alike. Blackberry said it is "extremely disappointed" by the news, noting that it has no control over the changing landscape of the smartphone app ecosystem.
Chen's comments come only a few days after BlackBerry posted its sales results for the first three months of the year. It sold only 600,000 handsets in the quarter, far less than the 850,000 analysts had hoped for. Chen reiterated his previous statement that he is prepared to leave the phone industry if he cannot make his company profitable again.