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The Priv – which will be available later in 2015 – is a slider device that will blend “the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform”.
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Writing on the website of broadcaster CNBC, Chen said extending to Android presented a “tremendous new market opportunity” and would “redefine the expectations of mobility”.
Buyers of Priv will be able to choose whether or not their device runs BlackBerry 10 or Android. The firm moved to reassure die-hard fans that it would continue to develop and enhance BlackBerry 10, the next version of which is due to drop in March 2016.
Chen said the release meant BlackBerry was making good on its ambition to transition into a software “powerhouse”.
At the start of September 2015, the ailing Canadian phone-maker – which was once the go-to standard for enterprise mobility – forked out more than $400m to acquire mobile security solutions supplier Good Technology, extending its reach into mobile device management.
It also integrated Samsung’s Knox and Android plaftorms with BlackBerry Secure Connect Plus in version 12.2 of BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), released over the summer.
Alongside the announcement of its first Android device, BlackBerry unveiled its second quarter results, revealing GAAP revenues of $490m and net income of $51m.
It shipped 800,000 smartphones during the three months to 29 August 2015, with an average selling price of $240. Software and services sales at BlackBerry accounted for $71m or 15% of total revenues, up 19% year-on-year.
“I am confident in our strategy and continued progress, highlighted by our fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year double digit growth in software licensing revenue and sixth consecutive quarter of positive free cash flow,” said Chen in a statement.
“To expand our leadership in cross-platform software and services, we are investing strategically and organically through new products and services based on the BES platform, and through acquisitions such as AtHoc and Good.”