Blackberry to release new models with QWERTY keyboard, full-touchscreen display

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Blackberry confirmed that they are planning to launch two Android phones sometime this year that are intended to cater to the mid-range market.

According to The National, Blackberry CEO John Chen shared that the first device will be equipped with a QWERTY keyboard, while the other one will feature a full touch screen display similar to most of the models nowadays. They are believed to be priced fairly competitively around the $300 to $400 mark.

Chen also explained that the decision to release more models follows the release of the high-end device dubbed as Priv, which reportedly did not deliver good sales figures as expected.

“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. A lot of enterprise customers have said to us, ‘I want to buy your phone but US$700 is a little too steep for me. I’m more interested in a US$400 device,'” Chen elaborated.

He added that although they changed their own operating system to the Android platform, the move has been favored by their consumers, “We’re the only people who really secure Android, taking the security features of BlackBerry that everyone knows us for and make it more reachable for the market.”

Reports claim that based on the fourth quarter earnings, the actual sales of the gadgets are only 600,000, down to the expected figures of 850,000. The shares of the Canada-based company also went down to 9pc.

“While the BlackBerry brand is still strong and the value propositions usually have been centered around the best QWERTY keyboard, BlackBerry Messenger and secure platform, however, the conversation has changed,” said Counterpoint Research analyst, Neil Shah.

Chen did not disclose any details on when the general public can expect the launch of the two smartphones. More information is expected to be released in the following months.