BlackBerry Hub on BlackBerry Priv running Android

BlackBerry continues to be optimistic of its hardware division notwithstanding the poor showing in the most recent quarter while software and services segment continue to flourish.

It seems BlackBerry’s Android adoption is not saving itself from a complete rout in the hardware segment. To go by figures, the Canadian company reported having sold 600,000 mobile devices in the fourth fiscal quarter, 2016. While the figure itself isn’t anything to cry home about, that too is less than the 700,000 units it had sold in the previous quarter. The company declined to specify how many of those were actually made up of the Priv model.

The company also reported a net loss of $238 million during the same period which was primarily due to its fledgling hardware business. However, BlackBerry can still draw solace from its software and services segment that saw revenue grow by a whopping 113 percent to $527 million. All of this has led many to predict a complete withdrawal from the hardware business while focusing entirely on selling or licencing secure mobile software, companies or government institutions.

CEO John Chen though expressed confidence in breaking even in the hardware business and hopes to achieve that within the next two-quarters itself.

“I still believe that we have a shot at it,” said Chen while speaking to reporters during BlackBerry’s conference call.

“Hopefully, I’m not naïve,” Chen added.

“I’d love to be able to license some of my device business software and I’m looking for some innovation on phones, because right now all phones are very boring.”

Priv is the first Android handset that BlackBerry had launched last November. However, it’s far from the usual Android stuff that we have grown used to. Instead, it is a heavily customised version of Android that conforms to the strict security requirements that is typical of the Canadian company. Another standout feature of the Priv is its incorporation of a slide out keyboard to allow for typing convenience.

BlackBerry is also working on releasing Android Marshmallow update for the Priv which is slated to happen in late April or early May.

Meanwhile, BlackBerry has also made it clear they will continue to devote resources to further build on its BB10 platform in spite of the recent trend among several of the most popular apps ditching support for the OS. Among the companies that have said they will be withdrawing support for their BB10 apps include Facebook, WhatsApp and so on.

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